I move amendment No. 1:
In page 8, Section 9 (6), to add a new paragraph as follows:—
"( ) Where a person who is not the registered owner has paid in whole or in part moneys payable on foot of a charge created under this section in respect of moneys lent or advanced by the Corporation to such person as a person in occupation of the land, and such person is ejected from the land by the registered owner, the moneys so paid by such person shall be recoverable from the registered owner as a specialty debt in any court of competent jurisdiction."
This is an amendment to which I referred on Committee Stage. Its purpose is to provide that in the case of a person who is in occupation of a farm and who obtains money from the Agricultural Credit Corporation, when the person who has the title to the land and who is the registered owner returns to eject the person in occupation, that person shall be entitled to recover from the registered owner the money which he has paid back to the Agricultural Credit Corporation.
In this country, it is quite remarkable how people go away and leave their land, very often with the intention of returning within a year. They find employment in England mostly and do not return for as long a period as perhaps 20 years. Then, when they do come back, whoever has the land may have to get out. In the West of Ireland particularly, when a person is going away, he asks one of the neighbours to look after his place, but such an arrangement never gives any title to the person who remains on. In that kind of case, even after a lapse of 12 or 15 years, the person appointed caretaker might decide to take over the land in the hope that the true owner would not return. That happens.
It also happens as between brothers and father and son. A son or brother is left behind as a caretaker. The brother or son uses the land for his own benefit. In time, he will find it necessary to go to the Agricultural Credit Corporation. That is the kind of situation where grave hardship can be done. It can be argued that the person who remains on the land has had the use of it; that he cannot pay any rent to the person who has gone to England. That is not so. If the emigrant owner returns, he can sue the person for occupation rent. It is in that situation that I should like to see the moneys paid for the improvement of the land offset against occupation rent.
The Minister on the last occasion had some doubts as to whether this was covered in the Bill. Happily, it has not been ruled out of order. I hope the Minister will take the view that it is as much in order to provide this remedy for a person in occupation as it is for the successive registered owners.
There is one further point I want to make. I suggest that the right to recover the money should be over a period of 20 years. I do not want to limit it to the ordinary period of six or 12 years because I feel it is too short a period. In those circumstances I think it would be better that the money paid over a long period should be recoverable by the person ejected by the true owner.