Housing (Gaeltacht) (Amendment) Bill, 1949 ( Certified Money Bill )— Committee and Final Stages.

Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 3 stand part of the Bill."

I wish to raise a point in connection with (b) of paragraph (1) of this section—"In the case of an improving grant—£80." I fail to see the necessity for such a sub-section in this Bill. Provision is made in the Local Government Housing Act for the exact sum of £80, improvement grant. I think that quite a number of Senators were probably misled by the definition of the Bill—Housing (Gaeltacht) (Amendment) Bill, 1949. They probably thought that it only referred to particular areas such as Connemara. That is not so. The Schedule to the 1929 Act covers practically the whole of County Galway, the whole of County Kerry, parts of Waterford, Cavan, Donegal and, in fact, quite a large part of the country. Further, in the greater part of the districts scheduled under the 1929 Act, the Local Government Housing Act is also in operation. If it is felt that, in connection with the giving of assistance in the case of the erection of a new house or the improvement of an existing house, it is a good thing to give an additional grant to persons living in the Gaeltacht district then I hold that that principle should also apply in relation to improvements.

We have already increased the grants for the building of houses in these particular districts while we have left on a par the improvement grant. I suggest the Minister should avail of the opportunity, now that the Bill is before this House, of amending this section so that those people in those districts who are prepared to improve their existing dwellings may get something in addition to what they would get if they made application for the ordinary Local Government Housing Grant.

If I remember correctly I made clear yesterday that the definition of the Gaeltacht area was contained in the Schedule to the 1929 Act, which has been unaltered ever since. It covers electoral divisions in the following counties:—Clare, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Mayo and Waterford. Any person in public life who wishes to look up the Schedule to that Act can see exactly what various electoral divisions are covered. These have never been altered during the years, nor do I think the need has ever arisen. We do not believe that there has been sufficient change to merit an alteration in them. In reply to a question by Senator Honan, I said yesterday that there were 79 electoral divisions in County Clare. It is hardly necessary for me to say that County Galway is the second largest county in the Twenty-Six Counties, if my memory serves me correctly.

A section in the 1934 Act makes it necessary for Irish to be the spoken language of the house. That confines the scope of the Bill somewhat. In an electoral division, even in the very heart of an extensive Irish-speaking district, you will, however, find a household in which Irish is not the spoken language. They would not qualify. However, we shall not be hard and fast about it. When the Bill was going through the Dáil a Deputy said: "What about the case of a man who is a native Irish speaker and who marries a girl who has no Irish whatsoever? Is he going to be deprived of coming under the scope of the Bill?" I would not think so. I think it would be rather harsh if such were the case. The Minister uses his discretion completely in all such cases. The line will not be too hide-bound as regards these particular regulations. If we think the general spirit of the Act is fairly reasonably fulfilled, there will not be any harshness under it.

With regard to the grant of £80, Senator Hawkins takes the view that there is no need for it. There is need for it. There was a good deal of talk here yesterday about persons having to go to the Department of Lands for the dwelling-house grant and to the Department of Agriculture for the grant in respect of piggeries and any other out-office needed. Take the case of two Irish speaking persons in a townland or village in the Gaeltacht one of whom gets a grant for a new house under the Gaeltacht Housing Act and the other who has to go to the Department of Local Government for an improving grant. That would cause a great deal more confusion in the minds of the ordinary people. The point the Senator has raised has been carefully examined in drafting the Bill and it was decided to draft the Bill this way, as being the best means of meeting the needs of the people in the area.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 4 stand part of the Bill."

We should like a little more information with regard to this section. The previous Bill provided for a loan of £80 and that amount is raised to £100 by this section. What are the terms of repayment of this loan? Senators on the opposite side last night were even more sympathetic with and painted a much gloomier picture of the conditions of people living in the Gaeltacht than I propose to paint. We know what their circumstances are in particular districts, but, as I have already pointed out, this Bill applies to a great part of the country, and I can see untold difficulties arising, difficulties to which I hope to refer on another section. How are these people in the very poor districts of the Gaeltacht to be able to repay a loan? What is the rate of interest and what is the period of years over which the loan is to be repayable and what are the terms of repayment? It would be much better, as I said already, if this Bill had been made a real Gaeltacht Housing Bill, confined to the people who need the assistance most and leaving the other people who are in fairly comfortable circumstances to be catered for by the Local Government housing legislation. We should like for our guidance to know what the position is with regard to the interest rate and the repayment terms.

The loan will be a 3¼ per cent. loan. The repayment period will be 35 years and it will be repaid in half-yearly instalments. In the past —and we expect the same will apply to the future—loans were not readily availed of by the people in the Gaeltacht. I have a fairly intimate knowledge of the people in Mayo, Galway and parts of Clare and Kerry, and I know that they are very slow to tie a millstone round their necks in the shape of a loan, even for a small amount. They do not like bank or Departmental loans, if they can possibly manage without them. Of all the money lent under the previous Gaeltacht Housing Acts, less than one per cent. is outstanding and in very few cases has there been a refusal to pay. This is an outstanding record and it is only fair that this House as well as the other House should know that that is the position. There seems to be a very strict code of honesty amongst the poorer sections of the people in the Gaeltacht areas and I say that without reflecting in any way on the people in the rest of the country. I think business people would bear me out in that statement. We do not anticipate that the loans will be applied for in many cases, unless there is complete change in the Gaeltacht areas, because in the past they did not apply for large loans. The maximum loan in the past was £80 and very seldom was the full amount asked for. In the majority of cases these loans have been repaid, so that members of the House can set their minds at rest on that score.

The fact that I drew attention to this point has brought from the Minister a very happy statement, which I am glad to hear, as, I am sure, members of the House are glad to hear it, with regard to the honesty and integrity of the people in the Gaeltacht areas. The Minister's statement that the people in the Gaeltacht—just the same as people throughout all rural areas—are very reluctant to avail of loans is true. The reason for that is that they have the fear of being unable to repay these loans and it is for that reason that I still press for greater assistance in the way of free grants, rather than loans, in cases of this kind.

The figure the Minister gave for the interest rate was 3¼ per cent., and I take it that the principal has to be repaid over a period of 35 years. That is, £6 2s. 2d. per cent. per annum—repayment of capital, £2 17s. 2d., and interest, £3 5s. 0d.

In the case of the £100 loan, the half-yearly gale would be £2 8s. 1d., the annual amount being £4 16s. 2d., and the total amount repayable, £168 5s. 10d.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 5 stand part of the Bill."

I spoke yesterday on this section, and I am still not convinced that the Minister put forward any valid argument in favour of the repeal of the section dealing with the provision of piggeries and poultry-houses.

Would anything convince you?

I am not convinced by Senator Baxter's or the Minister's argument. I still hold that it is an unwise decision, but, since the Minister resisted an amendment in the other House, I did not see fit to put this House to the trouble of discussing an amendment and going through the same procedure as the other House. I hope that the Minister will introduce a Bill at some later stage, going back to the principle that was enshrined in the 1929 and 1934 Acts.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 6 and 7 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That the Schedule be the Schedule to the Bill."

We have had an explanation from the Minister of this Bill, but it is very hard to find what exactly it is proposed to do, or what type of person it is proposed to assist. We have no regulations before us. There is nothing contained in the Bill to show us what type of house is to be erected or what type of person is to get this particular grant. I am quite aware that all these matters will be governed by regulations made by the Minister, but we have the extraordinary statement made, that while every person residing in County Galway and County Mayo in those areas scheduled in the 1929 Act is entitled to make an application under this Bill, the Bill is open to every person who wishes to build a house to replace his existing house, or who proposes to improve his existing house. Those people can make applications under this Bill and there is no disqualification. The only qualification necessary is that he reside in a particular district. Now we have the position that the sole judge as to whether that person is entitled to get that grant, whether he is a person who should receive a grant, is the Minister. The Minister tells us that he is not going to be strict as regards Irish being the spoken language of the home.

Oh, no, do not misquote me. I did not say that. That is misleading.

Will the Minister say now that the first and essential qualification for a grant under this Bill is that the Irish language must be the spoken language of the home?

I have no option, because that is enshrined in the law. That is not repealed.

The Minister said just less than 20 minutes ago——

The Minister quoted one specific instance and asked the House what was he to do in that case.

If the regulations are there, the House has no other function but to amend the regulations. I hold that the Minister, while he may be sympathetic to the man who married a girl who had no Irish and whom in the ordinary way one would like to see building a home in a Gaeltacht area, should have no option in making a grant under this particular Bill available to such persons.

We have also the question of floor space. There is no provision in this Bill as to the size, dimensions or type of house to be built under the Bill in in order to qualify. I have here a memorandum setting out the conditions for applicants under the Local Government Housing Grant. It is set out there that no grant will be payable to any person who erects a house whose floor area exceeds 1,250 square feet. Is a person who builds a house in the Gaeltacht of 1,255 square feet, 1,500 or 2,000 square feet, entitled to a grant under this Bill? There is confusion as to what type of person residing in these particular districts is entitled. I hold—and I feel that if an applicant tested his case, as the Bill has been presented to us here and taken in conjunction with the statements made by the Minister here and in the other House—that every person residing in the electoral divisions scheduled in the Act of 1929 would be entitled to a grant.

Would be entitled to apply for a grant.

Would be entitled to a grant. I also made reference to the abolition or removal of the valuation test as a basis. The Minister pointed out that I might have exaggerated, that it seemed an exaggeration that a man with a valuation of £100 would make an application, that he would be such a bad citizen as to make an application under this Bill. From what I know of many of those people who are in a fairly well-to-do state of life, they would be anxious to get the greatest amount of benefit that might be obtained under any Bill or any scheme that any Government might introduce. Here again he is entitled to make his application and the sole judge as to whether it should be granted is the Minister. The principle enshrined in this Bill is bad. You are leaving the Minister the sole judge. You are passing the Bill first to make provision for increased grants to persons in particular districts throughout the country. You are setting out no definite conditions under which these houses must be built or for the applicants to qualify and you are making the Minister the sole judge. When a particular applicant is turned down, while it should not be suggested that he was turned down for reasons other than that he was not a person who should get a grant, I think Senators will agree with me that that will be held if this Bill is allowed to pass now. That is bad for this State, for any Government and for any Minister.

The 1934 Act and, I think, all the Acts that were passed in relation to this matter, made a very specific obligation that the Irish language must be the spoken language of the home. Some Senators last night said that they did not want to bribe the people or coerce them to speak Irish. I do not wish to do that either. The people living in the Gaeltacht do not wish or do not want to be bribed or coerced. They have maintained the language in more difficult conditions than those that exist to-day. However, if we are passing a particular Bill to make provision for those people, that should be done in such a way that nobody will fear that, because of any pull or influence or any motive other than that they were not persons to whom the Act applied, they should be debarred from the benefits. From the statements made by the Minister, both here and in the other House, I fear that this Bill, if operated under these conditions, will leave room for such suggestions.

The Minister will be making regulations governing the administration of this Act, and I would press that provision be made that all such regulations be laid on the Tables of both Houses of the Oireachtas and that if any member of the House feels it should be brought to our notice and annulled, that could be done. Would the Minister guarantee to us that all the regulations he makes for the administration of this Bill will be laid on the Table of this House and that we will be given an opportunity of considering them and, if necessary, having such Orders annulled or amended as the Seanad in its wisdom may think fit?

I had some knowledge of the first Gaeltacht Housing Act because I was very interested in the matter. Quite plainly, the first and subsequent Acts were passed for the purpose of providing houses for people who spoke Irish and lived in particular areas and who had, up to that particular moment, been what is now called under-privileged. The Act had set up the provision that certain people would have a linguistic test—not a means test, but a language test. What Senator Hawkins wants is that that test should be made so clear that the Minister would have no discretion. Let me assure Senator Hawkins that if he knew intimately any given Irish speaking district he would know at once that that is not possible.

You cannot measure the question of a domestic language so accurately as to put down something in an Act of Parliament which enables you to discover what the facts are, leaving no discreation to the Minister. Take the case the Minister gave of an Irish-speaking man who marries a woman from a nearby town or parish who is not an Irish speaker or a sufficiently fluent Irish speaker. That does not give you complete information about the language of the home. The man may have living in the house his father or mother who knows no English. So that in that house there is bound to be, in the nature of things, two languages, English and Irish and, in fact, if the case I give is so, if either the grandmother or grandfather, or both, are living in the house and know no English, the children of that house inevitably will know Irish far more than they will learn in any school or by any process. The Minister, having to rely on local people and local inspectors, cannot be given specific instruction which leaves him no discretion. The matter is not easily ascertainable. I suggest that the only possible scheme in this case is to leave it to the Minister and I think the Minister, on the whole, is right when he says that the test will not be applied too harshly.

With regard to persons turned down, I do not think there is very much in the argument that particular motives will be attributed to a particular Minister. There can be very little doubt that these Gaeltacht Housing Acts, which began in 1929 and which had at that particular time a particular interest, a language interest, have actually transformed the Gaeltacht from the point of view of housing. I think Senator Hawkins knows that. There was an amendment in 1934 and this is a further amendment to improve the position. I think the scheme originally adopted has been, in the main, adhered to. I would like to remind Senator Hawkins that this is an amending Bill and all the regulations and all the provisions of the Principal Acts still remain valid at law and, therefore, the test with regard to language in the Principal Act of 1929 still remains and must be read in conjunction with this Bill. Similarly, unless my memory is completely wrong—the Minister could tell us—I think the Principal Acts contamed a proviso that regulations must be laid upon the Table and may be annulled.

That is so.

If that is so, I think Senator Hawkins has no case at all but, certainly, anyone who knows these areas—and I know them in more than one place—could not agree that you could set down in an Act of Parliament something which was copper fastened and which would leave the Minister no discretion. You simply could not do that.

May I inquire if there is a definition of the word "room" in the original Bill? It does seem to me to be rather important to make sure that people will not build some glorified cupboard and call this a room. Could the Minister give me an assurance on that, that there is some definition of size constituting a room in this matter, that it will not be simply a door opening into some small space?

I should like to follow the point made by Senator Hawkins. I suggest that the position as outlined by Senator Hayes is not so simple as it might appear. I happen to know something about housing in the Gaeltacht, under the 1929 Act. I was in the Gaeltacht when that Act was put into operation, and I saw one particular house pulled down and a house built in its stead that was not as good. That was my view of it. The test was that Irish should be spoken in the home. I am not one of those who subscribe to the view that the Gaeltacht people are the salt of the earth. I have never subscribed to anything of the kind. They happen to be born, fortunately or unfortunately, Irish speakers. I do not believe that the people in the Gaeltacht talk Irish for the love of Irish. They realise that they will not get anywhere in this country unless they know English. That is the position to-day, whether we like it or not. Their first anxiety is to learn English and when they learn it they speak it. I have seen whole areas of the Gaeltacht become English speaking in 20 years. If we are going to take that test out of it, let us abolish this sham; let these people be dealt with under the Local Government Acts, but do not let us pass a Gaeltacht Act and then give houses to people who do not talk Irish.

If you have an English-speaking woman marrying a Gaelic speaker, there is no question that the children of that marriage will be English speakers. The Gaeltacht is dying hard and fast. We see it dying under our eyes and we give this discretion to the Minister, discretion in a matter in which he ought not to have discretion. The test ought to be whether the household is Irish speaking or not. If it is an Irish-speaking household, they will get facilities under this Bill. If it is not a completely Irish-speaking household they should be put in the same position as the rest of the country. I have seen too much of the Gaeltacht. I heard Senator Baxter talking about their hard work and all the rest of it. I do not believe that at all. Fortunately or unfortunately, they happen to be born in an area where Irish is spoken and they can get nowhere in this country until they speak English. My experience is that nine-tenths of them, when they learn to speak English, forget all about Irish unless Irish will be of some use to them, which it rarely is. That is the position. We ought to be honest about this. Give the grant to Irish-speaking households. Others ought to be left out of it.

Would the Senator say under what section of this Bill it is proposed to remove the Irish test?

I am asking that the conditions of the 1929 Act be put into force and kept in force.

They are in force.

As long as the Minister has no discretion to interfere with that, I am satisfied.

There seems to be something inconsistent in the attitude adopted by Senator Colgan. He says, "Give houses only to Gaelic-speaking families" and, in the next breath, he says that nothing that we can do will maintain the Gaelic tradition there, that the Gaelic language is dying out fast. If you give the grant and loan only to the existing Gaelic speakers, on that contention, within a couple of years the family occupying the new house may not be Gaelic speakers at all. It is better to leave it as it is and to leave it to the discretion of the Minister. Let him use his discretion in such cases as he has mentioned, where there might be what you might call a mixed marriage between a Gaelic speaker and an English speaker.

I am concerned chiefly with the point raised about the floor space. Senator Stanford wants to know if there is a definition of a room, and what would be the floor space or size that would constitute a room. That seems to me to be important. Although the Bill does not contain such a definition, I think there should be a minimum floor space laid down and minimum measurements. I would be opposed to any maximum because experience has shown that the maximum laid down for workers' and middle class houses to comply with conditions under other Acts is inadequate. The restriction to a maximum of 1,250 square feet in the case of other houses has had the effect in many cases of creating new slum areas. Families will grow and they will find that the small houses that their parents took in order to qualify for a grant are inadequate. I would not care how big a house was in the Gaeltacht. I would prefer a big house rather than a very small one, and I would not worry if somebody went in for an exceedingly large house because the amount of the grant and of the loan is restricted no matter what the area of the house is and the bigger the house the more of the applicant's own money goes into it.

Queer thoughts began to run through my mind while Senator Hawkins was speaking. He was afraid that the present Minister was going to play "Harry" when the Bill became law and he wants to tie him down with all sorts of regulations. I was wondering what knowledge Senator Hawkins had of the doings of my predecessors in office or were dark thoughts of that kind running through his head when he wanted to fetter me so completely and absolutely. I am astonished that Senator Hawkins did not read the previous Acts, as any regulations made by me must be laid on the Tables of both Houses of the Oireachtas and can be challenged, like any other regulation, within 21 days. They are statutory once 21 days are past, but they are not hidden or concealed. The Minister cannot make regulations in the privacy of his office and hide them from Deputies or Senators or pass them into law so readily. We would have a very queer Parliament if Ministers could do that.

The amount of discretion left to Ministers is not a great deal. I think it was Senator Hayes who said that a certain amount of discretion must be left to the Minister, or rather, to his officials. Take the Irish test alone. On the fringe of the Irish-speaking areas it must be pretty difficult for a conscientious inspector who goes there to satisfy himself. I, for one, would not like to have his job. The Act says that the language of the house must be Irish. Senator Colgan seems to think that there is some section in the Bill which removes that, or at least, lessens the effect of that section which is still law in the 1934 Act. It was not even proposed to tamper with that because that would militate against the whole spirit of the Act. If we proposed to do as Senator Colgan feared it would be much better to hand the whole thing over to the local authorities and make them administer it. I would much rather see Irish the test than poverty or the rateable valuation and there is no test in this Bill, good, bad or indifferent, except the Irish language.

Professor Stanford wants to know what type of house and what size house will be built. The size of the house will be governed—

The size of the rooms.

—by regulations laid down by the Minister and these regulations must be laid on the Tables of both Houses in the usual way.

I take it that there are no existing regulations?

There are existing regulations. But in the conditions of the last eight or nine years applications were negligible and few grants were given because the cost of building materials soared to such an extent as to make the grants useless. We have the Department of Health to advise us as to what is a correct healthy house. We are anxious to see healthy houses above all things and we will not be too strict if an applicant errs on the side of building large, airy rooms. We will definitely go after him, though, if he tries to build small rooms or rooms that the Department of Health advise us would be damaging to health.

Must the applicant have that information before he starts to build?

He will, of course, have all that information. If the Bill is passed and when it becomes law the regulations will be available to any applicant when he applies for a grant for a dwelling-house.

In all time past, now and in the future, a certain amount of discretion must be left to the Minister. It is impossible to frame a Bill to tie down any Minister or his officials. A good official must be allowed to use his discretion and common sense, and above all things he must have a little spark of humanity left in him and not be an icy cold machine.

God forbid that we should ever have a Government composed of Ministers who would be such cold calculating machines as to go as far as a certain spot and then halt there. There are cases on the borderline, and the Minister or his officials have got to make up their minds. In such a case, particularly if the applicant is poor and fulfils the qualifications regarding the Irish-speaking test, I think we will err on the side of leniency rather than on the side of harshness and we will not make any mistake in that regard.

I wish to recommend the Bill to this House. It is the best measure we can devise, and as the Department has already approximately 20 years' experience, they have gathered experience through the years. Three amending Acts were passed since the original one and there is not much change in the general structure, even in this. Senator Hayes told us that this was an amending Act. So it is. There is no change worth speaking about except making away with the rateable valuation as a means test, which is a poverty test. The other House agreed to that. They might have had their doubts, but they agreed. Another change is in the matter of forcing an applicant to accept certain out-offices, whether he wants them or not, and go into a certain line of agricultural production, whether he likes it or not, and whether his holding is suitable or not. The next change is in the amount of money available. We are asking £150,000 increase from £750,000 to £900,000 which, with the carry over, gives a spending capacity of £240,000. That will not complete the job that is to be done with regard to housing in the Gaeltacht, but the time when the 1,000 or so houses which we expect will be built under this Bill are completed will be time enough to ask for a fresh grant of money from Parliament.

Can the Minister state whether there is a maximum floor space limit and what it is and whether it will be continued under the present Bill? If a limit is not defined, will he see that a reasonably good one is fixed and not cramp people into small houses?

Plans and specifications will be drafted in the housing section of the Gaeltacht Services Department and will be adhered to rigidly. The regulations that existed under the previous Acts will be overhauled. Perhaps we may find them adequate to meet the situation and perhaps not. However, no new regulations have yet or will be made until the Bill becomes law. It would be like putting the cart before the horse. These regulations will be open to criticism by the members of this House and by the members of the other House. In that regard, I may say that I should like to receive constructive suggestions from any member of either House. These suggestions will be very carefully examined. Two heads are wiser than one and any suggestions we receive will be given every consideration.

I am interested in a particular house. I cannot say definitely whether it is or is not in the Gaeltacht area, but it is in County Galway. There is difficulty in regard to the question of floor space and I have written to the Department about it. I understand that the giving of a grant has been held up for almost 12 months just because the question of floor space does not completely conform to the regulations. Which Department made the regulations, the Department of Lands or the Department of Local Government, I am not too sure. My information is that there were out-offices and that these out-offices, with the house, exceeded the limit as far as the building space was concerned. The people have even offered to take down the out-offices in question. I should like the Minister to assure me that, if I make representations to him and furnish the particulars, he will examine the matter.

I am afraid the Senator has got mixed up.


I think the best thing to do would be to send me the particulars, even if the case does not apply to Gaeltacht housing. I think it applies to Local Government housing. However, I shall have the particulars looked into no matter what Department may be involved.

How much of the loans will be paid? Will it be possible for the Minister to induce the Minister for Finance to allow the amount to be added to the £240,000 which he now has at his disposal for spending? I refer to the amount of the loans that were already repaid in connection with the original sum granted.

I do not quite understand the Senator's point.

I gather that under this Bill, a sum of £240,000 is to be at the disposal of the Minister. In addition to that sum should there not be the refunds of the loans that were paid back in connection with the sums originally expended?

Surely the £240,000 is not a limit? That sum is available now. When it is spent more money will, if necessary, be made available.

I think Senator Mrs. Concannon is referring to the repayment of loans made under the previous Acts. I am afraid that they are loans and they are, therefore, returned to the Exchequer. Let me assure the House, however, that what has become or what may become in the future of that money will not in any way interfere with the working of this Act. We have a sum of £240,000 made available under this Act—£150,000 of a new grant and £90,000 of a carry-over. When that is gone we can come to Parliament again for a further sum. I cannot envisage a time when Parliament would refuse a grant for this purpose.

I take it that the Minister tells us he does not envisage any trouble in meeting the requirements of the Gaeltacht area under this Act so far as finance, or the lack of it, is concerned?

No, because for the present and for a good while to come we have £240,000 available under this Act. That will give us all the spending capacity we require. When it is used up it will be found that whoever succeeds me will, if he asks for a new grant, get it.

I should like to say one or two words in regard to the Minister's opening statement. It should be accepted in both Houses and by every Minister who comes here that any public representative or Senator or Deputy who speaks on a particular motion or Bill and puts forward suggestions does so because it is his duty to the people who elected him. The Minister suggested that because I drew the attention of this House to what I would describe as a very loose method of dealing with a particular subject, I did so because of former experience. It is true that I did so because of former experience. It is also true that the statements I made here to-day were made because of former experience and knowledge which I gained in the administration of the 1929 Act. It is because I do not want to see a reoccurence of what took place at that particular time—where applicants who were not entitled to grant under the particular section relating to Irish speakers of the Act then in force were given grants—that I spoke. I would not have said this if the Minister had not just begged the question.

I would ask the Minister to tell us when he proposes to let the House and the country have the regulations. Last year, in early January, there was a Local Government Housing Act, but it was May, I think, before the regulations were placed on the Table of this House or made known to the country. If such a considerable time is going to be allowed to elapse between the making of the regulations governing the administration of this Act as occurred in the case of the Local Government Housing Act the whole purpose of this Act will be nullified for another 12 months. I would appeal to the Minister to set about the drafting of the regulations as quickly as possible after the passing of this Bill.

Finally, it should not be taken that because any Senator on any side of the House offers a suggestion or makes a criticism of this or any other Bill that he does not welcome it and wish the Minister every success in his effort to accomplish what the Bill sets out to do. In the administration of this Bill the Minister will have our wholehearted support. However, I think it would be well if the Minister and some of his colleagues adopted a different approach to the people who put forward their views in this House.

All I know about these Gaeltacht Acts is that I had acquaintance with one particular area and the building of houses there. The plans for that area and the distribution of houses were made by the local Fianna Fáil "big bug," if that is the right word, and the letters were all written to me. Whether that was unfair or not I do not know but the people who got the houses were satisfied and I did not know what their politics were.

First, Second and Third Schedules, and Title, agreed to.

Bill reported without recommendation and received for final consideration.
Question—"That the Bill be returned to the Dáil."

I should like, as I had not an opportunity before this, to say that I support this Bill. I have a friend who has been residing for quite a number of years in the Six-County area. He is one of the somewhat rare type of person whose religious views are not those of the majority but who is an Irish speaker. He generally spends his holidays most years, where possible, in some of the Irish-speaking districts.

He nearly always writes to me when he goes back and he says the same thing: "I will believe in the sincerity of the Irish people in trying to revive the language when they really start to do something for the Irish-speaking districts." This, I think, is a move by this Government in this direction, a small move, and that is my principal reason for supporting it. I believe that no amount of talk, no amount of compulsion and no amount of political speeches will have the same effect in leading ultimately to the revival of the language as a proper, sympathetic and sensible care for those who still speak the language and use it in their own homes.

Question put and agreed to.