Local Government Bill, 1945—Committee (Resumed).

Debate resumed on amendment No.

Is é tá ar aigne agamsa ná go bhfaghaimís eolas, sar a gcríochnaímid leis na trí hailt seo, an bhfuil sé beartaithe in aigne an Aire nó ag an Aireacht go mbeidh na hainmneacha Gaeilge i gceist á bhfeimiú ina dhlí. B'fhéidir na fuil in aigne an Aire go mbeidh an scéal mar sin agus muna bhfuil, scaoil-fidh mé leis. Ba mhaith liom deimh-niú d'fháil cé acu mar seo nó mar siud atá.

Maidir leis na hainmneacha Gaeilge, is deacar faoi láthair an dlí a aimsiú cad é an t-údarás atá ann chun ainm Gaeilge, nach raibh go dtí seo ina hainm oifigiúil, a chur i bhfeidhm mar ainm oifigiúil nó a tharaingt in úsáid oifigiúil. Tá, ámhach, réamhnós ann cheana liost ainmneacha na mbailte bpoist ag Aireacht an Phoist d'úsáid go hoifigiúil. Sa tslí chéanna, tá liost, do réir mar thuigim, ag an Roinn Dlí agus Cirt—liost ainmneacha bailte fearann, bailte cúirte agus a leithéid eile. Ní léir dom cad é an t-údarás atá leo sin.

Má tá an t-údarás chun iad sin d'úsáid go hoifigiúil ann fós, is dócha go bhféadfadh an Rialtas anois féin feidhm do bhaint as an údarás san chun dul ar aghaidh le húsáid na n-áit-ainm Gaeilge in gnóthaí eile, go mór mór in gnóthaí agus i bhfeidhmiú an Rialtais áitiúil. Ach, mar adúrt, ní heol dom go bhfuil cinnteacht an údaráis sin againn, agus ní léir go dtuigeann an Aireacht Rialtais Áitiúil go bhfuil sin ann. Caithfidh mé féin a admháil nach ró léir a thuigim an bhfuil an t-údarás ann fé láthair, nó, má tá, cad as a dtagann sé.

Ní hionann an saghas ainmneacha atá i gceist fé Altana 74 agus 75, ar thaobh—bailte fearann, sráidbhailte catharacha agus a leithéid—agus na hainmneacha atá i gceist fé Alt 76— sráideanna istigh i mbailte móra, —ar an dtaobh eile. I gcás bailte fearainn agus seanranna tíre, tá ainmneacha orthu sin le céata agus le mílte blian, gur féidir 95 fén gcéad acu d'aimsiú agus a dheimhniú le cinnteacht fós. Is iad sin fíor-ainmneacha cearta na n-áite-anna san, agus is iad sin ba chóir a bheith ina ainmneacha oifigiúla i ngnóthaí agus i bhfeidhmiú dlí agus rialú Stáit. Ní minic a bhíonn athrú ar aon ainm acu san i gceist; agus ní minic a bheidh iarracht dhá thabhairt chun aon ainm nua do chur in ionad aon chinn acu. Is siad na bailte agus na fearanna san go bhfuil na hainmneacha cinnte cearta ó shinsearacht orthu atá uaimse ná measfaí iad mar ainmneacha nua nó athrú ar ainmneacha i bhfeidh-miú an dá Alt seo 74 agus 75.

Má meastar mar sin iad—má meastar gur ainmneacha nua Portláirge, Corca Dhuibhne, Baile Átha Cliath nó Dubhlinn, mar ba chóir a bheith ar an gcathair seo, nó Muigheo nó An Uaimh—is breallach, amadántúil an gnó atá ghá bheartú againn fén dlí nua seo. Ní dóigh liom gur ceart dlí a dhéanamh chun gnó amadáin den tsaghas san a chur ar bun; agus i mo thuairimse is gnó breallach gan chiall a bheith ag achtú go gcaithfear dul ag lorg vótaí an 4/7ú de lucht díolta rátaí ins an gceanntar sin, chun ainm ceart stairiúil na gceanntair do chur in úsáid go hoifigiúil arís.

Tá súil agam go dtiocfaidh an lá go mbeidh sé de mhisneach ag an Oireach-tas a ordú gurb iad na hainmneacha Gaeilge san—na hainmneacha cearta ar na háiteanna uile ar fud na tíre—a chur ar aithint do réir dlí agus ná beimíd lagfáiseach, lagbheartach agus táimid faoi láthair i dtaobh an ghnótha san. Ba mhaith liom go seachnaimis go gcaithfí dul tríd na casáin trioblóid-eacha seo, agus 4/7 plus duine d'fháil chun ainm do cheartú i ngach ceann den cheithre fichid míle bailte fearainn atá in Éirinn. Ba mhaith liom go bhfuighfí tuairim an Aire ar na nithe sin, agus ná beiminne ag ceapadh dlí chun an obair a dhéanamh níos deacra —rud atáimíd a dhéanamh anois.

Sompla ba mhaith liom a luadh de rud a tharlódh mara dtugtar aithint dlí do áit-ainmneacha Gaeilge. Má cheapann Comhairle Contae Chiar-raighe gur cóir dóibh feidhmiú a gcuid gnótha a dhéanamh trí Ghaeilge agus i bhfeidhmiú an ghnó sin go gcuirfidís éileamh ar rátaí go Baile an Teampuill. Dún Chaoin, Corca Dhuibhne, bhfuil aon deimhniú anois ann, nó an mbeidh faoin Acht seo, go bhféadfadh duine b'fhéidir a phlé i gcoinne na Comhairle Contae nár sheirbhís cheart ar éileamh na rátaí é sin toisc na hainmneacha bheith i Gaeilge. An dtarlóchadh san?

Ba cheart go mbeadh sé níos cirte ar fad na hainmneacha Gaeilge d'úsáid ná na hainmneacha a tháinig isteach le Cromaill agus Éilís agus tiarnaí talún Gallda. Ba cheart an doras a choimeád ar oscailt in ionad a bheith á dhúnadh, agus an chuspóir sin ceartú ar gcuid log-ainmneach a bheith glan in ár n-aigne nuair a thiocfas os ár gcomhair aon Bhille a bhfuil baint aici le hainmneacha áiteanna.

It would appear from our examination of this matter so far that what is most in the minds of the people as being involved is the Irish language form of place-names as distinct from the English official, bowdlerised form of place names all over the country. I am not concerned about street names. In referring to this, my purpose is to get information and to find out from An tAire whether it is contemplated that the Irish language form of place names, which place names and which form are in 95 or 98 cases out of 100 the correct historical, topographical, philological form of the names, is involved in this question of getting the sanction of four-sevenths, plus one, of the people to agree that they should be used. That is the matter on which I should like to get information from the Minister so that our discussion might be clearer. What I want to avoid is there being any new legislation which would put a difficulty in the way of bringing these place names into official use, a thing which should have been done 25 years ago, if we had the courage or the foresight to tackle the matter then. It is time that we did it and we should not involve ourselves in legislation which will put difficulties in the way.

It is difficult for me to answer that question without considerable reservations. I am asked whether the mere adoption of the Irish form of names of an urban district or town would constitute a change of name. As the section stands, I think it does not prescribe that an adoption in that form would constitute a change. On the other hand, if the section came to be interpreted by the courts. I do not know what the courts would say, because a question might arise as to whether the Irish form of the name which it was proposed to adopt was in fact the equivalent of the English form of the name. As the matter stands, however, I think it is reasonable to assume that the English form of the name in most cases has official status, except where in an official document there appears the corresponding Irish form for the English form of the name of the town. I think in most legal documents, particularly documents affecting title, you will find that it is the English form of the name that is used.

This section has not been brought in to make it more difficult to change the names of the towns from the English to the Irish form or from the existing English name to the original Irish name. But it has been brought in to ensure that the change will be effective in every sphere in our legal and commercial life, and, to the extent to which we can make it effective, in our social life. It has also been brought in to ensure that when the existing English forms have been given the old Irish equivalent or have been abandoned altogether in favour of the Irish names, the change will not lead to needless litigation and considerable loss and, perhaps, a great deal of embitterment as between one citizen and another.

This is not an easy matter to deal with. We cannot assume that a name may be changed effectively by mere usage, for the name which has been in prior use has secured a legal significance in a very widespread way. And I am not sure that if we allowed a name to be changed merely at the instance of a particular group of people, who did not themselves constitute the majority of the people who would be immediately affected by the change, the change would be an effective one. I understand there are some places in Ireland where, for instance, the names were changed by local authorities, local councils, many years ago, and where the English form of the name is the one customarily used by the inhabitants of the town, and it is not much use in trying to bring about these changes if we allow, as the Taoiseach said on one historic occasion, the engine to run away from the train.

Those who are interested—and I am interested; I would not have taken the trouble to try to work out this procedure if I were not keenly interested — in bringing about this change, would very usefully employ themselves, I think, and would do a great deal of very useful work for the language and from a propaganda point of view, if they set themselves the task, where it is proposed to use an Irish name or an Irish equivalent for a town, of securing the assent of the required majority, four-sevenths of the inhabitants of the particular place, for the change. This is not a simple question, and I should certainly hesitate—in fact, I would go to the point almost of refusing—to say that I would be prepared to provide that in all circumstances the courts should hold that the adoption, by popular usage and without going through this machinery, of an Irish form of the name of a town was an effective change of name.

We must be quite clear about this. If we are to change names, if we are to bring about widespread changes in the forms of those place names which are in common use, we shall have to have a procedure which is effective in every case; we shall have to have a procedure which will govern the difficult case as well as the easy case; we shall have to have a procedure which will bring about an effective change and an effective recognition of the change in cases where there may be a dispute as to what should be the proper form of name.

Everybody knows my limitations in regard to the Irish language, but I have seen very heated controversies as to what is the proper form of a place name and, indeed, what is the proper form of a surname, and I have not any doubt whatever that such controversies might arise—I am not going to say in regard to those particular names which Senator Sugrue has mentioned, but in regard, at any rate, to many place names. I can see controversies springing up which might create difficulties for people who would have to interpret legal documents and might even be detrimental to bringing about the adoption of a recognised Irish form of an existing English place name. For that reason, we must provide that, whenever an Irish name is to replace either an anglicised version of an Irish place name or an English name which has supplanted the original Irish name, we shall have some form of procedure which will ensure that the proposed new name will be considered by all those authorities who are interested in the change.

We start off from what, I think, is the natural assumption, that the people most interested in the name of a place, whether it is a street, townland, urban district or city, are the people who live there. They are the people whose private interests may be in some way affected by the change. We start off and we give them what is their natural right to, if you like, ascribe a name to the spot where they will ordinarily be found. It is true that nobody, when he goes to live in a locality, puts a new name on the locality. He is, in general, content to accept the old one when he arrives there; but it may create some difficulty for him if you proceed, without his consent, to change that name and give it another. It may, if it does not create difficulty for him, annoy him to the point that he will dispute your right to change the name and it is as well, therefore, that this change should be brought about with the consent and goodwill of those immediately concerned, because if you do not bring it about in this way you will, in the case of some towns, have it that the inhabitants, out of sheer cussedness, will stick on to the old name.

They will defeat you.

Yes, they will defeat you. Having secured their consent to the name, we have then to satisfy ourselves that the change in the form in which it is proposed to be used is the proper one. There is a commission or a committee which I set up when I was Minister for Finance—it was in suspension during the war years —and it has been working on that subject for a considerable time. It will shortly resume its functions. Apart altogether from the fact that we must be careful to ensure that the new name will be in its proper form and that it will be generally the original Irish or older name of the place, we have also to make certain that every Department of State, as representing the people as a whole in the particular interests with which these Departments deal, will be made aware of the contemplated change and will be able, if they have any particular interest or if they find a difficulty will be created for them in that change, to make representations in regard to it.

Finally, we have to proceed in such a way, by a well-defined and regulated procedure, as to ensure, if any legal dispute should arise in relation to a place cited in a document, that the courts will be able without any difficulty to satisfy themselves that, in fact, the place as redesignated by its old Irish name is the place referred to under an English name in the legal document. It is better that we should be at great pains to ensure that, ultimately, no dispute will arise as to the form of the name, or as to the fact that the name has been changed, because if we do not do that then I foresee that we are going to open the way for untold opportunities for disputes between the citizens in which lawyers and pedants will be engaged and in which the people may ultimately be mulcted. That is why we have taken this procedure.

To get back to the point at which I started, if I really want to have this thing done effectually, I should approach it from the point of view that when the name of a place is to be changed it must be done formally and officially. Accordingly I should proceed to get the assent of four-sevenths of the inhabitants. That does not mean to say that I, personally, should go around and canvass four-sevenths of the inhabitants. All it means is that we should get the representatives of the townspeople in the first place to make up their minds if the change is desirable, and then when they have done that proceed to determine whether four-sevenths of the inhabitants of the place will assent to the change. That will be done by the official machinery of the local authority. It will not involve anybody in undue expense.

I do not foresee that there will be any difficulty in getting local authorities to take steps to secure the assent of four-sevenths of the inhabitants of their areas. After all, at this stage of our history I think we are entitled to hope that at least four-sevenths of the people of this country are in favour of bringing Irish place names into use. I think it would be adopting a defeatist attitude if we were to assume that we were going to have any difficulty in getting such a comparatively small majority as four-sevenths of the total inhabitants of the country in favour of a general movement to replace the English place names by the correct Irish names.

If I were to take the opposite view, and were to believe that the majority of the people, at this stage of our existence, were opposed to the adoption of Irish place names, then I should indeed begin to believe that a great deal of the work that has been done for the Irish language and a great deal of the nation building work which has been undertaken over the past generation, and for 50 years or more, had been fruitless and wasted. I do not believe that one bit, and I am confident that there will not be any great difficulty experienced in securing compliance with the procedure that is laid down in these sections. While I am confident, and while I hope and assume that the necessary majority will be readily obtained for the change, at the same time it has got to be remembered that as a Minister and as a member of the Government I cannot act on my own assumption, and I cannot act on other people's assumptions either. This being a democracy I have to allow the people to have their own views on the matter. As a Minister I cannot, at any rate, impose on the people, whether some of them express a desire for it or not, a change merely by a sort of dictatorialfiat. Bearing that fact in mind, as well as those other considerations which I had in mind when giving instructions for the drafting of these sections, I think that as presented to the House they represent the right and proper way to make a change.

Maidir leis an méid adúirt an Seanadóir Ó Siochfhradha mar gheall ar usáid na Gaeilge in obair na gComhairlí contae tá sé sin déanta anois i gContae na Gaillimhe. Is i nGaeilge atá gach éileamh rátaí scriofa agus ní raibh aon trioblóid ag an gComhairle fós na rátaí a bhailiú óna thaobh sinde. Tá deacracht ann, ámh. Mar atá a fhios ag gach Seanadóir, tá oifig cláradóireachta talún ann, agus is i mBéarla atá gach aistriú a bhí le déanamh agus gach morgaiste scríofa. Dúirt an Seanadóir Sweetman tamall ó shoin go raibh trioblóid nuair bhí comhaltas áirithe á dhíol díolta agus morgaistí ar an gcomhaltas sin. Rinneadh scrúdú in oifig cláradóireachta na talún agus ní raibh na daoine ansin i ndon na morgaistí a fháil ar an abhar gur in Gaeilge bhíodar scríofa. Bhí siad á lorg faoin sloinneadh "Ó Murchadha" agus bhí na scríbhní cláraithe faoi "Murphy". Tá trioblóid eile ann. San Ard-Cúirt, dúirt an breitheamh nach bhfuil cead ar bith ag éinne a shloinneadh a athrú. Déantaí é le "deed poll" go dtí seo.

Tá súil agam nach seasóidh an Seanadóir Ó hAodha leis an leasú seo agus go mbeidh sé sásta é a tharaingt siar. Aontaím leis an Aire nuair adeir sé nach leor ainm áite a athrú le go mbeadh sé in usáid. Is fíor gurb é an rud is tabhachtaí a chur ina luí ar na daoine—má tá ainm le n-athrú, go n-úsáidfí an leagan Gaeilge. Sílim féin gur sásúil an socrú atá sa Bhille, gur leor 4/7 chun athrú a dhéanamh, agus tá súil agam go bhfágfar mar tá sé.

Níl aon amhras ná go bhfuil an scéal an-chasta mar adúirt an Seanadóir Ó Deagha toisc go bhfuil sealbhas talún agus únaeracht maoine eile cláraithe i mBéarla. B'fhéidir gur bé sin an deacracht is mó atá ann. Tá ceist le socrú ansin, ach sa Ghaeltacht, i gContae na na Gaillimhe, mar shompla, ní chuireann na daoine an leagan Gallda ar na ceanntracha no ar na dúichí, beag nó mór. Do mhínigh an Seanadóir O Deagha dhúinn an scéim atá acu i gContae na Gaillimhe éileamh ar na rátaí a chur amach i nGaeilge agus na hainmneacha áitiúla i nGaeilge chó maith. An bhfuil sin dlisteanach? Do réir mar thuigim, is baolach liom gur mí-dhlisteanach an cúrsa é.

Tá sé dlisteanach do réir na Bunreachta.

Bhí me chun sin a rá.

Tá súil agam go bhfuil sé dlisteanach. Ach, ma tá an scéal socraithe faoin Bhunreacht, níl aon ghá a bheith ag caint faoi. Níor chuimhnigh mé ar a bhfuil sa Bhunreacht acht tá súil agam go bhfuil an ceart ag an Seanadóir Ó hAodha—gur féidir úsáid a bhaint as an leagan Gaeilge san dóigh seo agus ná fuil cead ag éinne cur ina aghaidh. Ach más fíor é gur dlisteanach na hainmneacha a athrú do réir bhrí na Bunreachta, cé'n fáth ná glactar leis an leagan Gaeilge sa Ghaeltacht agus sa Bhreac-Ghaeltacht? Tá éigcinnteacht ag baint leis an scéal seo ar fad agus b'fhearr liom, mar gheall ar sin, é a fhágaint mar tá sé go bhfeicaimíd linn.

Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil an ceart ag an Seanadóir O Buachalla—gur fearr an scéal a fhágaint mar tá sé, más rud é go bhfuil éigcinnteacht ag baint leis. B'fhearr an scéal a leigheas. Ní dóigh liom gur ceart ainm áite a athrú gan toil na ndaoine. Is dóigh liom go bhfuil an ceart ag an Aire nuair a deir sé nach féidir linn ainm a athrú ach le toil muintir na háite. Is éigin na daoine a thabhairt libh agus, mura bhfuil siad libh, is cuma cadé an t-ainm a cuirtear ar cheanntar, do réir dlí. Sa leasú atá agam, deirim gur ceart dhá-dtrian de na daoine a bheidh i bhfábhar an athraithe.

Is dóigh leis an Seanadóir Ó Shiochfhradha gur féidir linn ainm áite a athrú le hOrdú. Is féidir linn Ordú a dhéanamh ainm áirithe a chur ar áit éigin ach an gcuirfidh na daoine an t-ainm in usáid? Mura gcuirid, cadé an mhaith a leithéid d'ordú a dhéanamh? Bhí an tuairim ag a lán daoine uair amháin—agus agam fhéin —ná raibh le déanamh againn ach teacht isteach in ár bPáirlimint fhéin agus dlí a dhéanamh chun an Ghaeilge a thabhairt thar nais. Ní leór sin. Dá gcuirfí "Baile Atha Cliath" ar "Dublin", an ndéanfadh sé aon difríocht? Isé "Dublin", "Dublin", "Dublin", a bheadh ag na daoine cibé dlí a bheadh i bhfeidhm. An ceart uile, tá sé ag an Aire, do réir mo thuairime. Má tá na daoine leat bhféidir go n-éoreodh leat ach, mura bhfuil, is cuma cadé a dhéanfas tú le reacht nó ordú. Táim go láidir ar thaoibh an Aire.

The Minister is absolutely right. I am delighted to find myself so completely in agreement with him.

Put out the flag.

An rud is annamh is iontach. We must have a scheme for this—a legal scheme. The scheme in the Bill is not a bad scheme and the great thing in its favour is that, before you change the name of a place, you must consult the people of the place. Senator Ó Siochfhradha puts forward the plausible idea, in which I for a time believed, that you have only to pass a law to change all these names. Of course, you can do that but what is the use of passing a law if you have not the people with you? The scheme in the Bill, as drafted, provides that four-sevenths of the people of an area must agree with the proposed change. My amendment suggests that two-thirds of the people be necessary to effect a change and I am as much in favour of Irish names as anybody else. But I appreciate the difficulty. Senator Ó Siochfhradha cleverly took an example from Kerry. All Kerrymen are clever. He dealt with Corca Duibhne. He has made a study of Corca Duibhne place-names. He knows that it is easier to establish the Irish names there than it is elsewhere. It is much easier to give the Irish name of Dunquin than the Irish name of Terenure where I happen to live. We used to call it Tír an Iubhair. Then it was called Tor Fhionnbhair. My own private opinion is that nobody knows what the Irish name of Terenure is. The idea that you can change a name by law, regulation or decree is quite wrong. The scheme in the Bill means that you must take the people with you. The harder you make it to change a name, the more chance you have of the name being adopted. Until two-thirds of the people want to change the name of a place, it is better not to change it.

The Minister said—there again I agree with him—that what has been done in the last 50 years in the Gaelic movement and in the last 25 years by an Irish State with regard to what we call Gaelicisation will be called into question if you cannot get two-thirds of the people of an area to agree to an Irish name. If, in 1946, 25 years after the establishment of an Irish Government, you cannot bring two-thirds of the people of an area with you to change the name of a place—to change Clonmel, say, to Cluain Meala —you should sit down and examine your conscience. I have been in favour of that for a long time. If they do not agree to it, then, mind you, what all of us have been working for has been rather a failure. My contention is that the more difficult you make it to change the name, the more chance you actually have of the new name being put into use.

Let us take a few of these names of which I happen to have experience. I gave an example when speaking in Irish. You can change Dublin into "Baile Atha Cliath" but the change will not affect the people of Dublin. You will still hear them calling it "Dublin". You, first of all, have to get a change in spirit amongst the people. You have got to have a certain amount of that work done in the schools and to get a certain point of view into people's minds. Take another example. Kells, a nice tidy monosyllable, has been changed into Ceannanus Mór. It is pronounced Ceannanus Mór and Ceann-an-us Mór. I should prefer to hear it called Kells than to hear it called Ceann-an-us Mór. I happened to have a friend in Kells who was ill and I rang up frequently to learn how he was getting on. Perhaps I would ring up Trunks and say: "91399; can you give me Kells 7" and a voice would say very emphatically: "Oh, what you want is Ceannanus Mór". If you do use the Irish name, there is always the risk that if you do not get a person at the exchange who knows Irish you may waste a lot of time.

If I ring up and say in Irish: "Can you get me Kells?" and have to wait until I get a person who understands me, the unfortunate man about whose health I am inquiring may be dead by the time I get through. I remember one night I did that. I asked: "An bhfuighfeá Ceannanus Mór a seacht dom?" I could hear a voice at the other end asking: "Where is that?" and another voice replying: "Oh, that is Kells 7." I suppose if I had not been in a hurry, I would have insisted on talking Irish to her. The point is that until you get a real change based upon what the people want, you are humbugging yourself. You are carrying on what is merely a demonstration instead of a reality. You are deluding yourself by what the French call a manifestation. Take a place like Bagenalstown. The only time it is called Muine Beag is when there is a general election on and strangers go down there. At every other time it is called Bagenalstown, or so I am told.

We always call it Muine Beag.

Portlaoighise is easy enough to deal with but take a name like Portarlington. Suppose you change the name Portarlington to Cúl an tSúdaire, you would have great difficulty. Until you get a majority of the people to agree to the change, at least two-thirds of the people, you will not get anything effectively done.

It is suggested that there may be some difficulty with regard to sending a rates demand to Dunquin or to Connemara. Article 8 of the Constitution says:—

"Ós í an Ghaedhilg an teanga náisiúnta is í an phrímh-theanga oifigeamhail í.

The Irish language as the national language is the first official language."

That would probably cover the matter. Again if you are marking rolls you meet with all sorts of difficulties. You get, for instance, the name Máire Ní Bhroin. That, you would be inclined to translate as "Mary Byrne" or "Mary O'Byrne" or it might be "Mary Agnes O'Beirne", but I remember getting a great shock when a student who gave me that name told me that her name in English was Una Wybrant. The name Byrne is a very common name in Dublin, but it is most difficult to know exactly what the translation is when you get the name in Irish. The problem is a very difficult one.

I am in favour of the scheme in the section, because first and foremost it bases the change upon what the people of a particular area want. I would prefer however two-thirds majority to a four-sevenths majority. Secondly, I am in favour of the scheme in the section because it does not leave—and here I am going against my general view— to the local people power to change the name. It submits the matter to the Minister, who, presumably, will have machinery at his disposal to determine what the new name should be. Thirdly, I am in favour of the scheme in the section because it gives some kind of legal certainty. I do not agree with Senator Ua Buachalla who said that if the present situation is uncertain and vague it should be left so. I do not think that is right. It should be made as sound legally as we can make it. You have an enormous amount, as Senator O'Dea said, of land registration in English names and you must have advertence to rights that have been acquired. Changing Waterford into Portlairge would involve some difficulty if you are carrying on a business in Waterford because you will probably have a big collection of notepaper with the heading "Waterford". It would be no trouble to me to observe the change if I were merely living in Waterford but if I had a business in Waterford, out of which I was making a living, no matter how patriotic I might be, I would prefer that the name should remain Waterford. That might be a low point of view but I understand it exists. I think the scheme is a good scheme but I think the greater the majority you get for a change in the first instance, the better chance of success it will have. Therefore, while supporting the scheme in the section I think the majority should be two-thirds instead of four-sevenths.

This discussion has lost sight of one very important point, namely, that neither two-thirds of the inhabitants nor four-sevenths of the inhabitants, will have any opportunity at all of expressing their views as to the change of name. It is only ratepayers who will have that chance. That, I think, is a very retrograde step. At least the people who are entitled to a vote on local government suffrage should get an opportunity of expressing their views. The ratepayers, I presume, would be the older people who would be accumstomed to the existing name and would have no desire to change it. I quite agree that in order to make new names acceptable, the change should have the support of the people. In other sections which treats of a change of name, the people have an opportunity of expressing their views, but only ratepayers are mentioned in this instance. I do not understand why that restriction was made. Another thing is that there is no possibility of changing the name even if a majority of the ratepayers decide they want it changed. These are all matters which should be taken into consideration. I think that a suffrage on a matter like this, which affects the people of the coming generation, should not be confined to the ratepayers of the present.

I would like to say that I sympathise very much with Senator Hayes in his difficulty in the matter of telephoning and getting telephone numbers, especially in certain cases in Dublin. I would like to tell him, however, that every place must not be measured according to the standards obtaining in Dublin. I am happy to say that, as far as Galway is concerned, I think we have as slick a telephone service as there is in any place in Ireland. There one has no difficulty whatever in getting one's number by calling it out in Irish. If one wants any information, whether in the main office or the sub-offices, one has no difficulty in getting that information as readily in Irish—perhaps even more readily—as in English. I hope some time or other that the Cathaoirleach and the Ceann Comhairle will get together and decide to invite some of our telephonists from Galway up to Leinster House, for a spell of six months' duty; in that way they might bring about a most desirable change in the matter of the telephone service.

The best telephone service in the world is here in Leinster House.

I agree, providing you use English. That is understood. That is my point. Otherwise, I am not quarrelling. I am speaking solely of one's ability and one's right to use the Irish language.

I agree we should be very careful to get the consent of as many people as possible with regard to the changing of the names of the towns. I do not altogether agree that it is as difficult as Senator Hayes has said. One notices the extent to which Dun Laoghaire is accepted by the people. Beyond question Dun Laoghaire is the accepted name.

I do not know what happened in the towns Senator Hayes has mentioned. It may be that the people did not use the Irish names to the extent to which one would like them to use them. Speaking of the places I do know, I am satisfied that the change has been accepted. A most desirable innovation has been introduced in Galway. When new areas are developed there only Irish names are given to the streets. I do not know what the legal position is. In Ballinasloe recently they changed the names of the streets and gave them their Irish titles. Ballinasloe Council will have to examine into their position legally in that regard.

To revert now to the question of getting the consent of the people, I do not advocate opposing the will of the people. When I was speaking earlier I referred specifically to the Gaeltacht areas. Just think for a moment of the absurdity of asking people whose language is Irish — where English scarcely exists—to take part in a referendum that the names of their districts should be called by the only names by which they already know them. Think, for a moment, of a place like Casla down in Connacht, where only when some official comes in and compels the people to use whatever few words of English they have, one never hears a word of English. These people must, according to the law, accept Costello as the name of the area. That situation is absurd. It seems to me utterly unreasonable to ask the people of that area to take part in a vote whereby the name of the place is to be called by the only name by which it has ever been known to them and to those who have gone before them. Now, that is the point I was raising when I said there seemed to be some uncertainty about the matter and when I raised the question of Galway County Council sending out its demand notes in Irish, and only in Irish—a thing which is very much appreciated. It did, however, occur to me that there might be some difficulty about that and that such a course might not be quite in in order.

On the ordnance map Casla is set down as Costello. However they arrived at that I do not know. If certain registrations have taken place under the name of Costello that has a certain legal significance. It seems to me, in view of everything that has been said, that there is a certain doubt about the whole matter. If there is a doubt I would sooner leave the position uncertain for the time being until we can see further into the matter. That is what I have in mind. I would not like it to be understood that, in the matter of legislation generally, I would subscribe to the idea that anything we do should be uncertain. In view of the peculiar circumstances and in view of the turn which the debate has taken. I should not mind a little uncertainty in this case.

I did not advert to the fact that the Senator was talking about the Gaeltacht. It should be possible to make special provision for special areas. Even in places where Irish is spoken the English name is very often used by officials and in correspondence. I agree, however, that the case he mentions is rather absurd although I do not know the particular area myself.

I would like to correct a few wrong impressions which seem to have been gathered during the course of the debate. My desire was—we seem to have wandered away from it a good deal—to find out whether it was contemplated that the Irish form of place names would be involved in this matter of four-sevenths plus one or, as Senator Michael Hayes would have, two-thirds plus one. I know that the English, anglicised, or bowdlerised forms of these place names are the official names. I know they are the legal ones. I know that that situation has existed for ages past. I also know that nobody—whether ratepayer or other inhabitant of these places— was ever asked whether he liked the name in that form or not.

Apparently, we have now become very careful and we are setting up guards and protections for astatus quo. We are now attempting to legalise the status quo into permanency by endeavouring to have three-sevenths plus one with authority to defeat the will of four-sevenths. That is exactly what you are seeking to achieve by this legislation. We are simply entrenching the upholders of the bowdlerised and anglicised forms of these names. We, in the Oireachtas, have come into being, not by protecting the status quo but by smashing it. That is the fact. That is the basis on which our outlook should be now. In the meantime, we seem to have become exceedingly worried about maintaining the remnants of that status quo, the remnants of that overlordship by another civilisation, another regime, another policy. We seem to be very much afraid to hurt what is left of that. If we were as we ought to have been, there should have been no question 25 years ago but to go back and bring into being and into official use anything that was left of the original signs of our ownership and our right to this country and its institutions, including our place names, including all our rights in anything like that and in anything that pertains to the traditions of the race to which we belong. Our concern now, apparently, is to maintain the status quo, even though we ourselves smashed that status quo under which these things were built up, to smithereens. There seems to be a change of mind in regard to it for the future.

This is what we are asking to bolster up, that every "cnoc" shall still remain "knock." To put it bluntly, is it not stupid for us to wish to maintain that? Is it not stupid for us to give any three-sevenths in a district the right to maintain that? Every "sliabh" shall be a "slieve" because we will not touch or interfere with thestatus quo. Every “cill” shall be “kill,” every “dun” shall be “doon,” every “baile” shall be “bally,” every “loch” shall be “lough”—even in Scotland they spell it correctly in their place names. We do not, and we will not interfere with the status quo. Apparently, we are unwilling to do it. It is well that we should understand that that is what we are upholding and that is what we are asking should be maintained for fear we might hurt the feelings of a three-sevenths plus one or whatever fraction it may be. I do not think that it reveals that we are very convinced for ourselves, that we are very self-confident in the forces or theories that brought us into existence.

On consideration, the idea seems to be that we have now achieved this much; we have now got certain people who over-lorded it on us out, but now we will go on in the way they set for us and we must not interfere with the remnants of that civilisation, the remnants of that conquest, the remnants of that subjugation of our people, our language, our place names, and we must not interfere with that because three-sevenths of the people might not like it.

It is a queer commentary on us who went into revolution against all that, 30 years ago, that we should now stare wide-eyed at our temerity at having gone that length and wonder how we can prove that we are tolerant and that we accept what is left of that old-time thing that we objected to so vigorously and so vehemently then.

I know that the restoration of these correct names, these traditional names, these names which in themselves bear the correct names of those places, may raise certain difficulties and certain litigation, that there might be the question of identity. That is an easy matter to get over. All these names are based on the Griffith Survey which takes in every piece of land, every townland, in Ireland. These have been adopted by the local authorities and very little change has been made in them. At varrious censuses, these place names have been published and issued for the purpose of identity and the avoidance of possible litigation. All that is needed is to put another column into the list of townland names and you will have it plain and straight, with no question of any legal difficulty. An Seanadóir Ó Buachalla very properly referred to the Gaeltacht and Breac-Ghaeltacht where no name is known other than the correct name, except in the official lists in county council offices. Those of us who have experience of local government affairs and county council offices know that. Why should these people be asked to go about among themselves and get signatures of four-sevenths of them to ask that the name—as Senator Ó Buachalla has put it—the only name which they know for their own townland, should be in the form in which it ought to be? I think the thing is very stupid. That applies to every part of the Gaeltacht and Breac-Ghaeltacht and it applies equally to every part of the country.

What is the difficulty about ordaining that "knock" should disappear and that "cnoc" should come back in the spelling of the places? Why should "kill" be retained when "cill" is the proper and correct form? Why should we have "slieve" when "sliabh" is within the possibility of everybody to say and to write? What are we afraid of? I do not think people would object to these changes, and if there were an Order issued that for official usage the "knocks" and the "kills" and the "loughs" should disappear, I do not think there would be any objection to it any more than there was objection to the use of Dun Laoghaire instead of Kingstown and Cobh instead of Queenstown and other instances of that sort.

I do not think the people would object. I believe they would welcome a lead from the Government on the matter. That is my attitude in regard to it. It should be the attitude of all of us who profess nationalist outlook and Irish-Ireland views. I do not want to shove it down the neck of anybody that we must change one name into another. I would use the correct form officially and let the people get into the habit of using that form gradually in the same way as they have come to use the incorrect forms. Let them go on calling it Dublin, if they like, but there is no reason why Dublin should not be Baile Atha Cliath or Dúbhlin, which it ought to be. But you cannot make people use these forms. Nobody expects that you will. I know people who, of malice aforethought, still call certain places Kingstown and Queenstown. You cannot help people like that—you must let them have their way—but let the correct form be the official form and let us not have such stupid things as "Offaly", "Knock", "Lough" and other stupidities in our place-names. It is nearly time we were rid of them and, if we had an inch of pride in ourselves as a race, we should have got rid of them long ago.

In reference to what Senator Ó Shiochfhradha has said, I should like to point out that after all I did not come here, if I may say so, without having a considerable volume of opinion behind me. When this matter was before the Dáil we had not that splendid unanimity on the part of those who might be expected to speak for the point of view which the Senator says exists. On the contrary, there was a rather prolonged debate in which a great deal was said on both sides. When I introduced the Bill originally, the fraction in it was the two-thirds, which Senator Hayes is anxious we should revert to.

Against that, there were those who wanted to be content with a simple majority, but there was quite a number of people, who felt, like Senator Hayes, that two-thirds was, perhaps, a better proposal, and four-sevenths was come to as a compromise in a House which, at least, had the mandate of the people behind it. In dealing with these matters we must remember to be practical men of affairs and have regard to the views expressed by representatives on behalf of their constituents. I do not think one would say that Dáil Éireann is any less national, or any less patriotic, than the mass of the people.

I quite frankly admit now that when I was drafting this Bill I had not the Gaeltacht or Breac-Ghaeltacht in mind. They constitute a special problem, while this Bill is intended to deal with the position which has been created in the greater part of this country over many generations, and attempts to bring about far-reaching changes in a regular and orderly way. We might, perhaps, on a later occasion devote special attention to the question of Gaeltacht place-names. It is not going to be such an easy matter. If we are going to take as a Gaelic place-name a name which is said to be the place-name in common name who is going to determine the question of usage? We should have some authority to do that. Certainly the Minister for Local Government would not be the most appropriate authority to deal with it. If we are to deal with the position in the Gaeltacht, bearing in mind that Irish forms and names are in widespread use—if you like in universal use—we have to have special machinery to deal with it. As I am on the question of the Gaeltacht, Senator O Buachalla referred to the fact that rate demand notes go out in Irish. But, on the other hand, the valuation lists on which the assessments are made are in English. All that official machinery is still operating on the English foundations and will have to be operated for some time, because ordnance maps and many other things have still to be changed.

We can proceed, perhaps, a little slowly in regard to the Gaeltacht names because the Irish names are in general use there. But there, as everywhere else, if we are going to adopt certain Irish names, we must see that they are correct in every respect, and that the forms in which they are to be officially recognised, whether in legal or other documents, will be unchallengeable. I was anxious that we should be able to say that in relation to Irish names which might replace English names henceforward in the rest of this country. Accordingly machinery is provided by the section to ensure that the proposed changes would be considered in all aspects before the Government makes them and decides that the new names shall be given official cognisance. Remember that changes can only be made by the Government.

I do not see that we need to be ashamed of the fact that in regard to proposed changes we do give full consideration to the views of the minority of our people. I think it is something rather to be proud of, that while in every other country majorities have become tyrannical, at least there is one country in Europe where the majority realises that the minority has rights and is prepared to defer to the views of that minority in a way which some people regard as undue. Bearing in mind the history of our people, the fact that we are prepared to take and to give full weight to the views of any minority amongst us is one of the things that will help to build up the Irish nation on a foundation which will stand whatever stress or storm it may meet with.

We have now arrived at amendment No. 35. We have 19 further amendments on the Order Paper and the arrangement, I understand, was to finish this stage of the Bill to-night. I intervene simply to remind Senators of that arrangement and to say, if there is to be lengthy discussion on the other amendments, the prospect of concluding by 10 o'clock is not too favourable.

Like Senator Sir John Keane I am in a minority of one as far as previous speakers are concerned. I cannot understand why a translation from English into Irish or from Irish into English can be interpreted as a cause of difficulty. This Bill when it is passed will be translated into Irish. It will not then be a new Bill. When Dún Laoghaire was substituted for Kingstown——

As Dún Laoghaire has been mentioned it was not a change of name there. Dún Laoghaire was the name imposed by statute on a new corporate body, the Borough of Dún Laoghaire, which came into existence by the amalgamation of Kingstown, Blackrock, Killiney and Dalkey.

I only wanted to indicate that the Irish word is distinct from the English one, and why it is illegal to use the word Dunleary but legal to use Dún Laoghaire. I base that statement on the Constitution, which states that Irish is the official national language, and that English is recognised as the second language. If I call my home town Clonakilty in English or Clanna Caoilte in Irish, I cannot see why there should be any difficulty about the changing of names. I cannot see how this matter should arise under this Bill, or why using the Irish translation of an English name is going to make a difference. It seems to beultra vires as far as the Constitution is concerned. The Post Office has gone so far as to change the names of places and uses Irish names on the date stamp.

Is it illegal simply to use the Irish name? For the same reason, I cannot see why using the Irish form of the name requires a vote of the people concerned. If that is done, will it be illegal to use the English form? The English form still can be used. It would be better for us to grade ourselves up to the position which now obtains in the Fíor-Ghaeltacht, where the Irish names only are used. I am puzzled and I cannot follow the debate on this.

I suggest that if Senator O'Donovan was on the telephone he would be asked if he wanted another three minutes.

Mr. O'Donovan

I do not know how far I have gone beyond it. Instead of asking for another three minutes, I shall ring off.

May I put twopence in the slot? There seems to be some confusion between transliteration, translation and using a completely different name. If we are going to transliterate we should transliterate correctly. When examining deeds, I have often seen an attempt to render an Irish name in English. There are nine or ten alternatives, none of which is correct. If we are going to be correct, let us be really correct. Let us be scholarly and pedantic and, when making a transliteration, let it be correct. If we are making translations let them be correct. I am in violent agreement with the expressions which have fallen from Senators. It is a different thing where there are two names both founded in the history of the land, we will say Maryborough and Port-laoighise. Both these names belong to history and both should be preserved and should have equal rights.

I am sorry we have not had all this discussion in Irish, but it was worth while to hear Senator Ó Siochfhradha say that myself and the Minister are now standing wide-eyed at our own temerity 25 or 30 years ago. It is a difficult thing to change the name of a place. It is difficult to have a place name right. If you changed every Knock in the country into Cnoc, you would be persuading one citizen to call it Cnoc instead of Knock. I was in Clonmel at Easter with a professor who is an authority on place names and on folklore and national traditions — Professor Delargy. We were there purely for the purpose of climbing hills and we went to a place called properly Cnoc an Aifrinn. I said to someone in Clonmel that we climbed Cnoc an Aifrinn and he said: "What? Where?" and I had to call it Knockanaffron which, as Senator Ó Siocfhradha knows, is a monstrosity. In Wales there is no regulation about putting up the name of a railway station in Welsh. You get into a railway carriage at a certain station in Wales and respectable hard-hatted farmers will come to the station and talk Welsh. Putting the names of the stations in Irish in this country has not made us speak any more Irish. That is what I am interested in. It is not any use to talk about people having the courage to do certain things. Senator Ó Siocfhradha said: "If, 25 years ago, we had the courage, we would have tackled the whole problem". We had plenty of courage 25 years ago and plenty of problems to tackle, but we were not able to tackle this. No one with courage or ingenuity has since tackled it until to-night. Is that a fair statement? With all the courage that Senator Ó Siocfhradha displayed in 1922, and he displayed some courage when it was necessary, there was none to spare for this.

I did not put down my amendment because of my consideration for any minority. I am not concerned here about the minority at all. I am concerned about quite a different thing. I am concerned about bringing some kind of reality into this matter of reviving our own traditions. I want to revive our traditions and I have done my share in it, but we must be realists in the matter. If you have a majority of two-thirds who want to change the name of a place you have a presumption there and then that, when it is changed, it will be operated. That is why I am in favour of a two-thirds majority. I am not ashamed, and I do not stand wide-eyed at my own temerity years ago. In fact I am getting worse rather than better from that point of view; I am becoming more temerarious. As the Minister told us this four-sevenths is a compromise between a simple majority and two-thirds, if the House is not in favour of two-thirds, I shall not delay the House by dividing on it. But my object was not concerned with the minority. My object was to make the change as real as we could make it. If two-thirds is not acceptable, I cannot help it.

Amendment put and declared negatived.

Section put and agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 36 and 37 not moved.
Sections 75 and 76 put and agreed to.
NEW SECTION.

I move amendment No. 38:—

Before Section 77 to insert a new section as follows:—

(1) The appropriate authority may, with the consent of not less than four-sevenths of the ratepayers in a locality, change the name of the locality.

(2) The power conferred by sub-section (1) of this section shall be a reserved function.

(3) The proper officer of a body, which is in relation to a particular locality the appropriate authority, shall, if and when so directed by the said body, prepare and submit to the said body a list of the ratepayers in the said locality, and such list when adopted, with or without alteration, by the said body shall, for the purposes of this section, be the list of ratepayers in the said locality.

(4) The Minister may make regulations prescribing the procedure to be followed by the appropriate authority in ascertaining whether not less than four-sevenths of the ratepayers in a locality consent to the name of the locality being changed.

(5) In this section—

the word "locality" means any area (not being a street within the meaning of Section 76 of this Act) which is—

(a) a portion of a county or other borough, urban district or town for which a separate name is in common use, or

(b) a portion (other than an urban area, a town, a townland or a non-municipal town, within the meaning of Section 75 of this Act) of a county for which a separate name is in common use;

the expression "the appropriate authority" means—

(a) as respects a locality in a county or other borough, the corporation of the borough,

(b) as respects a locality in an urban district, the council of the urban district,

(c) as respects a locality in a town, the commissioners of the town,

(d) as respects a locality in a county, the council of the county;

the expression "the proper officer" means—

(a) as respects the corporation of a county or other borough, the town clerk of the borough,

(b) as respects the council of an urban district, the clerk of the council,

(c) as respects the commissioners of a town, the clerk of the commissioners,

(d) as respects the council of a county, the secretary of the council.

New section put and agreed to.

Section 77 agreed to.

Amendment No. 39 is out of order. It is outside the scope of the Bill.

Section 78 put and agreed to.
SECTION 79.

I move amendment No. 40:

In sub-section (1), page 34, to delete all words after the word "duties" in line 49 to the end of the sub-section.

I am proposing the amendment because I feel that the powers given in this section are rather extensive and should not be given unless the Minister has some very good reason to put forward. If that is so, of course I will not press the amendment. I hold that local authorities have ample power at the present time for the acquiring of land or property for the purpose of carrying out their duties. The question of whether they acquire the land by agreement or otherwise does not concern me in moving this amendment. If a public authority has no idea of the purposes for which or the manner in which they want to acquire certain property, they will not be able to give the information to the community which the community are entitled to get as to why they mean to acquire the property. The people in the area administered by the local authority will have to contribute to the purchase of this property. They may have to contribute at least 60 per cent. or they may have to contribute the whole of it. Therefore, they are entitled to know what is the purpose for which the property is to be acquired and what use the local authority intends to make of it. I hold that giving an authority power to acquire land, notwithstanding that they have not determined the manner in which, or the purpose for which, they intend to use it, is giving them something that, unless in very grave circumstances, should not be given. They should have their minds made up as to what purpose they mean to put the land to and they should give it as great publicity as possible, so that the people in the locality will have an opportunity of expressing their opinions. Public opinion will be the best guide as to whether it would be wise to give this power.

In order to save time, may I say "ditto" to what Senator Ruane said.

I could not accept the amendment; to do so would be to defeat the whole purpose of the section. I do not see why we should not encourage local authorities to have some foresight. In the preparation of town plans and locality plans a local authority may foresee that it is probable they may require at some future date a certain portion of land and that, even in advance of their requirements, it might be a wise and prudent act to acquire that land. But, even though they may foresee that and anticipate that at some future date they may require certain land, they would not be in a position to determine the manner in which, or the purpose for which, that land would be utilised. That determination very probably could not be made until, perhaps, other portions of land had been acquired.

All we are doing here is to allow the local authorities to exercise a certain amount of foresight, to plan ahead, even though the planning would be of a rather tentative and provisional kind. No local authority will purchase or acquire land, particularly by agreement, without the ratepayers, the people they represent, being fairly well aware of the intention of the local authority and what its ultimate purpose might be. I think the Senator should concede to the local authorities at least this, that if they acquire land they will acquire it with thebona fide intention of using it in the public interest and for the public good. That is the basis upon which the section has been drafted.

Would it not be possible for the local authority to specify a number of reasons why they want land? They might require it for building purposes, to make a playground for children, for a vocational school, or for a cemetery. These are usually the reasons for which land is required. The local authority should be able to give a definite reason, so that the people concerned, who will have to contribute something towards the purchase price, will have something to talk about and they can express their views as to the desirability of such land acquisition.

I have no doubt that a local authority acquiring land will specify, for the benefit of the ratepayers, the purpose for which they intend to acquire it. The Senator must not lose sight of the force of the word "determine". "Determine", in my view, would represent the fixation of a purpose by formal resolution, and it is to avoid the need for that by a formal act of the council under seal—I do not know exactly how it might be done— that the section is so framed. But determination has a legal significance and it is to allow the council to acquire land without having to fulfil these very narrow and rigid conditions which are, I think, imposed on a council by the doctrine ofultra vires.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 79 agreed to.
SECTION 80.

I move amendment No. 41:—

In sub-section (1) to insert after line 22, the following new subclause:—

(c) Where the person to whom the land is to be disposed of is the person from whom the land was acquired containing an option to that person to repurchase the land at the price paid for it on acquisition.

This amendment may be defective and may not carry out my intention. What I am endeavouring to achieve is that where land is acquired by a local authority and that authority subsequently finds that they do not require the land and propose to dispose of it, then in such a case there should be an option to the person from whom the land was acquired originally to repurchase it at the price at which it was acquired by the local authority. If the Minister accepts the principle of the amendment, it could be introduced on Report Stage in an improved form.

It is quite possible that land may be acquired for a purpose that might appeal to the person from whom it is acquired. He may be a high-minded person, interested in providing amenities for his district, and even if he had other intentions as to the use to which the land could be put—he might have his own plans laid out—still, when the local authority approached him for the purpose of acquiring the property by agreement, he would not, being interested in his locality, offer any obstruction by way of driving a hard bargain or making it a difficult matter for the local authority to acquire the particular property. In the event of the local authorities not needing the land and deciding to offer it for sale, I suggest that the person to whom it belonged originally would have a prior claim.

I suggest also that the price which was considered fair and equitable when the local authority was acquiring it, should be accepted from the original owner, if he desires to purchase it. If the local authority have made any improvements in the way of fencing, or draining or levelling it would, of course, be understood that the price to the individual who would get the option would include the cost incurred in the matter of improvements. That was the idea in my mind when I tabled this amendment. I hope the Minister will accept it.

I do not think I could accept this amendment. We must remember that the land proposed to be dealt with under Section 80 is land which has been purchased at an agreed price. In relation to this land there has been no element of compulsion; it is an ordinary commercial transaction as between buyer and seller. If the vendor of the land has received a satisfactory price, I do not see how he can expect to have it both ways.

Where does that appear? This section deals only with land acquired by agreement.

I think the Senator is right. I was rather preoccupied by the preceding section—Section 79. But some of it will be acquired by agreement. Other portions of it may be acquired compulsorily. As regards the portion which is acquired by compulsion, we may take it, I think, that the original owner has been fully compensated.

Far from it.

I do not see that I can accept the amendment. The purpose of the section is to ensure that, where a county manager is disposing of property which is not corporate property, the matter will be brought under the notice of the local authority. I find now that I was quite right when Senator Sweetman protested.

Not on the section. We were dealing only with land acquired by agreement.

I see the trouble was caused by the fact that I was looking at the amendment sheet. I am supposed to be dealing with an amendment to Section 80, whereas, in fact, the section is 79. We are dealing with Senator Ruane's amendment No. 41 to Section 80.

Has not Section 79 been passed?

No. I must confess that when Senator Sweetman protested, I rather innocently accepted his interpretation of the section.

I am still protesting.

Because there is nothing in Section 80 which refers to Section 79.

I take it that this land which might be put up for resale is land that could have been compulsorily acquired?

Senator Ruane's amendment might, perhaps, cover land acquired by agreement as well as land acquired compulsorily. I think the Senator will at once admit that where land has been acquired by agreement he cannot have it both ways. It does appear to be reasonable that if land is taken off a person without his consent, and if it is not required for the purpose for which it was taken, the former owner should have first option to get it back. The amendment does not say that, but I think that Senator Ruane would be quite agreeable to accept any form of words that would achieve that purpose.

I understand that the law at the moment is as Senator Sweetman has stated. At least, we were so informed when discussing the Transport Bill last year. This provision was written into the Transport Act, that land would be handed back to the original owner if it were not required. We were told that the reason for that was that it was the law in regard to local authorities.

I must qualify what I said earlier. I cannot see how amendment No. 41 is really relevant to Section 80. When looking at the amendment, I thought it had reference to Section 79, which deals with the acquisition of land. It is true that Section 80 deals with the disposal of land, but Section 80 merely amends the present law in this respect: that, with the exception of corporate property, the county manager has full power of disposal over county property. The purpose of Section 80 is to ensure that no property will be disposed of until the matter has been brought to the notice of the members of the local authority when they will have an opportunity of expressing their views on it. If they have any objections they can then state them. When speaking before, I could not see how Section 80 came in, so I was addressing myself to amendment No. 41 as an amendment to Section 79. I cannot see how that amendment could be made to Section 80. Such an amendment would have to be made not only to Section 80 but to sections in many other Acts because these lands may be acquired under a variety of enactments. I submit that the House should not accept an amendment of this sort. It would have to be a general comprehensive amendment to a number of enactments of which the House at this stage has no knowledge.

Is it not possible that land may be acquired compulsorily for a specific purpose and may never be put to that purpose? In the event of that taking place, is not the person from whom the land was acquired the best entitled to get it? He should not be asked to pay more for it than he was paid for it.

I am not a lawyer, but sub-section (4) of Section 79 would appear to me to give power to acquire land compulsorily.

Land cannot be acquired compulsorily under Section 79.

Sub-section (4) of Section 79 confers power on a local authority to acquire land for a particular purpose. In my opinion that sub-section empowers a local authority to acquire land compulsorily, for housing for example.

I think the Senator is right.

I have some experience of this, and I think that what I say is correct. Suppose land is acquired compulsorily for housing, the price is fixed by an arbitrator. I understood from Senator Sweetman that he disagreed with the Minister's assumption that such a price is fair to all parties. My experience has been that where land is acquired compulsorily for housing, and where the price is fixed by an arbitrator, the price is fair. I think that if the provisions in the section for getting the price fixed by arbitration are worked, as they should be worked, that that should end the deal. I dislike bringing in something that would enable the original owner, in five or ten years' time, to get back that land again. I think it would be a wrong thing to introduce into a Bill.

If the owner in the meantime had moved out and another man had moved in, what was going to happen? The idea that seems to be behind Senator Ruane's amendment is that if a couple of acres of land are acquired from some person that that person should have the right to get that land back again. If in the meantime the man sold the farm and went away, what is going to happen?

I can think of a particular case—I do not want to mention names because I have not got the authority of the parties concerned to do so—where land was taken over and where the price of the land was perfectly fair, judged by certain standards, but no money could compensate that owner for the damage done to the property that remained on his hands. If that property were not required by the local authority and were to come into the open market, the local authority, without some provision of the nature of which Senator Ruane has proposed, could hold up that owner to ransom for an incalculable amount. It does appear to me that where land is taken compulsorily for the general good, if the general good does not require it, at least it should be returned to the person from whom it was taken.

Would paragraph (c) not cover that? If there is a case such as Senator Sweetman mentions, I am sure that there would be a representation made at the meeting of the council at which it would be proposed to operate Section 8—in other words, that the resolution would contain a clause, that it could be given over to the owner.

Perhaps we could discuss this matter on the Report Stage, as time is getting on and the situation is becoming more entangled. It is true that under the Labourers Acts, where land is acquired for the purpose of labourers' cottages and is not used for that purpose, if it has to be disposed of, it has to be offered to the original owner or at least it has been the custom to offer it but this thing can become preposterous. Land may have been taken over 100 years ago and considerable development work may have been carried out since, enormously enhancing the value of the land. Are we to go and offer that land to the original owner at the original price? I have made the suggestion that perhaps we could discuss this at greater length on another occasion.

The purpose that was definitely set out when the land was acquired may have had a very strong influence on the owner of the land and may have been the determining factor in his decision to part with it. The land may have been acquired for the purpose of building a parochial hall, which would add to the amenities of his own district, or it might have been acquired for the purpose of erecting a vocational school in which perhaps his children could receive an education that it would be very difficult otherwise to get. These considerations may have been the determining factor in getting the man to make up his mind to part with the land. If the purpose for which it was required is not fulfilled, and if the local authority propose to sell it, who is more entitled to it than the man from whom they got the property in the first instance?

It might be a question of an overcrowded graveyard and certainly the man who was the original owner would not trouble about it then.

He would not be here anyhow.

It might cause all sorts of complications.

I should like the Minister to give me an assurance that he will look into the matter.

I cannot. I really thought this amendment was put down to Section 79 and anything the Senator has said in regard to it confirms me in that belief. As far as the amendment to Section 80 is concerned, I cannot possibly undertake to consider it but we could discuss it on Report Stage if the Senator desires to carry the matter further.

I do not own any property so I am not making a case for myself.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed: "That Section 80 stand part of the Bill."

Would the Minister be prepared to agree after paragraph (a) to add another paragraph to the effect that notice should be sent to the person who was, previous to the acquisition, the owner of the land if the address of such person can be reasonably ascertained? That would give the person concerned an opportunity of making representations to the local authority. There is in the Arterial Drainage Act and certain other Acts a provision to that effect, that the owner of the land if the address of such person can be reasonably ascertained should be notified.

That would be carrying the matter outside the original intention of the section. The intention was that notice should be sent to members of the local authority giving them these particulars. I think we cannot go beyond that. I do not want to be obdurate in these matters but I cannot see that we can do anything. I do not want to impose on the manager any conditions additional to the one envisaged in Section 80.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 81 to 84, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 85.

I shall not occupy the time of the House by moving amendment No. 42 which stands in my name. I thought it was a good amendment which almost exactly split the difference between the Minister's view and my own and which gave each of us as much as we were really entitled to. I thought it would save a good deal of burning of midnight oil and biting of nails in an attempt to torture out of the written evidence a meaning which it did not bear. I still think it is a good amendment but I shall not propose it unless the Minister accepts the sound principle in it.

The Senator is challenging me to acknowledge that I am a public sinner, by doing public penance.

It is never too late to repent, even at the eleventh hour.

Amendment not moved.
Amendment No. 43 not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 85 stand part of the Bill."

Is Section 85 an answer to the case I made about the qualifications of persons appointed to conduct an inquiry?

It might mean the appointment of people in the service or the appointmentad hoc of people with certain qualifications.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 86 to 90, inclusive, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 91.

I move amendment No. 44:—

Before Section 91 to insert the following new section:—

(1) Any office to which this section applies shall be deemed, for the purposes of Section 2 of the Local Authorities (Officers and Employees) Act, 1926 (No. 39 of 1926), not to be a chief executive office under a local authority.

(2) This section applies to—

(a) the office of clerk to a local pension committee under Section 8 of the Old Age Pensions Act, 1908;

(b) the office of clerk of the commissioners of a town which is not an urban district.

We propose to provide that the office of clerk to a local pensions committee and the office of clerk to the commissioners of a town which is not an urban district shall not be an office that will have to be filled by the Local Appointments Commissioners.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Since this amendment has been agreed, it involves the deletion of Section 91.

Section 91 deleted.

Sections 92 to 94, inclusive, agreed to.

I do not propose to move amendments Nos. 45 and 46, in the name of Senator Douglas, who, unfortunately, had to go away on business. I merely mention them so that if he is here for Report he can himself move them if he so desires. He asked me to move them but it is too late to-night.

Section 95 agreed to.
SECTION 96.

As the Minister has met me and secured the same point by an amendment of his own, I do not propose to move amendment No. 47.

Amendment No. 47 not moved.
FIRST SCHEDULE.

I move amendment No. 48:—

In page 40, after the words "The whole Act" in the third column opposite the words "Bridges (Ireland) Act, 1834" in the second column, to insert the words "so far as unrepealed.

A number of sections in this statute have been repealed already. In fact, Sections 16 to 22 were repealed by 21 and 22 Vict. Chap. 23, Sec. 1. Section 7, Sections 11 to 15, Sections 23 and 24 were repealed by the Statute Law Revision Act, 1874 and other sections, also, have been repealed by other enactments. In the Public Assistance Act, 1939, in a Schedule of Repeals, the words are used: "so far as unrepealed" and I do not think that this House ought to purport to repeal sections of an Act which have already been repealed by previous enactments. Therefore, I propose in this amendment to put in, after the words, "the whole Act" the words "so far as unrepealed". In the First Schedule to the Public Assistance Act of 1939, the Schedule of Repeals, a great number of Acts which were repealed already are stated to be repealed so far as they are already unrepealed. I think the amendment speaks for itself.

I do not know how I am going to dispose of Senator Ryan's amendments because I find that my legal adviser, the Parliamentary draftsman, while he will accept amendment No. 50, is very strongly opposed to accepting amendments Nos. 48, 49, 51 and 52. We have had this matter under discussion. He thinks that the words, "so far as unrepealed", would be tautologous and advised me that it would be bad draftsmanship to accept them. In the circumstances, I am afraid the only thing that Senator Ryan can do is to take suitable opportunity of raising the matter in the courts.

No. I am raising it here. We have the Public Assistance Act, 1939, and I refer the Minister to the Schedule. There must be some continuity as far as Parliamentary draftsmanship is concerned. There it will be seen that in a number of cases the extent of the repeal was a whole Act "so far as unrepealed." I have looked at the Index to the Statutes setting out the extent of repeal and in this Act of 1834 already, I think, about more than half the sections have been repealed. Why should the Oireachtas now purport to repeal the whole Act? I think that I am just as good a judge of draftsmanship as the Parliamentary draftsman. It is pure obstinacy. They never admit they are wrong. I am quite prepared to stand over my opinion. The Minister may refuse to accept it but I am not going to be stultified by being told by somebody who is my former pupil that something is wrong which I know is right. This is a technical matter, a legal matter, and I am putting my view here. I am only trying to improve the Bill. I do not care. If they think it is not a proper amendment to be accepted, let it be so, but I think it is my duty to help the Minister to produce something that will be more perfect than it comes here. I have no axe to grind in this matter except that I am anxious to help. I went to the trouble of going through the Schedule and I have seen that a great number of sections have been repealed already. Am I to be told that the Parliamentary draftsman —who ought to know from the Index to the Statutes, which every Parliamentary draftsman should have, that these sections have been repealed— will not accept it? I do not think that the Parliamentary draftsman is the person to decide whether an amendment should be accepted or not. I think it is the Seanad. But no case can be made for not accepting it and we have the precedent already in the Public Assistance Act, 1939, No. 27 of 1939, in the Third Schedule.

I have often come across it in Acts. It is often put in.

I think it is quite a reasonable amendment. What is the reason against it?

Is it the position that certain provisions of old statutes which we are asked to repeal have been repealed already?

I looked into this matter some months ago because it occurred to me that some had been repealed and I discovered—not as many as Senator Ryan has discovered—but a number of repealed provisions being repealed again, but, as I am not a lawyer, I would not attempt to put down an amendment to that effect. It seems to me that both Houses of the Oireachtas are asked to stultify themselves by repealing statutes and provisions in statutes which have been repealed already.

I hope that Senator Ryan has not misunderstood me. He has given us a great deal of assistance on this Bill, and very valuable assistance, but I am in this position, that I have official advisers and when they advise me that an amendment is unnecessary and would be tautologous if I were to accept it, I cannot publicly express want of confidence in my advisers.

In saying that I do not want to imply that I have a lack of confidence, but to accept an amendment which is purely a drafting one, in the face of that advice, would be to express a lack of confidence. While I have said that, may I say that I do not think we are entitled to discuss the Parliamentary draftsman here? Senators may say if they like that I am acting wrongly.

We could say a lot more than that.

If you wish. I am advised that this Bill is no new practice, that the practice of providing in repeal schedules for the repeal of "the whole Act" in respect of enactments, portions of which have previously been repealed, is not new. We must remember that legal drafting is not a static art, that there is a very great difference between the phraseology of to-day and the phraseology of even 30 years ago. Times change. Ways, expressions and ideas change.

Ministers change.

Ministers in particular change. There have been three or four changes within the last 14 years. Even the personnel of the draftsman's office may change. The draftsman, who is my official adviser, is concerned to ensure that when statutes are passed by the Oireachtas they will express the Ministerial intention, and that this purpose will not be defeated either by ambiguous phraseology or by a superabundance of caution. It is true that even on occasions the Parliamentary draftsman has not been able to ensure that his phraseology will be interpreted in exactly the manner in which it was intended, but, in general, there have been very few of the many enactments passed by the Oireachtas challenged in the courts.

Some of them have been.

Some have been. That is what the courts are there for.

To keep Ministers right.

No, to interpret the law as enacted by the Oireachtas. If sometimes the law as enacted by the Oireachtas does not carry out the intentions of the Minister he has the remedy, to get the Oireachtas to mend its hand. In a matter of this sort I am indebted to Senator Ryan for the care and attention he has given to this Bill. I am not rating my advisers' legal draftsmanship in order to decry that of eminent senior counsel, but I am in this position that in a matter of this sort I must abide by the advice of my technical adviser.

I appreciate the position of the Minister. I think it was the Minister who mentioned the Parliamentary draftsman. I did not mention him. I am only trying to have things more careful than they are. If the Minister mentioned tautology, I think if you repeal a good portion of what has been already repealed, that is more tautology than putting in the words "so far as unrepealed". As I pointed out in the Public Assistance Act, 1939, the words "so far as unrepealed" were withdrawn. Was it wrong to do that in 1939? That is one of the matters I cannot understand. I am not putting my phraseology against that of the Parliamentary draftsman. These were the Parliamentary draftsman's words, in the Public Assistance Act of 1939, which is part of the local government code. If the Minister refuses to accept the amendment, I think I could be better employed at home at my own work. I ask the leave of the House to withdraw the amendment.

May I say that I am prepared to accept amendments Nos. 50 and 53?

I should like to move them separately later.

Would the Minister have this amendment re-examined?

I have had it re-examined.

In the end I think I will spend my time at home at my own work.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 49:—

In page 40, after the words "The whole Act" in the third column opposite the words "Bridges (Ireland) Act, 1843" in the second column to insert the words "so far as unrepealed".

In this case Section 3 of the Bridges (Ireland) Act was repealed by the Bridges Act of 1874. That was also portion of the Act.

I suggest to our colleague that he should not be so personal, by saying that he would be better employed at home. Senator Ryan has given the Bill a good deal of study, but I think we should not put in the words "so far as unrepealed" simply on the precedent. I do not think it could make any difference to say that the whole Act is gone now when there was only a little bit of it there last week. If we have inserted in the past "so far as unrepealed" I hope from now on we will have the words "the whole Act". I think Senator Ryan was hurt that we were not more condescending to his point of view. I should like him to consider our point of view, when he said he would be better engaged at home. I do not think there is much cause of dispute, whether the whole of an Act or portion of it is repealed.

Senator O'Donovan misunderstands what we are talking about.

The Senator has often told us that.

There was no suggestion of adding these words, "so far as unrepealed" except where it was essential that that should be done.

It is not essential that it should be done.

If an Act were passed five years ago, and if, in the following year, five or six sections were repealed, and this year we are repealing the balance, it means that the whole Act would be repealed. This is the common expression.

Not being a lawyer, I take the view that the whole difficulty in regard to inserting the words, "so far as unrepealed" is that the Parliamentary draftsmen were here challenging the right or the competency of the authority to repeal the sections of the original Act of 1843. It is a long time ago, in so far as it affects this particular section. Probably, the Parliamentary draftsmen were challenging the right or the competency of the authority to amend the particular Act. That may be an explanation for it and it may explain the difference between the view held by Senator Ryan and the view held by the Parliamentary draftsman.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 50:—

In page 40, to delete the word "Section" in the Third Column opposite the words "Towns Improvement Clauses Act, 1847" in the Second Column, and in lieu thereof to insert the word "Sections".

I think this is an amendment, which the Minister will accept. In the Bill as it stands, we are repealing "Section 167 to 184." That should, obviously, read "Sections".

It is, probably, a typist's error.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 51 and 52 not moved.

I move amendment No. 53:—

In page 40, immediately after the words and figures "35 and 36 Vic. c. 69", "Local Government Board (Ireland) Act, 1872", and "Section 6" in the First, Second and Third Columns respectively, to insert the words and figures "38 and 39 Vic. c. 46", "Bridges (Ireland) Act, 1875" and "The whole Act" in the First, Second and Third Columns respectively.

The purpose of the new Bill is to make legislation for bridges and a great number of the Bridges (Ireland) Acts have been repealed by this Bill, commencing with the Bridges (Ireland) Act of 1813. Now, there was a Bridges (Ireland) Act in 1875, 38, 39 Victoria, Chapter 46, which is obsolete and out of date having regard to this legislation. It is a one-section Act which says:—

"In cases where it is proposed to erect a bridge wholly within the limits of any one county, it shall be lawful for the grand jury of any neighbouring county, upon and after application made and approved at presentment sessions for the county at large to consent to co-operate with the grand jury of any such first-named county, for the purposes of the hereinbefore recited Acts, and to signify such consent by a resolution entered on the record of its proceedings; and thereupon all the provisions of the hereinbefore recited Acts shall extend and be applicable in like manner as if such bridge was proposed to be erected over a river forming the boundary between the said counties, and all acts and proceedings by the hereinbefore recited Acts provided shall and may be done, had, and taken accordingly.

The term ‘county' in this section shall include county of a city and county of a town."

That Act is now obsolete having regard to the legislation which is now in course of being passed. Under this Bill we are also repealing Section 31 of the Local Government Act, 1925. Section 31 of the Local Government Act of 1925 enacts that: "Nothing in the Act shall be deemed to repeal or amend or otherwise prejudice or affect the Bridges (Ireland) Acts, of 1813 to 1875". That is the code and I submit to the Seanad we ought not to leave the last Act of that code in the air and not repeal it.

Amendment agreed to.
Question—"That the First Schedule as amended be the First Schedule to the Bill"—put and agreed to.
SECOND SCHEDULE.

I move amendment No. 54:—

In Parts I and II to delete the fraction "½" and insert instead in each place the fraction "¼".

I want to reduce the valuation on half rents from a half of the half rent to a quarter of the half rent. I do not know if the Minister has considered that matter.

I think we cannot accept that because the fraction we have taken must be one of general application. We have given it very careful consideration and I think we are dealing very fairly with the owners of half rents.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On the Second Schedule, Senator P.J. O'Reilly asked me to mention a point arising in respect of the proportionate valuation. He feels that in regard to some of the smaller boroughs the figure of three-quarters in respect of land which is solely used for arable purposes is too high a proportion. He understood that the Minister was going to consider the question after the Second Reading. I did not enter into that discussion at all, but he understood the Minister was going to do something about it. As the Minister has not, he asked me to give notice to the House that he proposes to introduce some amendment there on the Report Stage.

Question—"That the Second Schedule be the Second Schedule to the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Report Stage fixed for Wednesday, 10th July, 1946.
The Seanad adjourned at 9.40 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 9th July, 1946.