Land Bill, 1949—Committee (Resumed).

Debate resumed on amendment No. 16:—
SECTION 26.
On page 14, at the end of sub-section (1), to add a new sub-section as follows:—
(2) Where the Land Commission require the land for the provision of new holdings for migrants, such land shall be purchased as a unit, as a going concern and shall not be sub-divided. — (Senator Hawkins.)

When progress was reported last night I was making the case to the Minister that where the Land Commission proposes to purchase a holding of land, that holding should not be sub-divided when it is being made available to an allottee. The Minister, in the Dáil and in this House on Second Reading, did not I think make very clear the procedure to be adopted in the case of purchase of a holding of this nature. The suggestion at one time was that it would be handed over as a unit. Another suggestion was made afterwards that it might be sub-divided into a number of allotments. In this amendment, I propose to make it obligatory on the Land Commission where they do purchase a holding of this nature, not-to sub-divide it.

I explained last night that in the case of a holding of the type which the Deputy has in mind, it would be undesirable to sub-divide it and that there is no likelihood of sub-division occurring but, if we were to adopt this amendment, it would cover all purchases which we might make and it would deprive the Land Commission of one of the greatest benefits that purchase in the open market will confer on them. It would cause hardship in regard to the type of holding which is still generally but erroneously described as a derelict farm, and it would also cause hardship in certain districts where land is held on the rundale system, and in which it might be necessary, in order to secure a new rearrangement plan, to divide a holding which had been taken over into a number of allotments. Except in the case of non-residential farms which might be divided into comfortable holdings for migrants, and in the case of certain holdings in rundale areas where rearrangement has to be carried out, it is not intended to sub-divide holdings. Large non-residential holdings would certainly need to be sub-divided and the amendment would nullify the effect of the whole section if I were to accept it.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.
Government amendment No. 17:—
In sub-section (3), page 14, to delete from "Any" in line 16 to the end of the sub-section and substitute "For the purposes of this sub-section, where any purchase annuity, annual sum or other payment is payable under the Land Purchase Acts in respect of the land and the date on which the Land Commission obtain possession of the land is not a gale day, such purchase annuity, annual sum or other payment shall be apportioned up to that date and shall be deemed to have accrued from day to day".

This is merely a drafting amendment which I recommend to the House.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 18 ruled out of order.
Question—"That Section 26 as amended stand part of the Bill"— put and agreed to.
Section 27 agreed to.
SECTION 28.

I move amendment No. 19:—

On page 17, line 30, to delete all the words after the word "Commission" where it secondly occurs to the end of the section and to add the words: ", in respect of his displacement from employment, shall, if satisfied that his agricultural experience, length of service on the land and his general suitability as an allottee would render him suitable for a holding, provide him with such holding; if the Land Commission is not satisfied, they shall pay to him such gratuity as they consider reasonable."

I move this amendment in order to clarify the position in connection with the compensation which it is proposed to make to former employees where an estate is taken over, in accordance with the terms of the Bill. It is proposed in future where, in the opinion of the Land Commission, such persons would not be suitable as allottees of land, that compensation in lieu of land should be paid to them. I think the terms of the Bill leave too much discretion to the Land Commission as to whether or not compensation should be paid. The Minister on Second Reading also referred to this section and pointed out that in the past many persons to whom land had been allotted were not found suitable. He drew the attention of the House to the fact that some short time ago a special Bill was introduced to enable the Land Commission to reacquire some holdings already allotted under the various Land Acts. I do not think it fair to suggest that the persons from whom such holdings were reacquired, were all former employees on the estate. We recollect quite well that under the 1923 Land Act a fair proportion of land was allotted to landless men, and other than former employees on a particular estate. In some cases the allotment was made for services rendered to the country on former occasions. Many of the persons who got land in that way originally, of course, came from the land, but for a considerable period of their lives were removed from the land. When they came into possession of these holdings they were not, probably, in a position to make proper use of them and, therefore, quite a number of holdings were and are yet to be taken up by the Land Commission from such persons.

Now we come to consider the case of large estates giving employment to a number of persons, particularly, those engaged on the estate in connection with agriculture, where the Land Commission inspector has to make a choice, and a selection as to the number of persons on that estate that, in his opinion, would be fit and proper persons to make good use of holdings of land, if they were allotted land. He has, on the other hand, to take into consideration, seeing that the Minister has made it very definite on the Second Reading, that the main function of the Land Commission in future will be to relieve congestion. If we take that, as a guide given to the Land Commission, then I fail to see where any provision can be made for any employee on an estate to get a holding at all, seeing that the main function of the Land Commission in the future will be to relieve congestion, and to enlarge uneconomic holdings. The Land Commission in the future, as in the past, are not going to be infallible. It is very hard for any officer of any Department, on a very short examination, and on a short acquaintance with a person, as will be the case, in regard to employees on a number of these estates, to decide between the number of persons as to which of them would make the best farmer, and it is quite possible, that the Land Commission will make mistakes in choosing some few persons, who will not put this land to the very best use. That, however, will not become apparent for quite a number of years, probably two or three years, and I suggest in the amendment, making provision for such a case, that where, in the opinion of the Land Commission, an employee would be entitled to a holding of land, and he is made an allotment, but it is found after two or three years that he is not making, from all appearances, the proper use of the land, that the Land Commission should take up that holding and make him a gratuity, which they would have made, had he been given compensation, rather than land, at the first stage. I would also like the Minister to accept this amendment in order that the decision of the Land Commission on the amount payable in compensation or the gratuity to each employee should be determined before there is any land divided or before any of the employees is given a holding of land, in order to provide for the case I have drawn attention to, where it may be necessary to resume a holding again from such employee. I would like to have from the Minister, some example of how the compensation is going to be arrived at.

Quite a number of persons employed on large estates are there probably for generations. Their parents before them were employed on the particular estate. They have given long service, and would be retained in the service of the owner of that holding had not the Land Commission come along and taken up the land. Then you would have to take into consideration the adaptability of the persons to other employment. You would have to take into consideration the circumstances of each person. We should get, I think, from the Minister some information as to how the Land Commission is going to arrive at the compensation. In particular, I think, it should not be left to the discretion of the particular official who is charged with the drawing up of the scheme to decide whether or not a person should or should not get compensation.

That is the commissioners' discretion, not the officials.

That is correct. It is the Land Commission and it is left to the discretion of the Land Commission.

You could still have injustice. You could have suggestions being made, anyhow, of injustice being done, where A is given compensation, and B is not given compensation, and no good or sufficient reason advanced as to why one person has been treated in one way, and the other has been treated most harshly. I recommend, therefore, to the Minister the acceptance of this amendment, because it will remove the possibility of injustice being done and it will give to the employees beforehand a knowledge of what really is going to be done where an estate is taken over.

I want to remind the House that amendments Nos. 19 and 20 are consequential. They can be debated together.

I was about to suggest that the two amendments be taken together because the same discussion would cover both. Senator Hawkins is to be complimented on putting forwards these two amendments, and I hope that the Minister will accept them or that the House will pass them. I think this is a matter, which has been the policy of the Land Commission for a number of years, to provide for men who were in constant employment on estates which were being divided but, as Senator Hawkins has pointed out, there is always the chance that the Land Commission may turn a man down. While Senator Hawkins was incorrect when he said that a Land Commission inspector might turn a man down, I think the Minister will agree, that the Land Commission would be practically altogether guided by what the Land Commission inspector would report.

Not always.

I do not say always. I will say largely, and I will say rightly so, because of any Land Commission inspectors I have known, practically all are responsible men, and if a Land Commission inspector is operating in a rural area he gets to know, so to speak, what the people have for their breakfast. He is, generally, a pretty good judge. I do not think there is anything wrong in suggesting that this thing should be put in black and white, and that it should be made a matter of principle. We have spoken on other Bills on this very same question and, to my mind, the question which arises here is not so much a question of land at all, it is a matter of principle, and the principle is that any man who loses his employment as a result of State action should be compensated. I think that is a very important principle and a principle we should stand for in this House or in the other House. In that way, I think, it is a good thing that it should be put in the Bill, and that the Land Commission should, there and then, have a direction that certain things were to be done. If it is in the Bill there will be no further question about it, and some provision will be made for men. The men will either get holdings of land or else they will get compensation. It would be a disastrous thing if it were put in the Bill that every ex-employee on an estate were to be given holdings of land.

I have known myself, where because of general policy, employees on an estate have been given holdings of land who were not, in fact, suitable. I am not going to say that it was the general practice or that it happened on a good many occasions but it has happened. For instance, take one of those big estates where a butler would be disemployed because the estate was taken over. That man may possibly be a good proposition as a farmer but in nine cases out of ten he would not. It would be a much more economic proposition for the State to compensate him by giving him a lump sum, big or small as the case might be, than to give him a holding of land only to find him an unsatisfactory tenant.

There is no question but that something on the lines suggested in Senator Hawkins' two amendments—and I say "two" amendments—should be in serted in the Bill. If that is done it will eliminate any possibility of a man being overlooked or turned down by the Land Commission or a Land Commission inspector who might possibly be influenced by lack of knowledge or something else. This really does nothing except, if you like, transferring responsibility to the Department of Lands from some other Department.

In my judgment if a man happens to be working on an estate for a number of years in any capacity he becomes more or less part and parcel of that job and of that estate and if he is disemployed he is not in many cases a fit applicant for employment in some other capacity. It is all very well to ask why he should not go as an agricultural labourer somewhere else but such jobs are not available every day and if such a man is not provided for under some scheme such as is comprised in the amendments suggested by Senator Hawkins he will eventually and automatically become a charge on the State. It is a matter of ordinary common justice and we should stand over the principle that any man who loses his employment through State interference should be compensated. Give him a holding of land if he is suitable but if he is not suitable by all means do not give him a holding but give him a lump sum in proportion to his service on the estate or in proportion to his requirements. A butler, for example, could be set up in business with a very small sum; he could open a shop in the local town.

It is no harm to put this in the Bill rather than leave things as they were left in the past. Although I am ready to admit that the policy in the past has been to cater for these men, I would appeal to the Minister to go one step further and lay down in black and white that in future a man who is disemployed must be given either a holding of land or compensation. I have great pleasure in supporting the amendments.

If this is accepted I think it will upset the whole policy of the Land Commission. Land is supposed to be acquired for the relief of congestion. That is the principal aim. If the Land Commission acquire 400 acres for the relief of congestion and if ten men are employed on that estate, each entitled to a holding as much as the other, if Senator Quirke's argument is to be accepted you will only be dividing those 400 acres among those ten men. That is what it literally means.

That is not what I said. If ten men are employed on an estate of 400 acres I respectfully suggest that the Land Commission should not interfere with them.

The whole argument put forward is that land should not be acquired and that it would be better to leave it to the owner than to divide it among the ten employees who would not be able to manage it as well as the man who owns it at present. If you must give compensation or ten acres where will you draw the line? If ten men are working on the 400 acres each employee is as entitled to get his division of land as another. You are only creating mischief among neighbours, among the employees on that estate, if you select a few and cut the others out.

Would the Senator's policy be to turn all the ten men out on the road in case he might make a mistake by giving land to any one of them?

I think this is an extremely important section. Many people will be in agreement with the principles set out by Senators Hawkins and Quirke. I have had some experience of these men who were employed on an estate and I think it is extremely important that adequate provision of some sort should be made for them. I am not arguing for or against the actual wording of the amendment; I would like to hear the Minister's views on the wording but, with regard to the general principle, I think it is only just that a man who has been employed on an estate for a number of years should receive adequate compensation. If it is in the form of a gratuity it should be an adequate amount and not an amount that would be almost negligible. I do not suggest that we should mention a particular figure but it would be interesting to know what the Minister had in mind as a maximum and a minimum.

I agree that the amount to be paid as gratuity should vary according to a number of circumstances, including, as Senator Quirke said, the number of years the person was employed, and many other factors. Men have come to me and said: "What use is a cash lump sum to us if we cannot get regular employment?" A middle-aged able-bodied man said to me recently: "What I want is regular employment; a lump sum, even if it is fairly substantial, would not last very long if I had to live on the dole."

In some cases, when an estate of that nature is acquired, it might be rather difficult for these men to find suitable employment. There might be no other agricultural work in that district, and it might happen that the local authority at that time would not be willing to employ any more men in that district. Therefore, I feel that an effort should be made to help those men to find suitable employment if they are capable of working. I do not suggest that a guarantee of that nature could reasonably be put into the Bill, but every effort should be made to help them. That applies to a person in any walk of life who loses his employment as a result of Government action. He should get alternative employment with at least as good conditions as he had before, but if that is not possible, if he is a man who is not capable of taking up other employment, he should certainly get adequate cash compensation.

My experience has been that not all but most of these men would prefer to get a holding of land, but I quite agree that in some cases it might not be in their interests to give it to them. A Land Commission inspector might know better than the man himself what would be for his good eventually. The man himself might think that he should get a holding of land but the Land Commission inspector having made adequate inquiries might feel that it would not be in his interests. In most cases, however, the men would be capable of working a holding of land if they had been engaged in agricultural work all their lives.

One handicap from which those men suffer — and I think this is extremely important — is that often when they get a holding of land they have not sufficient capital, through no fault of their own, to purchase machinery or live stock. It is difficult for any man to make good use of a farm if he has not sufficient machinery and live stock and capital for other purposes. If a man is likely to be a good farmer, in addition to giving him a holding of land, he should be advanced, either from the Agricultural Credit Corporation or otherwise, a sufficient sum to enable him to stock that holding and make good use of it. That is extremely important. It would be very unfair to blame a man for not being a good farmer if he has not the necessary tools and equipment. It has been said that men have not made good use of the holdings they got. I quite agree, but it is also the case that many of them have made good use of the land, even although they may have been landless men, or may never have been employed by a farmer. There are men in some districts in County Galway, and in other parts of Ireland, who have lived by land all their lives, simply by taking grazing and conacre. I know men who, year after year, for a number of years, have occupied and made good use of from 20 to 30 acres on the grazing and conacre system, without ever having owned a perch of land. Many of them have horses, machinery and live stock. I know of some cases where land is being acquired, with the result that these men will cease to be able to get conacre and will find it difficult to get even grazing land. People of this type should be considered for new holdings.

I agree with the Minister that the main object of the Land Commission should be to relieve congestion, but a very important secondary object should be to provide for persons of that kind, who have lived on the land and have worked the land for a number of years, and also for persons who have been employed on the land and who would be able to make good use of land.

All these matters should be carefully considered but, as to the exact wording of this amendment, I would like to hear the views of the Minister before we make a decision.

With what Senator Burke has said, I heartily agree. The Minister should make statutory provision in this Bill to give a cash payment to employees of estates if he has definitely made up his mind not to give them land. It would be only justice and there should be no doubt about it. Therefore, I support the amendment tabled by Senator Hawkins. I do not think it should be left to the Land Commission or any other body to say whether they should give it or not. It should be finally determined in this House that they are entitled to compensation for loss of work or office. It would be only justice that this House should authorise the Minister to pay them a gratuity of some particular amount. I do hope the Minister will accept this amendment and that he will deal generously and decently with those people.

I cannot understand why people who have been working on estates all their lives should not be entitled to get land. It may be argued that people who got farms because they were employed on estates for a number of years did not make the success that they should have made of the land. That may be so in certain cases but, if an examination were made as to the exact position, I do not believe that it could be established that there were many failures. Undoubtedly, there have been some failures but I believe the vast majority of those men who did get land, whether they were landless men or men who were working on those estates, considering all the difficulties, made a very good effort.

Possibly, there is no amount of compensation that the Minister might give them by way of cash that would make up for the failure of the Land Commission to give them a farm of land. Those people should be treated as generously as the migrants who were taken from the West, North, and South of Ireland during the Fianna Fáil régime. As the House knows, they got implements, cattle, seeds and various things to tide them over the difficult period, and rightly so. There is no reason why employees on estates should not get the same treatment.

I would appeal to the Minister to consider these estate employees. What will become of them, even if they are given a cash allowance? They will be thrown on the local authority to provide work for them. What will happen in Meath, for instance, where there are many people working on estates and where I think the Land Commission intend to acquire many estates? It will be up to the local authority to provide them with work. They will not be able to do it because they have permanent staff. The alternative is emigration to England or elsewhere. These disemployed people will not get work from the people who will get the land, the migrants who will be brought to Meath or elsewhere. They will have their own family labour to work the 25 to 40 acres. I can see that the local authorities will be faced with a very difficult problem. Therefore. I appeal to the Minister to give land to the employees on estates that are being divided because no amount of cash would compensate them.

I would earnestly appeal to the Minister to accept the amendment. I ask him, when he is dividing estates, to consider not only the employees on estates but also the landless men in the counties where the estates are being taken over. It is a retrograde step for the Minister to decide that landless men should not get land in their native county.

In a way, there is not very much difference between what Senator Hawkins seeks in his amendment and what the Minister proposes to do in the Bill. It is important to realise that this is the first time in land legislation that a proposal like this has been introduced. The Minister ought to be congratulated by everybody for the attitude he has adopted in the matter. I am not differing in essentials with what has been said by the Opposition Senators about this but I am afraid I can hardly follow Senator Fitzsimons' line of argument in regard to the general policy that is to be pursued in the distribution of land. The proposal made by Senator Hawkins is that in regard to people who have worked on an estate, if the estate is being taken over the Land Commission, if satisfied, may do so-and-so.

No. "Shall."

If they are satisfied, they shall do so-and-so. First, they have to be satisfied. One of the proposals is that they should get portion of land on the estate. I can appreciate the point of view of Senator Fitzsimons or anyone else from Meath, Kildare or elsewhere, but I am very clear on this, that we have to make up our minds, before we put any more people on land, that we should strive to give enough land to the people who already have some land, so that they will be able to make a decent living on it. That is the first thing we ought to do. There is nothing so unsatisfactory, from the point of view of the country, from the point of view of the family, or of the future of our race, as divided allegiance such as there is when a man is half farmer, half fisherman — neither one thing nor the other. I think that is all unsound. I feel that the Minister's approach must be from the point of view of the individual — his usefulness as the head of the family or the prospective head of a family, good citizenship and the fact that such a man is better as a farmer, a worker on the roads or a fisherman — to let him have something to do he can concentrate on instead of having a bit of several things. We are making too many people bits and scraps of everything. We know that is occurring in many counties.

You find a man with a horse who works on the roads. Look at his farm. More than likely it is about the worst farm in the county, with broken fences, ragged and hungry-looking cattle, and rushes growing where there should be clover if the man cultivated it. That is due to the fact that the man who owns the small farm gets ready money on the roads. He is tired after he spends himself on the roads and must neglect his land. That is a very undesirable thing and the sooner we alter our policy in that regard the better. What the Minister is trying to do is to give enough land to enable a man to concentrate on it and to raise his family in reasonable comfort. We can get the attitude of the Connacht man and, so far as my county is concerned, many of these uneconomic holders cannot be blamed for having eyes on portions of County Meath over the border, and I am sure Senator Fitzsimons will not mind that, seeing that he is a Cavan man, like myself. The Minister's aim is to relieve congestion and there is also the problem of the men who have been working on the farm that has been acquired.

They should be considered on merit. Do not debar them.

They will not be any more suitable allottees than the men on five acres of land in my own county. A man might be only a year working for the farmer whose land is acquired and it is now contemplated to make a new approach in regard to the men working on the land, but I submit, a Chathaoirligh, that we have to make up our minds about one thing or the other. If we are going to make more holdings economic we have not enough land to do it and to relieve the congests at the same time.

Let the land go to the people who are worthy.

Senator Quirke has said that the Land Commission inspectors are so well up that they know almost what every farmer or applicant in an area had for his breakfast. That is not possible.

I think that, generally speaking, they are very wise men.

But is it not very difficult on an estate where ten or 15 men are working for an inspector to pick out of those working the good, middling, or bad, and the type that no intelligent farmer will have about his place? There is an estate near me that I have in mind. Who is going to advise the Land Commission men? They will come to me or to Senator Fitzsimons asking us to advise the Land Commission inspector, and I do not want to advise an inspector living 30 or 40 miles away. Where is he to get advice? Has the owner of the land that is being acquired the picking and choosing? If he has we know what he would do— certainly he would pick and choose. The division of land among people who are already working on the estate seems, in the first place, to be inconsistent with the general policy of the Minister and it is a proposal that will be very difficult to implement. If you are going to carry on that policy it would make it difficult for uneconomic holders to become economic.

There is provision for the payment of gratuities to displaced workmen on an acquired farm. I have never met a section like it in any other Bill. The Bill provides that the Land Commission may give a gratuity to a displaced worker as they think reasonable in respect of his displacement from employment. They may do it.

They were sure of getting land heretofore?

No, but I am not going into that with Senator Fitzsimons. In some cases it did not work out satisfactorily. I hope the Minister and the Land Commissioners will in their discretion act in a reasonable, almost a generous way with these people. But in the first place suppose you have a man not a year working on an estate. Any man working on an estate can be dropped at a week's notice, he has no rights there. He can go over to some other farm. I ask Senators how many farm workers are unemployed in County Meath, just as in my county there are jobs available for anyone willing to work on land? I want to know where is the man able and willing to work on land looking for a job. If a man is worth having at all there is no difficulty about finding employment provided he is willing to work. If you insist on the amendment in this form you are creating rights that do not exist up to the present, and the ordinary employer will have to ask himself: "Is not this a new principle." Goodness knows, we have gone far enough in certain respects about convincing people that they have rights to do what they like in certain services in the country and to boss the people——

A great free country.

If the farmers are put in the position that if their farms are to be taken off them the man working there has rights to be apportioned in a certain relationship to the owner, it is absolutely a new position as far as I see it. I do not think that, from the point of view of common sense, it is a principle which we should lightly embody as compulsory in legislation. The Minister has brought in this proposal for the first time. A number of people will be displaced and these people will, I take it, be considered for compensation in relation to their services and so on, but to put an obligation on the State to pay compensation to everybody whatever their length of service on a holding may have been and whatever the value of the service they gave as servants, from the point of view of industry and capacity, would, I think, be unwise.

I do not know exactly what the Minister's attitude on this is. I think he is giving a new status to people who are going to be dispossessed or put out of their employment on estates. He is making a provision that has never been made before, and, having gone so far, he is doing what is reasonably fair All this is going to impose a burden on somebody, a burden which has to be carried between the State and the allottees of the future. I think we can go too far with it. We can create a situation in which the acquisition of land is going to be so expensive that the Land Commission and the State will have to make up their minds whether, at the cost, this work of acquiring land should be gone on with or not. As I said yesterday, if it is going to cost the State too much to acquire a farm, Senators on the other side will be complaining that the burden on the taxpayer is already too great and that no further burden should be imposed on them. We cannot have it both ways and we ought to visualise the consequences of a broad implementation of the Minister's policy as envisaged in these amendments. I doubt the wisdom of such a proposal as has been put before us in these amendments.

It might be advisable if the Minister explained the situation, as Senators are evidently groping in the dark.

The section is clear enough. It is merely permissive.

This is the first time this principle has been introduced in this or, I believe, in any country. It means that the Land Commission will, at their discretion, be in a position to compensate a man for loss of his employment on an estate which is taken over. I introduced the principle and I want to tell Senator Hawkins, who put down these amendments, that I was quite aware of the meaning of the word "shall" in the English language. If he looks at the section, he will find that it reads:

"Where a person has, whether before or after the passing of this Act, been displaced from employment on land by reason of the acquisition, resumption, purchase or allotment of that land...."

The four things are brought in, so that in any case where the Land Commission takes over land or disposes of it after taking it over, if a person loses his employment, the Land Commission will have authority for the first time to pay a cash gratuity to such person. The section continues:

"...by the Land Commission, the Land Commission may, if in their discretion they so think proper, pay to him such gratuity as they consider reasonable in respect of his displacement from employment."

I deliberately left it wide open for the Land Commission and I did so after very careful consideration and having thrashed it out from every possible angle with the officials. If we embody amendment No. 19 in the statute, it means, in the first place, that the Land Commission shall, if satisfied with his agricultural experience and so on, give a man a holding or, in the second place, give him a gratuity. Is it suggested that where a landowner from whom the Land Commission takes land takes it into his head to employ 30 or 40 neighbours in order to qualify them for a gratuity, employing them for a week——

Length of service?

Length of service does not enter into it, because, according to the wording of the amendment, the Land Commission "shall pay to him such gratuity." Any legal man will clear the minds of Senators on that point. It means that the Land Commission will have to pay him and the net result of the amendment would be that all a person from whom the Land Commission proposed to acquire land would have to do is to gather 30 or 50 neighbours on to his land for a week before the Land Commission take possession, and I defy the Land Commission to take that land.

That is nonsense.

I am not finding fault because I am not a legal man and I presume Senator Hawkins is not, but that is the effect of the amendment, as worded. It is only right that I should give the House the benefit of what I know. I have no desire to cloak anything and that is the effect of the wording. When I embodied this principle in the Bill, I did so because in some cases where the Land Commission took over the land very queer things happened for which the Land Commission could not be blamed. Take the case of a farm which was taken over and on which there were three permanent employees. One of these was, perhaps, a herd, or his father before him may have been a herd on the estate and his family and the landowner's family might have been as intimate as relatives. We know that loyalty exists very often and that a good employee thinks much more about his employer's land and property in some cases than the employer himself. There is then the permanent ploughman or handy man, the man who does milking and so on. He is part and parcel of the estate and then you have the man employed for two or three years or the young local lad employed for six months or 12 months. Where is the Land Commission to draw the line in that case?

Heretofore, under the 1931 Act, they were empowered, if they thought fit, to give a holding of land to any employee they thought was entitled to it, but the trouble in that respect was that most of the employees were not suited to ownership of land. In saying that, I do not wish to be taken as casting any reflection whatever on these men. In most cases, they were brought up in the habit of receiving a weekly wage, or a wage plus certain other little perquisites on the farm which got them into a style of living within which they could balance their budgets and live comfortably, could rear decent families and, in some cases, do very well for them. We come along now, take the land from the owner and deprive such a man of his employment. We do worse, because we take away from him the peculiar method by which he made his living. We say: "Here is a holding for you. Are we not very good?" He is then asked after 50 or so years' work to change his whole method of making his livelihood. It would be just as fair to go down into the city here and ask a man who has spent his life repairing clocks and watches in a jeweller's shop to go down to Connemara and to start sheep farming at 60 years of age and expect him to make a success of it.

It is to meet that type of case that I have introduced this principle and I think I have gone a long way in the direction of preventing certain little injustices which were happening. I am leaving it open to the Land Commission. If the Land Commission think that a particular employee will make his living on the holding given to him, they can give it to him, but holdings were given to employees by the Land Commission in order to save them from being thrown on the roadside in their later days, in the full knowledge that these men could not be expected to make a living on a holding of land. It is for that reason that I am asking Senator Hawkins to withdraw these amendments. I know that he and other Senators want to be as lenient, fair and just as possible to the employees who are thrown out of employment. If the amendments are withdrawn, the commissioners, as soon as the Bill becomes law, will have a direction to treat these displaced employees as leniently and as justly as possible. This is, I think, a very far-reaching and sweeping provision. I want to say that when I presented this proposal to the Government I did not know what sort of reception it would meet from the Government or what reception it would meet in the Dáil. Nevertheless I knew that something should be done to replace the old system. That is why I propose to leave the matter absolutely wide open to the discretion of the Land Commission.

In some cases we might have a young man who had been working on an estate for five or six years who would make an excellent farmer. On the other hand, you might have a man who had spent his life as a workman on the farm and he might find it impossible to make a job of farming if he were given a holding of land. It might be better in that case to give him a decent gratuity to compensate him for his displacement from employment. The holding of land would not be wasted in that event.

I think Senators will agree, on reconsideration, that it is better to leave the matter wide open to the Land Commission. Senators, Deputies and other public representatives have had an opportunity from time to time of knowing the way in which the Land Commission treats displaced employees on farms that have been taken over. If the Land Commission treats displaced employees unfairly, there is always the machinery of Question Time in the Dáil to bring home to the Minister that something is happening in his Department which should not happen and if you leave the matter open, the Minister can give a direction inside a couple of hours to the Land Commission and say to them: "Change what you have been doing and do it this way in future." I think I can recommend the section to the House with perfect safety. I would therefore ask Senator Hawkins to withdraw both of the amendments. It would be much better for all concerned, the employees and the Land Commission, and it would be much better for the congests for whose relief we desire to acquire land in many counties.

To some extent, I think I am responsible for the tabling of these amendments though my name is not to them because, on Second Reading, I think it was I who drew attention to the fact that it was left open to the Land Commission to do a certain thing or not to do it. I thought it would be much better had it been made more or less mandatory on them to do it. I realise that in this case we are not hammering at a bolted door. For the first time in any such legislation that has come before either House, the Minister has left the door fairly open. We admit that and a great deal of credit is due to the Minister for the fact that he has established a precedent which I hope will be followed and developed but, even with this partially open door there is still some uncertainty. I realise that the Minister has a big heart but I am not prepared to agree that the Land Commission or the officials of the Land Commission will be as big-hearted as he is and will always be so. I think a case has been made against the amendments though I favour them. I think a certain case has been made that they may be too sweeping, too difficult to implement but I do not want to see some of the things continued that have been in operation up to now. I do not want to see some of the cynical things that have been talked about here in this debate become the policy of this country.

If we are going to cure congestion I do not think we should set out to cure it by causing unemployment. In that case, the cure would be worse than the disease. I think that nobody would suggest, hint or even tolerate that for the sake of curing congestion men should be thrown on the road without compensation or alternative employment of any sort, men who would not treat a beast in the same way. I do not think that is an attitude that should be adopted. It is not the Minister's attitude and it would not be the attitude of most right-thinking people.

I should like to see some of the people who have worked other people's farms become farmers themselves. I am sorry that Senator Counihan is going out because he is anxious to see that the closed shop should be ended in other respects. If a man must be born with a four-pronged fork in his hand before he is regarded as qualified to get a farm on another man's land, you have a very bad type of closed shop created. The fact that a man has worked a farm for somebody else may not qualify him always and inevitably to be a good farmer, but the fact that he has never owned land before, even a small quantity of land, should not debar him from getting land now. The Minister has stated that land is to be given to such men but where it is found that-the land might not be used by such men in a proper way, because they might not have the capital or the experience, they should get compensation. I do not suggest that the Minister made a far-fetched case when he said that some farmers from whom land was being taken might bring in their neighbours' children from the surrounding countryside and employ them for a week so that the Land Commission would become bankrupt, but I think there is not the slightest danger——

What I wanted to point out was that landowners would avail of such a subterfuge in order to block the Land Commission from taking their land.

I hardly think so because the amendments, which the Minister suggests are too sweeping to be accepted, even amendment No. 19 says "if satisfied of his agricultural experience and length of service on the farm". There are certain things laid down. I cannot force the Minister even to do what I suggested on Second Reading, to make it mandatory on the Land Commission, but I do not like leaving it to the discretion of the civil servants because sometimes their discretion outruns their wisdom.

On the point that a man who has worked land for others may not be always a good farmer himself, some people who have worked their own land are not always good farmers. Even some of the allottees did not turn out to be good farmers. I happen to have by me a quotation from the London Times of the 15th April of last year which says that “in England and Wales 939 farmers and labourers have been placed under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture for not complying with the rules of good husbandry.” So the fact that a man calls himself a farmer, or persuades somebody else to call him a farmer, does not make him a model agriculturist and the fact that a man has never had a farm of his own should not debar him from getting a holding under the Land Commission.

I should like if the Minister would accept the two amendments but, if he cannot accept them, he might find it possible to so modify or improve his own section of the Bill as to ensure that a man will either get compensation or land even, if he does not make the provision so sweeping and mandatory as it is made in the two amendments. I think a good purpose has been served by putting down the amendments because you must remember that if a man has been a considerable time working on a big estate, the fact that he has been kept there so long, is almost a guarantee that he is a good man and that he would be kept there longer, so he is certainly being deprived of his employment.

As has been pointed out before, we have already discussed here the principle of compensating men for loss of employment where the State is responsible for such loss of employment. It is no new principle but it is a new principle as applied to agricultural labourers. For that I think the Minister deserves credit. I wish the Minister himself could make it a little more sure that men who are employed on bigger estates which are taken over will get either reasonable compensation or, alternatively, land.

If you give them land, as you have been giving them land, then, they should have the right to relinquish it after a stated period, and receive some reasonable amount of compensation instead. That will give a man a chance of finding out whether he can or cannot farm land on his own. I think that not many big estates are likely to be taken over, from what I can discover of the Land Commission's policy, in the near future, so that the number of cases in which compensation will have to be paid will be comparatively few.

I am afraid that we are making a good deal of noise about nothing or next to nothing. A lot of things have been said about these amendments which grossly exaggerate their importance. I must say that I cannot agree personally with either the Minister or Senator Baxter that the amendments are of the importance they have suggested. In my view, for practical purposes, they are worthless and will make no appreciable difference in the Bill as introduced and, for that reason, I would not be prepared to vote for an amendment which professed to do something which it did not do. Now the present position, as I understand it, is that when men are disemployed as a result of the breaking up of farmland they get portions of land. That is to be the position, I take it, in the future with the added alternative that the commissioners can, instead of giving land where they consider these men would be unsuitable, give a gratuity. As drafted, the Bill leaves the entire discretion in the hands of the commissioners as to whether a man shall get land or not. The amendment is precisely the same. It leaves the discretion absolutely in the hands of the commissioners as to who will get a gratuity. The Bill leaves it in the hands of the commissioners. The amendments are precisely the same. The amount of the gratuity in the Bill is left to the commissioners, and in the amendment it is also left in their hands. Now what is the use in pretending that this amendment is going to safeguard any agricultural worker to an extent that he is not already safeguarded in the Bill? When we were making provision for compensation for railway men, transport workers, electricity workers and others who might become disemployed we laid down a regular code of conditions, that a person with certain service was not entitled to any compensation, that those with a certain number of years would get lump sums based on the length of their service, and that those with service above that would get a pension, the basis of which was definitely laid down in the Bill. We went further and provided where agreement could not be reached as to whether compensation should be paid or as to the amount of compensation to be paid, that there was an appeal tribunal. Where is there anything like that in these amendments? They leave the Bill precisely as it is.

The Land Commission are, in all cases, absolute arbiters as to whether a person shall or shall not get land, whether he shall or shall not get a gratuity, or whether the gratuity shall be £100 or £1. I daresay that Senator Hawkins when drafting these amendments, perhaps, thought or imagined, that he was making some provision, which the Bill did not make. He has not made any such provision. The mere-putting in of the word "shall" against "may" is absolutely useless, as we know, because you could, even with "shall" be given £1 by way of compensation, and to whom are you going to appeal if you are not satisfied? I do not think, therefore, that it makes any difference in the Bill. Personally, from a pretty long experience of providing for compensation, I place far more faith in the spirit in which a Bill or Act is administered, than in the actual wording of that Act. It has been often said that there is no Act through which a coach and four cannot be-driven by clever people; that is, if they so desire. That, probably, is one of the reasons why we are to have so many Land Acts, because of the skill with which certain provisions, that we thought were water-tight, have been evaded. I think that the Minister has made a decided advance. There is nothing terribly revolutionary about it, but he has made an advance in recognising, for the first time, the right of the agricultural labourer to compensation if he loses his employment, instead of giving him the assumed right of getting a bit of land, which might be of more harm than good. I would be prepared to give this new system a trial, rather than try to pretend I was doing something different by voting for these amendments. I entirely agree with the speeches made in support of the amendments. They were made in the right spirit, and sought to do the right thing, but the amendments in support of which they were made could not possibly do what the movers thought they could do.

When I attempted to stand up to speak, I had certain things in my mind to say, but I do not mind admitting that Senator Séamus O'Farrell said most of the things I had intended to say. The Minister emphasised the fact that he was no lawyer. Neither have I been called to the Bar, but it is quite evident from speeches we have heard here, that several of the speakers have not, in fact, read either the Bill or the amendment. I am not suggesting that the Minister has not read them. It is quite evident that he has, and it is quite evident that he has read the amendments and read them very carefully. Surely, the Minister is not serious when he says that there would be a possibility of somebody drafting in a couple of hundred people. That thing could not happen.

Well, I can assure the Senator that it could happen like that.

It could happen that they could draft them in, but it could not happen that they could get away with it. All that thing is provided for in the amendment. Senator J.T. O'Farrell, unlike the Minister and myself, poses as a man who has been called to the Bar.

If I were I would not be here wasting my time.

Well said!

He proceeds to advise us on what is the effect of these amendments, and starts off to tell us that we are making a lot of noise about nothing. If we were talking about railwaymen we would be talking about something.

The principle is the same.

But because we are only talking about a few clod-hoppers, as Senator O'Farrell would, I am sure, describe them if he were honest——

Do not try to twist my words.

——we are only making a lot of noise.

Auctioneers and agricultural labourers do not blend very well, either.

They blend very well. They have blended for a long time. I will not hear Senator O'Farrell or anybody else say anything about Senator McGee's attitude towards agricultural labourers, if that is what he is driving at. The fact is that provision has been made in the amendment to ensure, in so far as it is possible to do so, by way of legislation, that a man will be provided for either one way or the other. According to Senator J.T. O'Farrell, with emphasis on the J., it is already in the Bill. Well, the Land Commission may do almost anything. There are very few things the Land Commission cannot do, but what we want to do is to ensure, in so far as it is possible, the substitution of the word "shall" for the word "may". Even if we do put in "shall", I say there is still a way out for the Land Commission, but not such an easy way out. If the amendment is accepted, it will definitely be enshrined in the Bill that, in the opinion of this House and the other House, it should be taken for granted that a man must be provided for if he is going to lose his employment as a result of Government action. Either he must get a holding of land or he must get compensation. If he is not a suitable person to get a holding of land provision is made for him. Amendment No. 19 says:

"On page 17, line 30, to delete all the words after the word ‘Commission' where it secondly occurs to the end of the section and to add the words: ‘, in respect of his displacement from employment, shall, if satisfied that his agricultural experience, length of service on the land and his general suitability as an allottee would render him suitable for a holding, provide him with such holding; if the Land Commission is not so satisfied, they shall pay to him such gratuity as they consider reasonable.'"

I think that gives the Land Commission adequate ways out. There is no such thing in the amendment as forcing an unsuitable man on the Land Commission. The Land Commission have power to say: "In our opinion, so-and-so is not a suitable man to be given a holding of land. We believe that it would not be an economic proposition for the State." If they decide that he is not suitable the second part of the amendment provides that "they shall pay to him such gratuity as they consider reasonable".

Is that the Bill?

No, the amendment. The Senator did not go to the bother of reading it, I suppose.

The Bill is the same.

We give the Land Commission as much power as they need. The amendment provides that a man who is satisfactory because of his agricultural experience and length of service on the land, in other words, because he is useful, has to be given a holding. We do not say that a man must get a holding as he may be compensated. The amendment should be considered and I would appeal to the Minister to consider it.

Nobody referred to the second amendment, not even the Minister. The second amendment contains a very useful clause to deal with the man who may be given a holding by mistake. Many people have been given holdings by mistake. The Land Commission at the time he got it thought that so-and-so would be a good farmer but he has proved to be entirely unsuitable. There have been some, the minority I am glad to say. There was no way of dealing with such a man, but the second amendment provides that the Land Commission can resume that holding and provide a gratuity.

Is the Senator serious in proposing that such a clause as that should be embodied in a statute?

Certainly.

And he realises the full implications of it?

Certainly.

Then I know where I am now.

A holding is not vested for a number of years and up to the time it is vested no great injustice is done if it is resumed and the man is given some compensation. An alternative was suggested by Senator Counihan, at whom I am amazed, and agreed to by Senator Baxter. Senator Counihan said that he could see no justification for providing ten employees on an estate with land if that estate is taken over. The Senator could not possibly be serious. His alternative would mean that they would be a charge on the rates—not all of them, but some of them. It would be like taking up a tree in maturity, for it is not easy to shift people. I think it was Senator Baxter who pointed out that men who have worked on an estate all their lives are not easily employed somewhere else. You cannot shift a man in middle age or old age, and if it is possible you must provide for him on the estate, and if not you must provide for him by a gratuity.

Senator Baxter says that no agricultural worker is idle in County Meath at the present time. That may be, but who knows what will happen in 12 months' or two years' time? This Bill will be in operation for a number of years and we cannot just take it for granted that because nobody is idle at the present time the same situation will always exist in this country.

Senator Baxter spoke of people coming up who were half fishermen and half roadmen and trying to make farmers of them. I think Senator Baxter's opinion is that it is a very difficult thing to do and that it has not been a success. I have seen several people whom I am sure Senator Baxter would describe as half fishermen coming up from the West and in my opinion they make good farmers. There is no reason why a half fisherman or a whole fisherman, a half roadman or a whole roadman, a half carpenter or a whole carpenter could not turn out a successful farmer just as university professors have gone back to the land and made good farmers.

That is what the Minister wants to do.

We are all in agreement then and it is a pity that there is a division. The people of this country are land-minded. Even people who have been brought up in the cities or towns are for the most part first generation city people or first generation townspeople. It is a fair gamble that any man with ordinary intelligence and the health a man would require to work on the land, if he is sufficiently industrious, would make a good farmer. That is not going too far in my opinion. To say that we are creating rights is a gross exaggeration just as it is an exaggeration to say that this is the first time that this principle has been adopted. The idea of compensating a man for employment lost as a result of State interference goes a long way back in legislation through the years. School teachers and railwaymen as well as various types of people who became redundant or who because of conscientious reasons could not comply with certain requirements have been compensated through the years. It is only common justice and we are not doing anything revolutionary if we pass these amendments. I would like to see what the vote will be like. Senators have spoken in favour of them and Senator J.T. O'Farrell said that they will do absolutely nothing apart from what is in the Bill. If they will do absolutely nothing, then Senator J.T. O'Farrell should have sufficient humanity to vote for them.

With regard to compensating people who lose their employment Senator Quirke suggests that the alternative in the amendment is better than the Minister's proposal. I think, however, that there is another alternative and I would like to see it in force, that is, that the Land Commission should not interfere with any land on which there is fair employment and I do not suppose that they will. A great deal of heat was introduced into this discussion which was not at all necessary. I do not anticipate that estates will be divided where fair employment is given and I hope it is not the Minister's intention to proceed in that direction.

One other peculiar thing which struck me about the amendments was that although the supporters felt that they cater for everything—if we are to take their speeches into consideration — they have not made any provision for the possibility of women being disemployed. Senator Quirke speaks for a county where women are very largely employed. If it is to be the Minister's policy to take over land on which there is employment it will not be at all impossible that women will be disemployed. If some estates I know were to be taken over, three or four women would be disemployed. Does the mover make provision for women or do women not count in this free country of ours? If Senators are serious in making propositions, they ought to think about what would happen in a certain set of circumstances. If this amendment were accepted, it would lead to all sorts of difficulties. It would lead to the difficulty that the Minister mentioned, that if it is anticipated that a certain estate would be taken over, the owner could put in a good many nominal employees for the purpose of getting compensation. A married man with three or four sons could claim compensation for them. Most of the farmers I know have their sons employed on the land. I know farmers who have five sons who are employed on the land. I do not say that they are working all the time on the land. If the Minister were to accept the proposition put up by Senator Hawkins and the other Senators the farmer would have to get compensation for his sons who were employed on the land, in addition to getting the adequate price that we all hope he will get under this Bill.

I cannot see that the amendment proposes to do anything that the Minister has not done. I can see that it would raise innumerable difficulties for the Minister and the Land Commission. I am as desirous as anybody could be that men who are displaced from their employment should have provision made for them. The best way would be to find alternative employment of the same kind. That is the best way to provide for anybody. If I were to be displaced from my way of living, the best way to provide for me would be to give me alternative similar employment.

Senator Baxter will agree with me that, taking the situation in the agricultural world generally, at the moment, there is no difficulty in finding alternative employment. Nearly everyone who has a farm knows the difficulty of getting men to work. Thanks be to God, there is very little unemployment in the country at the moment. We have arrived at the stage when I might almost definitely say that there are no men unemployed except the unemployable, those who are physically incapable of work or those who do not want to work.

I am not putting that forward as an excuse why men who are displaced should not be compensated. I agree that they ought to get some compensation but I do say that there is not the extreme necessity to compensate them now that there was ten years ago.

There is another aspect of this matter. I know an estate that was divided during the last 15 years. The men who were employed on the land did not want it to be divided. They were in a happier position as employees than as prospective owners. At least three of them decided not to apply for the land as a protest against its being taken over. That may be a far fetched illustration but it did occur. The amendment offers no provision for the person who is displaced from employment on the land that the Minister has not made for him.

I cannot see that the substitution of "shall" for the word "may" will make a great deal of difference. In both Houses of the Oireachtas there has been, in relation to various Acts, at various times, very great discussion about the significance of those two words. Discussion could arise in the Seanad as to the real significance of these words and their possible implications and, when the debate had been carried on for three or four days, the minds of Senators would be greatly perplexed as to which was the more desirable term.

I would appeal to the mover of the amendment to withdraw it. I do not think it serves any purpose whatsoever. The Minister has made all the provision he can make for the possible displacement of agricultural workers and the Minister ought to be congratulated on being the first Minister to put into a Bill words which make it possible to give compensation to these people.

Neither the Minister nor those who, while not opposing the amendment, are not prepared to accept it, made a case. All speakers have accepted the principle and, in regard to provision for former employees on estates, this is no new principle. The Minister has not put anything into this Bill that is not at the present time in operation by the Land Commission. Senators from rural Ireland, and those associated with land division in the past, will agree when I state the guiding principles on which the Land Commission operate at the present time: An estate is taken over. The first charge on that estate is to provide for former employees. They are given, and have been given down the years, first preference. Then come the congests in the particular district, within a specified radius. If there is land available after providing for the employees and the uneconomic holders within a radius of one to three miles, the Land Commission is empowered to take migrants from any distance outside the area.

The Minister has not been quite frank with us. He has not put before us the full picture. My own view as to why the Minister is making this provision in this Bill is that the Land Commission have come to the conclusion—and I believe rightly so—that there is not sufficient land available to solve the problem of congestion and that, in order to make more land available for that particular problem, it has been decided that, with very few exceptions, the land will not be given to former employees but that, in lieu of land, compensation will be paid.

Senator Baxter believes—and it is my own personal view—that it is the best policy to make farmers of the people on the land. In providing compensation, the Minister is taking a step in the right direction. Let us not be confused by the Minister's statement that this is the first time such provision has appeared in a Bill, that up to this the employees on large estates that were taken over were neglected. I think the Parliamentary Secretary will bear me out when I refer to quite a number of large holdings or estates that were taken over in County Galway. In every case the first persons to benefit in the way of getting an allotment were the employees and in almost every case that I personally know they have made very good farmers. It is not true to suggest that, because they were always used to getting a weekly wage, they were not fit or proper persons to get a holding or did not make the best use of it, having got it.

The Minister expressed the view that, if the amendment were accepted, all sorts of most peculiar things would happen. The most peculiar of all was the suggestion that a person whose estate was about to be taken over might go around the country and band together some 50 or 60 persons, and would claim that they were his employees. As a matter of fact, the amendments are a protection against such a happening, whereas if the Minister is making a case on that basis, then there is nothing to prevent the same employer doing this particular type of what you could classify as an attempt to cheat the State, but all of us who have knowledge of the activities of any State Department will agree, I am sure, it would be very difficult for an employee or a man supposed to be an employee to get away with it. The Minister in his reply did not deal at all with amendment No. 20, and he suggested, I think, in a retort to Senator Quirke when he was speaking, that it would be something fantastic to suggest and have enshrined in a Land Bill that where a former employee is given a holding of land and has not turned out to be as good as the Land Commission thought he would be when giving him the land, that the land should not be left in his possession. You are going to do one of two things. You are going to allow that man, after four years' experience of him as a farmer, to stay on, knowing that he will never be a farmer, and will never make anything better than a dabbler at farming. Are you to allow him to remain in occupation of a holding which is going to remain out of production for the period that he is in occupancy? I think it would be much better to approach such a man after four years and say to him clearly: You are not making the success of your farm we expected you to. Now, we are going to take up your farm and pay you the compensation which was offered to you in the beginning, when you decided to take the farm. You are not working it, and we want someone who will work the farm. Your land, when we take it over, will be given to the person who will work it. The Minister says that this proposal is fantastic. Are you to allow this inefficient farmer to remain in possession or take it off him? Remember that this farmer has got a free gift of a holding worth perhaps £1,000, and he may fail to work it in a practical manner.

Nothing about his loss of labour, of course? The farm is not a free gift. He has had to undergo expenses over four years.

The position, as I see it, is that you have given this man a holding. He has turned out to be unsatisfactory, and is making no proper use of the land. Therefore, we would put him back at the start, saying "we do not consider you a suitable person for land, and we are giving you compensation."

And throwing him out after four years without any compensation for his time.

The position is, the Land Commission have made a mistake. The Land Commission should be ready to admit it was a mistake, and pay him the compensation that he might have taken originally.

And what about his labour in the meantime?

While I have sympathy with the proposal to compensate people who have given good service on holdings of land acquired, I am in a bit of a quandary as to the attitude taken up by the Opposition in this matter. During some time in the discussion on the Second Stage of the Bill I think it was Senator Hawkins who raised the question as to whether there was sufficient land available for the relief of congestion. My idea was that the Land Commission was originally intended to relieve congestion in the first instance, and, as Senator Baxter pointed out, to raise uneconomic farms to an economic standard afterwards. If this amendment is accepted by the Minister, he accepts the principle of providing for people that are considered to be suitable men for the provision of a holding of land. But how is the Minister to judge? As has been pointed out, already people who were very faithful and industrious employees, proved themselves, on being provided with land for themselves, to be bad managers. They found it easier to get on with the regular weekly wage when they were agricultural labourers. I have a strong recollection of a Bill going through the Seanad where it was absolutely necessary to give power to the Land Commission to recover for that body land which had been given to former agricultural labourers who had been given holdings which were part of the estate on which they had previously worked. I hold that the first duty of the Land Commission is to relieve congestion and after that to raise uneconomic holdings to the economic standard. If land cannot be provided for agricultural labourers, what standard is the Minister going to fix to determine the amount of compensation that such people are entitled to? The Minister has gone as far, I think, as any reasonable man would be expected to go. I am certain, because of the assurance he has given that the position of such workers is adequately safeguarded and in view of the assurance from the Minister, Senator Hawkins should withdraw the amendment.

May I say in reply to certain arguments put forward in support of the amendment, the impression I have been given is that instead of bringing in a new section embodying a new principle in respect of displaced employees and to compensate them, that we are deliberately putting in a section to throw out and slaughter those people? Section 28 is giving the Land Commission a wide open hand in their discretion to give a holding of land to the displaced employee. If in their discretion they think that the displaced employee says he does not want any holding they may pay him compensation. The section provides that the Land Commission may say: "We knocked you out of your job to improve the lot of others, and here is £50, £100, £200 or £300"—whatever they think is right. That is the whole of it.

Senator Hawkins said that there is nothing new in this principle. I say there is. No Department of State and no private firm that I know of makes such a bountiful provision for the employee displaced by reason of certain activities. I want to impress on Senators that, if this amendment goes through, I might as well go over and turn the key in the door of the Land Commission and dismiss the commissioners and all the staff, because I assure the House they will not be able to acquire one perch of land. I want to put that on the records of this House. If Senators want to vote for such a provision, it is their business. I am completely in their hands.

With regard to the second amendment, I wonder where it came from. I have a very strong suspicion where it came from and I was astonished when Senator Quirke assured me, after I had put a warning question to him, that he intended to stand over it. Are we going to put it in the power of the Land Commission that, where a man is four years in possession of a holding of land, to go in and kick him out and give him whatever compensation they think fit, £10, £15 or £20? I hope I will never be a member of either House of the Oireachtas if such a situation ever comes to pass. I certainly will not give the commissioners that power and I am asking the House to turn it down flat.

In connection with the last remark of the Minister with regard to giving power to the Land Commission to take up a holding, I want to say that this House and the other House passed a Bill for that very purpose, for the purpose of giving the Land Commission power to take up a holding. Not only have they that power in respect of a holding held for such a short period as four years, but no particular term is embodied in the Bill. The Minister will be able to give us the total number and total acreage of such holdings taken over under the Bill passed in 1946 or 1947.

I am surprised by the speech made by my friend, Senator Quirke, who knows the position with regard to all the land divided in Tipperary and the provision made for the people dispossessed. I am much more surprised that, in connection with some of the other Land Acts, this fight was not made to make sure provision would be made for everybody and anybody who came on to an estate and worked on it. I can remember the first estate which was divided in Tipperary in 1924, when only half the allottees were employees on the estate, and, having been in the habit of receiving a weekly wage for doing different jobs around the estate, they were on the verge of hunger before five or six years and unable to pay annuities or anything else. If we are to provide for all these people, there is no use in talking about relieving congestion. You may as well take over estates from the landlord and divide them out amongst the workmen. Surely the Land Commission must have some discretion. If they are not to have discretion, the sooner we stop the division of land the better.

Take the case of the farmer who sells his land in the morning. I know places which have been sold on which there were four or five people employed. Did these people grumble? No; they never said a word, although they were not kept in employment. Why should the Land Commission provide for everybody on an estate, any more than any farmer who sells 300 or 400 acres? These farmers were never asked to provide for their employees, and, in the last two Acts, there was never a word about such a provision, although, even without this provision, so far as I remember, the constant employees on most of these estates got something, although only few of them made good farmers.

What I did not like about Senator Quirke's speech was his claim—good propaganda for the Irish Press to-morrow—that he was supporting the worker and the poor man on the small farm and that those who voted against the amendment were against these men. I am a great friend of Senator Quirke's, but the whole trend of his speech was not very honest and he finished on that note, that those who would vote against the amendment were the enemies of the workers on these lands.

I cannot say that I am any judge of the various matters raised here, but I would say that the Bill as it stands, from the Minister's point of view, seems to be fair and just, and to show a good outlook for the future. The amendment has very considerable advantages, but there are so many considerations to be taken into account when adjusting the lives of people after being dispossessed that it would be much better to leave the Minister and the Land Commission with the open door he requires.

What I mainly have in mind in connection with the division and allotment of land is whether there is any standard by which an economic holding is so regarded. After every estate had been divided under the previous Government and the Governments before it, as well as under this Government, one always heard stories about such and such a person with 60 or 70 acres who got a division while men nearer to the estate with a much lesser acreage and a much lower valuation got none. I should like to know if some standard could be devised which would obviate such comments. We have not got very much land to divide in my county, but I hear these stories after the division of a small estate, that so-and-so who had already 70 acres got land while another man with a big family and a very small acreage and valuation got nothing. It would be well if some standard could be set which would prevent that kind of comment being made. If such a standard could be fixed it would be to the advantage of the Minister and the Land Commission as well as the community in general.

In Section 11 we gave very wide powers to the Land Commission. We gave them power to buy land, to decide the land they would buy, the price to be paid for it, the people to get the land and the amount they were to get, and we did not lay down any conditions which would tie their hands or in any way interfere with their discretion in doing these very important things. Now it appears that we think it necessary, when it is merely a question of deciding whether a man who is to be displaced shall get land or a gratuity, to lay down conditions and set a headline, as it were, for the Land Commission to guide them in how they are to set about doing that comparatively unimportant job compared with all the functions we gave them in Section 11.

I think that, as far as principle is concerned, there is not any difference between the amendment and the provision in the Bill. I think that we should not be willing to trust the Land Commission to do all the things set out in Section 11, which are very much more important than the provision set out in this section, if we hesitate to allow them the discretion which is given to to them in this section. There is no suggestion, so far as I know, that any of these employees have been badly treated in the past. They have got land where land is available, I understand, and now this section makes a further provision that where land is not available or where a person, is not considered suitable to get land, he will get a gratuity. There is no essential difference, as I say, between the amendment and what is contained in the Bill because, as Senator J.T. O'Farrell pointed out, under the amendment a discretion is given to the Land Commission as to the amount of the gratuity they are to pay or as to whether any gratuity at all is to be paid. I do not think the amendment helps very much or increases in any way the power of the Land Commission or gives any greater certainty to the employee that he will get anything different from that provided for in the section as it stands.

I have a good deal of sympathy with the sentiments expressed by Senator Burke when he made a case for people who had conacre and grazing for a very long period of years. Although I think the Minister overlooked the matter in defending his section as against the amendment, I think their claims are on a parallel with the claims of displaced workers. I think we would be lacking in our duty if we did not make some effort to cater for these people who had conacre and grazing on these estates without any tenancy for a number of years. If I remember aright, I think there was a section in a previous Act, Section 40 of the Act of 1933, which provided for that particular class of people. I am not quite sure as to the number of the section, but my recollection is that it was Section 40. About that time there was a High Court action—the Earl of Drogheda versus Behan — and if I am not mistaken, the section has been left dormant since. Some amendment, I suggest, should be moved on the Report Stage to cater for the needs of these people because it would be a great hardship if they are deprived of the facilities which they have enjoyed. Their case runs parallel with that of the people provided for in this amendment.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

We are not dealing with the holders of conacre at all under this amendment.

I am finished with that particular aspect of the matter when I suggest that their case is parallel with that of disemployed workers on an estate. The question was raised that a bogus situation may be created by a number of people getting employment for a very short period with a landowner in order to prevent the State from acquiring an estate. I think people who own very big holdings have been wide-awake for a long time to any rights to which they are entitled. For that reason it would be very easy for the Department to get precise information, where any attempt was made to create a situation of that kind, because the Minister could definitely get the returns from the county council. Every one of these people who employed agricultural workers availed of the scheme under which relief of rates was given in respect of their agricultural workers since it first came into operation. The Minister can get exact details, therefore, as to the number of workers legitimately employed on an estate and he would have no difficulty in preventing a position, such as he suggests might arise, being created.

I was more than surprised at the attitude of Senator Counihan towards workers who are likely to be disemployed as a result of the taking over of an estate on which they were previously employed. It would appear as if there are a number of people in this country who would like to treat genuine workers as if they were outcasts and a class who should be kept in a section by themselves. I think that is a very bad social outlook for the country generally, an outlook that should be avoided. Senator Baxter referred to another type in the poor congest class — the man who has to go out with his horse on the roads to earn a living for his family. The Senator suggested that he had not the energy to look after his little place or to maintain his family on it. I think that when you see that type of small congest, let him be a cottier or anything else, with a couple of cows and horses, you can be sure that he is a most desirable potential tenant who will give a good return to the State for any money invested in providing a holding for him. I think that man will do well for his family and for the country. If you see him with horses and cows, that in itself is evidence that he is potentially the most desirable tenant the Land Commission could have.

I would not be inclined to accept as final at all the report of the inspector to which Senator Quirke referred. I shall give you a case in point which occurred in the town of Thurles in connection with certain resumption or acquisition proceedings by the Department. There was a cottier there who had ten or 11 cows and in my opinion he had a very good claim to any land that was going because as soon as these farms are acquired he is going to lose the grass of his cows and his family life will be disorganised. The members of his family perhaps will be sent to the ends of the earth and he himself will have to turn to something else at this stage of his life. The attitude of the inspector in that case was: "Well, we cannot consider a cottier at all." That man, it is true, was living in a cottage but as a result of his energy and thrift in making a few bob on the roads, he is in possession now of ten or 12 cows. That kind of outlook in the Land Commission is a very serious one for this country. I said at the start that I would not be very long. That is all I have to say, at this stage, but I may have something more to say on the Report Stage. I have great sympathy with the sentiments expressed by Senator Burke in regard to the disorganisation of people's way of living, and preventing them from carrying on in the way they would have, if left alone. That is a very serious thing.

I would not like anybody to think that Senator Seán Hayes and myself have a disagreement, having agreed for the last 50 years or so. I would like to assure him that I did not suggest that all Land Commission inspectors were perfect, any more than I would suggest that all Senators were perfect and infallible. What I really wanted to emphasise was, that the average Land Commission inspector; I would go further than that and say that the majority of the Land Commission inspectors, or I will go still further, and say that, at least, 75 per cent. of the Land Commission inspectors having been sufficiently long in an area to go into the question of the subdivision of an estate, would have a very good idea of the qualifications of every man on the estate, and as to their suitability for becoming future farmers. Now, Senator Baxter as far as we could judge, imagines that the Land Commission inspector just dashes down to some particular estate in County Wexford, County Tipperary or County Waterford, stays two or three days, and then comes back again. That is not so. I have known several cases, where Land Commission inspectors actually went into the match-making business, and have taken part in making successful matches. That is not an exaggeration. I have known that to happen, in more cases than one, where a young girl had a certain claim for a portion of land, because of her father having worked on the estate for a considerable number of years, and on the same estate a man had a similar right or the man happened to be an uneconomic holder adjoining the estate. I have known a Land Commission inspector actually to go to the woman and suggest that she might be better off if she settled down and got married. The result was that finally, and in more than one case, I have seen the Land Commission inspector actually make the match.

I can assure the Senator that he did not get any extra pay or bonus for that.

I do not know whether he was working overtime on the job or not. I am not suggesting it was part of his business, but I do suggest that it is a good thing to have a Land Commission inspector, who is very much of a human being, and who will go into things, apart from what is cut and dried for him in the Land Commission regulations. That is the sort of inspector who will get good results. In the case mentioned by Senator Hayes, I do not know who the inspector was. It would appear to me that he was an inspector, who, when he got his orders from the Land Commission, probably asked the question: "What about cottiers"? and the answer probably was: "We cannot provide for them at all; we were doing that for a while, but we have now come to the conclusion that cottiers are not satisfactory people to be given land". That may have happened. Surely the inspector should use his own commonsense, rather than take a statement haphazardly like that, in the Department. He should, if he sees that a man in a cottage is in possession of farm implements, nine or ten cows, a horse, and various other things, be able to see at a glance that he would be a very desirable man to give land to. By giving land to a man of that kind, you would not be creating any precedent, that all cottiers should get land. You will be putting a man on a holding with a fair guarantee that he was going to be a success. You will save the State the extra expense of building for them, at least, a dwellinghouse and, possibly, some out-offices.

I will not keep the Seanad very long, because, as a city man, I know very little about land. I rise to support this amendment, because it proposes to make some compensation, either in cash or in kind, to the ordinary working man on the farm. The Minister stated that he was enunciating a new principle. I do not think he is correct in that. He may be enunciating a new principle, from the point of view of Land Bills, but it has been an accepted principle over the years that, when the State acquires any undertaking, and I suggest, a large farm of 600 or 800 acres is an undertaking, that the people who work it should be compensated. We had this very principle unanimously agreed to on the Transport Bill. The Seanad decided unanimously that three or four of the higher executive people should be compensated, to some extent, not to a very magnanimous extent, but to such an extent that the principle would be maintained. I certainly resent the suggestion made that these people are not deserving of any consideration. I object to the section, because it says that these people may be compensated. I suggest that discretion is not law. If you leave anything to the discretion of people, there is nothing obligatory on them to make any compensation. They may make compensations. I heard the aristocratic farmer, Senator Counihan, in effect, say these people do not count.

There is no point in relieving congestion, if you are going to create unemployment. I suggest that the cure is as bad as the disease, and if these people are to lose their employment, I think there is an obligation on the State to compensate them in some measure, either by a gratuity or in terms of land. As I say, I resent that attitude, not alone on the part of Senator Counihan, but on the part of others, that these people, simply because they are hewers of wood and drawers of water, are not to get the same consideration as the people who are to get land. After all, there may be a certain amount of solid argument in the statement that they are not capable of working land. That would be admitted, but if they are not capable of working land, they ought to be compensated in cash. As I say, there is nobody, and I say this advisedly, who has been so well catered for, and who has been so well looked after by this State, as the farmers of this country. I suggest that they should not be so selfish, as to think that all the plums should go to the farming community, and that the agricultural labourer, the most depressed class in this country, should be just thrown out on the road without any compensation. I think it is about time, if this country is to get anywhere, that we should realise that the peasantry are the people who work the large estates, and that they must get the same consideration as other workers in the State. That is the sort of talk: "knock out the people of no property, give them no compensation"; but the people who have money to buy implements and to stock a farm are to be considered. A man is to be penalised if he has no money to take a holding. He is to get no consideration at all. I believe that the discretion in this Bill is bad law.

I am not one of the members of this House who aspire to be called to the Bar. Indeed, I think neither Senator Miss Pearse nor myself have ever been called within the sacred portal since we entered the Oireachtas. Nevertheless, I would like to acquire legal knowledge, which can be done by listening carefully to the debates and reading the Bills as intelligently as I can. That prompts me to ask the Minister one question. It concerns the section, not the amendment, but the whole debate has developed into a comparison between the section and the amendment. What I want to know is whether the amendment could be so interpreted by any court of law that the power of the Land Commission in the matter of compensation would be limited to a gratuity. If there is any possibility of such an interpretation in a law court I do think that the Minister should look into the matter and make certain that such an interpretation would not be possible.

I take this opportunity of congratulating the Minister for having such an intelligent Land Commission inspector as would say that the prospective allottees should be provided with good wives. I do not think he sufficiently realises, so I should like to repeat ad nauseam, that successful agriculture in this country and in every country depends so much on the women that there is no use in allotting and dividing land if we do not see that we have a sufficient number of good, well-trained farmers' wives. The Minister is in charge of certain agricultural schools — this is beyond the scope of the amendment — and I hope he will foster them and give us what is needed by the people of the country——

You are not going to make the Minister a matchmaker?

——wives for farmers and allottees, so that we may have the successful farms which we hope to have as a result of this Bill.

I merely rise because it seems to me that the case for the amendment has been turned in such a way as to make it appear that anybody that is not in favour of the amendment is not in favour of compensating workers. That is not in question at all. The Minister is opposed to this amendment and after all the Minister is the person who for the first time, I understand, is introducing this good principle. Surely it is wrong to say that if we are not for the amendment we are against that good principle. Guided by the case which the Minister has been making I propose to vote for the section but I want to make it quite clear that I am in favour of compensating everybody who is displaced or who suffers loss as a result of action of this kind.

I feel that this discussion to which I have listened for most of the time except the last half-hour has been unduly prolonged and as there has been a whole lot of repetition I do not want to repeat anything. It has been said with some truth, I think, that fools rush in where angels fear to tread, and that is why, when anything is under discussion in this Chamber with which I am not familiar, I hesitate to intervene.

I would hate to disagree with my old friend Senator Colgan whom I know to be a man who has a very broad humanitarian outlook. I was rather surprised when he supported the measure in principle but added other matters which led me, and I am sure the House, to believe that he wanted to pay far more than was intended by the Minister. My view and the view of those who have carefully studied the Bill is that it has established quite a new principle. I agree with the Minister that the views of those who support the amendment are not the views of most of us who have given the matter thought. You would think by some speakers that there was no provision in the Bill or only a half-hearted attempt but the Bill says clearly and specifically:—

"Where a person has, whether before or after the passing of this Act, been displaced from employment by reason of the acquisition of land, resumption, purchase or allotment of that land by the Land Commission, the Land Commission may, if in their discretion they so think proper, pay to him such gratuity as they consider reasonable in respect of his displacement from employment".

I suggest that if that precedent were adopted by employers in industry, it would cause a revolution. Remember, I am not a Socialist. I have no Socialist tendencies whatsoever, but we must look ahead and see what might happen. It might easily happen that a Government would be returned here with strong Socialist tendencies, and I would be the last man in the world to suggest that any waster or idler should be compensated. Let us look across the Channel and see what is happening there. I do not want to enter into this matter further than to say that when they nationalised the railways and other things and started to nationalise steel we know what happened, and we do not want that to happen here. If the amendment were adopted, I very much fear that there would be very little respect for the Government on the part of the people and many trade union members and Labour supporters who do not want to see any penetration either from the East or the West.

The section goes quite far enough, and I speak as one who has considerable experience of the farming community. I have experience of the whole country through sporting activities and other ways, and from my own close connection with the land. I do not hold any land myself, but my people did, and I have met many farmers from abroad and people who were interested in agriculture. The Minister goes a long way, and I only hope that he is not going too far. I speak responsibly and I hope sincerely that this will allay the fears of certain deserving employees on land who may be removed, and assure them that they will receive either an allocation of land or a gratuity.

We all know the difficulties that will confront the Land Commission officials. Let us be quite frank and fair. Do we not know by virtue of our experience, whether it be on the land, in factory or in workshop, that you will always find slackers? You will also find people who have adapted themselves only to one branch of an industry and in the agricultural industry you will find that the same thing operates. You will find that some men are good ploughmen, that others are useful at drainage work, that others are good milkers. You will find men who are specialists in their own particular branch of agriculture. In what way will you compensate those people? Will you value the work of each man on the land? Will you say that you will give the milker more than the ploughman? These things should be left entirely in the hands of the Land Commission, or whoever will administer this particular section of the Bill. In my view, sufficient is being done in this Bill to provide for the proper examination of persons who are entitled to compensation.

I do not say that it has been suggested, but can one expect that the man who has 20 years' service would be entitled to more than the man with, say, ten years' service when the man with ten years' service is a greater asset to the farm than the man with 20 years' service? All these things will require examination and one cannot apply a foot-rule to the amount of compensation. These are things which require very serious consideration, quite apart from any Party affiliations.

I support the section in the Bill, and I cannot agree that the further amplification of what is already in the Bill is necessary. I support Section 28 because it has gone a long way. It is an innovation. I must congratulate the Minister on his courage. He has close association with land in a part of the country where the farms are very small. I do not know how the people exist on them. In this question of the acquisition of land, the Minister has done pioneering work, and I sincerely hope that it will be followed in some measure by people in industry.

Amendment put and declared negatived.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Am I to take it that amendment No. 20 falls with No. 19?

The same decision will govern amendment No. 20.

Amendment No. 20 not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 28 stand part of the Bill".

Would the Minister have the point raised by Senator Mrs. Concannon looked into? I think it is an important point.

I certainly will.

May I reinforce what Senator Hawkins has said? The point raised by Senator Mrs. Concannon is a point I had not thought it possible could arise. Looking at the section again, I can see that it is possible that the interpretation that Senator Mrs. Concannon put on it is possible. That would be a very serious flaw in the Bill, and I would ask the Minister to assure the House that adequate consideration will be given to that point.

I give the House that assurance.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 29.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Amendments Nos. 21, 22 and 23 are out of order.

Government amendments Nos. 24 and 25:—

24. To delete sub-sections (12) and (13) and substitute the following sub-sections:—

(12) Where any land is disposed of by virtue of an authorisation under paragraph (f) of sub-section (7) or paragraph (a) of sub-section (9) of this section —

(a) the disposal shall operate to vest the land in the person to whom it is disposed of in fee simple subject to any purchase annuity, funding annuity, annual sum or other payment payable to the Land Commission in respect thereof and any charge thereon under the Public Works Acts or the Land Reclamation Act, 1949 (No. 25 of 1949), (including any arrears of such purchase annuity, funding annuity, annual sum, payment or charge), but, save as aforesaid, freed and discharged from the trusts of the scheme and from all estates, claims or incumbrances of all persons whomsoever who are interested in the land,

(b) if the person to whom the land is disposed of is the Land Commission, the Land Commission shall be entitled to enter on and take possession of the land and Section 19 of the Land Act, 1927, shall apply accordingly.

(13) Any land which becomes vested in the Land Commission pursuant to sub-section (11) or sub-section (12) of this section shall be subject to the provisions of the Land Act, 1923, as amended by subsequent Acts (including this Act), as to the provision of parcels of land for the persons or bodies mentioned in Section 31 of the Land Act, 1923, as amended as aforesaid.

(14) On the revocation under this section of the whole of a scheme and of all the trusts thereof, or on the revocation, variation or addition under this section of or to any terms or trusts of a scheme (including the substitution of any of the extended purposes for any existing purpose of the scheme) the following provisions shall have effect:—

(a) notice of the revocation, variation, addition or substitution shall be given in the prescribed manner to the trustee or trustees and to any other persons appearing to the Land Commission to be affected;

(b) at any time within six months after the giving of such notice—

(i) any beneficiary under the scheme or trusts who, as such beneficiary, has sustained loss by the revocation, variation, addition or substitution, and

(ii) in the case of a revocation, any person from whose estate, claim or incumbrance the land to which the scheme and trusts relate was, by virtue of paragraph (a) of sub-section (11) of this section, freed and discharged and who has suffered loss by such freeing and discharge,

may apply to the Land Commission for compensation to be paid by them in respect of such loss.

(15) On the disposal of any land under an authorisation under paragraph (f) of sub-section (7) or paragraph (a) of sub-section (9) of this section, the following provisions shall have effect:—

(a) notice of the disposal shall be given in the prescribed manner to all persons (other than the trustees of the scheme) appearing to the Land Commission to be affected:

(b) at any time within six months after the giving of such notice —

(i) any beneficiary under the scheme or trusts thereof who, as such beneficiary, has sustained loss by the disposal, and

(ii) any person from whose estate, claim or incumbrance the land was, by virtue of paragraph (a) of sub-section (12) of this section freed and discharged and who has suffered loss by such freeing and discharge,

may apply to the Land Commission for compensation to be paid by them in respect of such loss.

(16) No compensation shall be payable under sub-section (14) or sub-section (15) of this section—

(i) in respect of any loss which is the loss of a chance of being selected as a recipient of benefits under the scheme or trusts, or

(ii) in respect of any loss in relation to which the Land Commission certify under seal that the applicant for compensation has been offered, or is or will be provided with, any specified right, interest or equity which the Land Commission are satisfied is of not less value to him than what he has lost.

(17) Every question arising under sub-section (14), sub-section (15) or sub-section (16) of this section (including any question as to the right to or amount of compensation) shall, in default of agreement, be decided by the lay commissioners, but there shall be a right of appeal to the Appeal Tribunal and the decision of the Appeal Tribunal shall be final save that an appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court on questions of law.

25. In sub-section (16), page 20, line 6, to insert "disposal to the Land Commission and" before "disposal".

I propose to deal with amendments Nos. 24 and 25 together, because they are complementary. Amendment No. 24 is necessary to remove a defect in the Bill in relation to the disposal of trust land. Occasionally it becomes desirable to detach part of a trust allotment from the trusts and to put that particular part to a different use, for example, as a site for a school, parochial hall, etc., etc. In other cases the land may no longer be of use to the trustees and it may be desirable to surrender it to the Land Commission or transfer it to a third party.

Sub-sections (7) (f) and (9) (a) gave power to the Minister and the Land Commission to authorise the disposal of trust land in this manner; but these sections do not go far enough.

It is legally desirable to set out in the Bill that, upon disposal, the trust land shall be freed from the original trusts and from incumbrances and charges arising under the trusts.

This long amendment re-drafts sub-sections (12) and (13) of the Bill and inserts the necessary new provisions which are numbered as sub-sections (12) and (15) in the amendment.

The new sub-section (12) provides that, upon disposal, the land shall vest in the new owners (whether they be the Land Commission or other body or private individuals), subject to the purchase annuity and other payments payable to the Land Commission or Board of Works, but otherwise free from the trusts and other claims.

The new sub-section (12) also includes the usual provision that, where the land vests in the Land Commission, they will be able, if necessary, to get an order for possession from the Judicial Commissioner if some person wrongfully tries to keep them out of possession.

The other new sub-section — No. (15) — makes provision for the payment by the Land Commission of compensation to persons who suffer a loss by reason of the disposal of trust land under the Bill. These provisions for compensation are exactly similar to the provisions already included in sub-section (13).

As regards questions of compensation, there will be a right of appeal to the Appeal Tribunal on all aspects of the matter, as well as a right of appeal to the Supreme Court in questions of law.

Amendment No. 25 is merely a drafting amendment.

Amendment No. 24 put and agreed to.
Amendment No. 25 put and agreed to.
Section 29, as amended, put and agreed to.
Sections 30 and 31 and Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Report Stage ordered for Wednesday, 31st May.
The Seanad adjourned at 5.40 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 31st May.