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Seanad Éireann debate -
Thursday, 2 Aug 1962

Vol. 55 No. 15

Local Government (Sanitary Services) Bill, 1962—Second and Subsequent Stages.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

This Bill has two main objects. The first is the furtherance of the piped water and sewerage programme announced by the Government in 1959. The second aim is to enable me to deal with the problem of air pollution, which has assumed a growing significance in recent years.

As regards the first objective, Sections 2 and 3 of the Bill provide for the framing of a new scheme of State and local authority grants towards the cost of private water supplies and sewerage facilities. The importance of private initiative in the solution of the rural water supplies problem hardly needs elaboration. Senators will be well aware of the many areas in the country where holdings are so scattered that water supplies on a regional or sub-regional basis would be excessively costly in relation to the servable population. In such areas there is no alternative to the private installation. But there are also areas where the activities of private individuals and co-operative groups could be most usefully employed in harness with local authority schemes, by arranging extensions of such schemes on a private group basis, or by taking individual connections. Thus the three types of effort on which we rely for the implementing of the programme, namely, local authority schemes, private co-operative group schemes and individual installations, can be integrated into a single front.

Co-operation between the public and private sectors, which I regard as the most valuable means of overcoming the difficulties inherent in our rural water supplies position, will be assisted by the provisions of this Bill. The details of the grants scheme under Sections 2 and 3 will be worked out and embodied in regulations. The new scheme will be designed to stimulate private enterprise, facilitate co-operative group development, and open the way for a closer link between local authority schemes and private initiative. Local authorities are being urged to bear in mind, in planning their programmes, the possible advantages to be derived from co-operation with private groups in the laying of water supply distribution systems. Local authorities are equipped for the development of large resources, the construction of reservoirs, and laying down trunk mains. Private groups with the assistance of State and local grants, and technical advice, can in many cases speedily and economically fill in the distribution network. The advantages of private initiative may in such cases be brought to bear on the larger type of scheme, and the resources of rural organisations in enthusiasm, voluntary work and local leadership availed of to the common benefit.

Section 2 of the Bill will also provide the necessary machinery for a unification of schemes of private water supply grants. There are three such State schemes, operated by the Departments of Local Government, Agriculture and the Gaeltacht. There is some degree of overlapping between the two first-mentioned schemes, and the Government's intention to combine them into a single scheme has already been announced. The new scheme would relate to water installations in dwellings only. Private water supplies for farms and farm buildings would remain the concern of the Department of Agriculture. The special scheme of water supply and sewerage grants administered by Roinn na Gaeltachta would also remain unaffected.

The Bill provides, on lines similar to those of the Housing Acts, for a stay of seven years on any valuation increase attributable to the installation of water or sewerage with the aid of grants—not that it has been the practice of local authorities so far as I am aware, to regard the installation of piped water or sewerage facilities as a reason for revising valuations, and the Bill is not intended to alter that position. Its intention is to encourage people to instal those services in their homes.

Sections 4 and 5 of the Bill will empower sanitary authorities to make or guarantee loans to persons installing piped water or sewerage in private dwellings. In including these sections I have had in mind the need for credit facilities for co-operative groups and I am confident that these provisions will, in combination with the direct grants to be made available under the earlier sections of the Bill, act as a strong incentive to private persons and groups to engage in the installation of water and sewerage services. The provisions in the Bill relating to loan terms and security are very flexible, and I would visualise, for the limited, short-term accommodation which these groups would require, that formal security would be seldom required. The widest latitude is therefore being afforded to sanitary authorities for informal arrangements.

Section 6 will empower sanitary authorities to acquire water or sewerage undertakings by agreement, or, if necessary, by compulsory purchase procedure. The Bill will enable the initiative to be taken by a majority or by all of the owners in requiring the sanitary authority to exercise their powers of acquisition. Sanitary authorities will be expected to use these powers in the light of their general responsibilities for environmental sanitation, and to take over, for integration into their own services, where they exist, such water supply and sewerage undertakings as may be offered to them. In some cases it may be necessary for the sanitary authority in discharge of their responsibilities, to acquire an undertaking compulsorily. The procedure envisaged is that applicable to the acquisition of land for housing purposes, as embodied in the Local Government (No. 2) Act, 1960, but certain additional safeguards are proposed. The Minister must be satisfied that acquisition is necessary for the purpose of safeguarding public health or for the improvement of water and sewerage services. In the case of a water supply, provision is made for the abatement of the normal water charges over a period up to twenty years, so as to take account of the owners' initiative in providing their own supply.

Section 7 proposes to substitute a new type of water charge for the water rates and water rents which can now be levied on consumers under Section 66 of the Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878. The existing law on this subject is both difficult and obscure, and a number of recent court decisions have underlined its inadequacies as a working basis for making and recovering charges for water. The new procedure will be more straightforward, and will have no connection, as had the old, with rating procedure.

Sections 8 and 9 are intended to assist sanitary authorities in securing the maximum number of connections with water supply and sewerage schemes. Grants are now available in certain circumstances to persons wishing to connect their premises with public services, and it is proposed to make these grants more freely available. Section 9 will authorise local authorities to make connections themselves if necessary, or to contribute towards the cost. Between grants and local authority assistance, there should in future be no case of inability to take a connection on grounds of expense. There may however be cases where an owner refuses to make a connection for other reasons. In such cases sanitary authorities will be empowered to serve a notice on the owner requiring him to lay a connection not exceeding 100 feet in length. Provision is included enabling the owner to appeal to the district court against such a notice. If his appeal is not upheld by the court, the notice will become effective, and he must, subject to penalties, carry out the work. The power to compel connections has been exercisable by sanitary authorities since 1878. What the Bill proposes is to substitute a new procedure for one introduced by the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act, 1948, which proved cumbersome and slow in practice.

The second main object of the Bill is the control of atmospheric pollution. There has in recent years been a growing awareness of the need for a clean air policy. The existing law is inadequate and out of date, and the time has arrived for more comprehensive and flexible provisions. It is therefore proposed to take a power to make regulations controlling sources of air pollution such as smoke, dust, grit or gas; regulating the establishment and operation of trades, chemical and other works, and processes which are potential sources of air pollution; and specifying maximum concentrations of specified pollutants in the atmosphere. Regulations may also be made to cover such matters as investigation and measurement of air pollution, and the licensing of persons and premises with a view to controlling the discharge of pollutants into the atmosphere from works or processes.

I have already initiated the measurement of air pollution in a number of centres. The results indicate the existence of pollution in varying degrees and measurement will be continued until a reliable picture of the extent and nature of the problem emerges. While it may not prove to be serious at present we must take account of industrial development which may throw up new problems. A flexible procedure enabling controls to be instituted where and when required is, in these circumstances, the best approach and the Bill provides this by enabling regulations to be made to meet a wide variety of special air pollution problems according as they may arise.

The remaining provisions of the Bill are of a routine character. The Bill as a whole is designed to bring those parts of sanitary services law which most urgently need modernisation into line with present-day conditions and needs. Work on the consolidation of a far larger body of statute law dealing with the powers and duties of sanitary authorities is at present in progress.

The last sentence of the Minister's speech is one of the most welcome, that is, that he contemplates in the reasonably near future a consolidation of the law in relation to sanitary services. Pending such consolidation the House, in considering a Bill such as this, is considering a further addition to intricate and complex legislation having its foundations in the middle of the last century when conditions were very different from what they are to-day. We are legislating by the amendment of legislation over a century old for modern purposes which are markedly different from those of one hundred years ago. We should all welcome the consolidation of the sanitary services code into a single piece of legislation. Meanwhile, we must consider the proposals the Minister has put before us to-day.

The first thing which has to be said is that the question of the need for better services, both water and drainage, in rural areas is not in any sense a matter of Party contention. It is a matter on which there will be general agreement, and has been general agreement, amongst all Parties. We have seen in recent times a further move towards general agreement that the best approach to the provision of water in rural areas is an approach which does not depend on a single solution to the problem. There should be an approach that seeks to use regional schemes where they are appropriate, but only where they are appropriate; to use group schemes where they are appropriate, but only where they are appropriate; and to use individual schemes where these are the most appropriate solution to the problem.

This approach has been advocated in many quarters in recent years. It is a good thing we have now an unequivocal statement from the Minister that he is in agreement with this approach. The most dangerous thing that has happened in regard to this problem of rural water supplies is that many people who have talked on the subject—some of them inside the Houses of the Oireachtas but many more throughout the country—have spoken as if one single approach could solve the problem. Indeed, we have had an even worse situation where some people spoke as if one particular approach they disliked could not anywhere or under any circumstances be the appropriate solution to the problem of the provision of rural water supplies. It is good therefore that there should be general agreement that what is needed is to seek a proper combination of these three approaches —regional schemes, co-operative group schemes and individual schemes—in order to get the best overall solution.

There are a few provisions in this Bill which will enable this work to be done more expeditiously. For example, it is a good thing that under this Bill we can, as it were, use the enthusiasm of the co-operative group for the purpose of initiating a private scheme, either water or drainage. But, when that scheme is built and running, it can then be acquired under this Bill for operation and maintenance by the local authority. The local authority would not have the same initiative in providing a scheme in the locality but they are far better suited for the maintenance and operation of the scheme once it has been installed.

As to the provision which the Minister makes in regard to rural water supplies and drainage schemes, there is not very much need for prolonged discussion. But there are a few points I should like to raise at this stage. The Minister has indicated that on the question of loans or guarantees to co-operative groups it is his intention that a simple loan procedure would be carried out and that there would be no question of full mortgages in the loan procedures to co-operative groups.

I would ask the Minister to consider if there would not be a still simpler procedure for dealing with some of these problems, particularly in regard to connections. That is where the local authority would do some of the actual work. They would have the power to do so under Section 9 of the Bill. The simplest procedure by which the local authority could recover their money might be if they were empowered to make an annual or other recurring charge in respect of the work which had been done. In my reading of the Bill I do not see any section under which that could be done and I do not know if it could be done under any other Bill in the sanitary services code.

Perhaps the Minister's advisers, who know their way about this code, could tell us whether it would be possible in regard to connections and in regard to the construction of schemes under certain circumstances for the local authority to do the work and to make an annual charge rather than going through a loan procedure. From the point of view of the administration of the local authority the procedure of an annual charge would be much simpler than going through a loan procedure, however simple.

Another point which arises on this Bill refers to the acquisition of private schemes. This is under Section 6 of the Bill. Here we have another instance of something which will be done under compulsory purchase order procedure. We know that procedure is a troublesome and often complicated one. Before this House would add in any way to the domain of compulsory purchase they should scrutinise extremely carefully the way in which this will be done. Under this section the local authority can acquire a private scheme by means of compulsory purchase. In subsection (2) of the section the Minister has provided for a statutory objection which must be considered against compulsory purchase. It is a statutory defence if the work is not necessary for the purpose of safeguarding public health or improving sewerage facilities or water supplies.

I see a slight ambiguity in this as drafted. We have here, on the one hand, a sanitary authority which acts throughout a given area and, on the other hand, we have a group scheme which operates in an extremely small area in contrast to that of the local authority. I should like to ask the Minister whether the public health and the sewerage facilities and water supplies mentioned in this statutory objection apply to the area of the group scheme in respect of which the Order is being sought or whether they apply to the whole area of the sanitary authority. There is a difference between the two. There is a very great difference in seeking a compulsory purchase order to take over a group scheme in order to provide better water facilities within the area served by that group scheme.

If it can be shown there is any deficiency or that improved facilities can be provided within that limited area, it is reasonable that this can be given as a reason for compulsory acquisition of the scheme. But is it so reasonable that the sanitary authority could acquire a private undertaking for the purpose of improving its water supply facilities or drainage facilities elsewhere? Is it so reasonable that a sanitary authority should be allowed, merely for economics or convenience in the operation of its water supply throughout its whole sanitary area, to acquire something which has been initiated, something which has been constructed, something which has been paid for by a group co-operative effort? I think here the case is nothing like as compelling and I should like to ask the Minister then what exactly is his intention in this section and, having told us his intention, would he satisfy us that the legal force of the section, as drafted, corresponds with that particular intention?

There is another point in regard to this question of compulsory purchase which I should like to raise. It is a technical point. As we know, these proceedings can be awkward. They can turn on minor details. Section 6, subsection (1) (c) refers to the various things which may be construed as part of a sewerage undertaking and which can be acquired under the C.P.O. procedure.

I should like to put this point to the Minister: under this section, part of the things which can be acquired are tanks and other things, for the purpose of drainage or sewage disposal. The position is that there are today in sanitary engineering three divisions in regard to the treatment of sewage. There is drainage; there is sewage treatment; there is sewage disposal. Now, if I were ever to give evidence as an expert witness in that particular field, I would have to say that there are many tanks, and many things, which, from the point of view of the sanitary engineer, are part of a sewage undertaking but which are not for the purpose of sewage disposal but, rather, for the purpose of sewage treatment.

The question then arises whether sewage disposal as defined in this section does, in fact, include sewage treatment. In order to find a definition, I think we shall have to go back to Section 30 of the Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878. If we go back to that section, we find a recital of what constitutes sewage disposal but, of course, the methods of sewage treatment and sewage disposal in 1878 bear very little relation to the methods of sewage treatment and sewage disposal at the present day. I raise this point because I think it is a point on which possibly a C.P.O. procedure, which everybody, both the private group and the local authority wish to go through, might fail either before the Minister's inspector or possibly, on appeal, to the circuit court judge.

Again, I think it is important that we should scrutinise the whole of this section remembering that we are adding to the compulsory purchase order code. Under subsection (5), if there is any default in interest, or on the loan or the guarantee by the local authority, the statutory objective based on the condition of the undertaking or the needs of public health in the area cannot be made. There is nothing in this Bill, as it stands, which indicates the manner in which loans are to be made, or guarantees given, in respect of these private co-operative group schemes.

The position could arise under the Bill, when it becomes law, that these schemes would not be based on joint and several liability and that actual independent loans might be given—or, indeed, more probably independent loans might be guaranteed by the local authority—and I ask the Minister is it then equitable that, if one person who is being guaranteed a loan under a group scheme defaults on his interest, all the others, except this one, who came together in order to form this group scheme, should be robbed of their right to make the statutory objection before the inspector at the public inquiry? It might be that, under the regulations made under this Bill, the Minister would ensure this would not happen. I should be glad if he would deal with this point.

Another innovation in the Bill is the streamlining of the procedure in regard to compulsory connections. This procedure is now simplified. I think this simplification is justified. There is absolutely no question that, in regard to compulsory connection to drainage schemes, the procedure should be as simple as possible. I do not think the case is quite so compelling in regard to water supplies, and I do not think that it is quite so necessary in the case where persons have a non-piped water supply, which they consider necessary, that the local authority should be able, by a streamlining procedure, to force them to connect to a public supply. However, this is a minor point. I do not wish to make anything of it except to say that I think the argument in favour of compulsory connection by means of a streamlined procedure is a far more compelling one in regard to drainage rather than in regard to water supply.

Section 9 gives power to close the gap between the public water supply and the private connection. That is something that does remedy a deficiency in previous legislation and it will be very welcome. Indeed, I know it was a problem in the neighbourhood of my own home in Cork. In Bishopstown, the problem was a very real one. I am glad that this, and similar problems, will be remedied by this provision.

In introducing the Bill, the Minister mentioned that he had two main objectives, and I should like now to deal with the section in relation to air pollution which is the second objective of the Bill. I should like to say straight away that I think it is a pity that the Minister in a single section in a Bill dealing with sanitary services saw fit to introduce this new legislation in regard to air pollution. It is a very great pity that the Minister did not introduce a separate Bill in regard to air pollution. The problem is an extremely important one and I would ask the Seanad to bear with me while I indicate the reasons why I think the problem is so important that it should be tackled in a separate measure, that the whole problem, indeed, should be tackled in a different manner from that in which the Minister has tackled it in this single section of this Sanitary Services Bill.

There is no doubt that air pollution is a serious problem. The first thing we have got to get into our minds is that it is a problem here and now in Ireland. It is not a question that it would become a problem after further industrialisation. Air pollution is already a problem in Ireland. The preliminary isolated samples that have been taken indicate that Dublin and Cork can be compared with the industrial cities of England, Scotland and Wales in regard to air pollution. Dublin and Cork show a degree of air pollution which can be compared with that in Coventry, Glasgow and Cardiff. We have got to realise then that we already have this problem of air pollution in our larger cities. We have got to realise that we have air pollution. We have got to realise the kind of atmosphere in which we are living. We have got to realise that the emission of smoke, grit, dust and noxious gases is something which has first, a permanent effect on health and, secondly, can have an epidemic effect on health.

One of the results of the industrial revolution in England during the last century was the fact that in the industrial towns many health problems arose. The disease of rickets, which is directly linked with air pollution, was known during the 19th century as "the English disease". We have in urban concentrated areas permanently higher rates of illness and incapacity from respiratory diseases. As we all know from reading of them from time to time, we can have epidemics, due to the question of air pollution, which are every bit as serious as epidemics from other causes. They have occurred all during this century.

In Glasgow, in 1909, there were 60 deaths; in Liege, in 1931, there were 64 deaths; in Donora, Pennsylvania, in 1948, in a population of 12,000—think of any town you know with a population of 12,000—there were 18 deaths within a couple of weeks, all directly attributable to air pollution. In 1952, in the London smog, there were 4,000 deaths directly attributable to air pollution. We can see in regard to this London outbreak that no worse epidemic has occurred in London since the early years of the last century than this outbreak attributable to smog other than the cholera epidemic in 1854 and the influenza epidemic of 1918 and 1919.

We need not think we are exempted here. Recently, in reading some American literature on this subject, I was rather shocked to find, among the list of cities where there was a direct connection between fog, smog and respiratory diseases, that Dublin was mentioned as one of the cities in which the link had been definitely established.

Not only has this an effect on human beings but it has also an effect in the smaller towns on animals and also on plants. Indeed the respiratory disease due to the London smog of 1952 was first diagnosed in prize cattle which were in London for the Smithfield Show.

The position is that there is a permanent effect. Indeed, even the deconcentration of factories may not avoid this problem completely. It is a problem that affects not only health but many other factors. Indeed, a commission in England has reckoned that air pollution in Britain in 1954 cost the nation £250,000,000. That was the calculated sum of the direct costs which could be directly attributed to air pollution.

The first point then is that this is a severe problem and that it is a problem that exists in this country. The second point to be remembered is that air pollution can be controlled. Dark smoke can be avoided. Indeed, dark smoke can be avoided by the proper use of fuel. Every time the emission of dark smoke is reduced, it means that fuel is being more efficiently burned. Indeed, the saving in fuel consumption, it has been found, more than repays any work done in order to prevent this dark smoke emission.

With regard to diesel smoke from which we all suffer, we have all had the experience of travelling behind a diesel lorry belching out black smoke mile after mile, very often making us anxious to take an undue risk in trying to pass out the lorry and get away from the diesel smoke. Diesel engines, if properly maintained, properly serviced and properly driven, need not emit smoke except, possibly, when starting off.

Grit and dust can be removed but only at considerable expense. That brings me to the approach which the Minister has made in the Bill. The Minister has in this section of the Bill indicated that he intends to move in regard to the control of industrial pollution. I would ask the Minister to remember that, while air pollution costs the nation money, the cost of controlling air pollution, which is apparently going to fall completely on individual industries, is itself tremendous. To reduce the emission of grit and dust, to get proper removal, involves an expenditure which may amount to 10 per cent. of the total cost of the whole industrial plant.

This is a tremendous burden for any industry to bear. It is a tremendous burden to ask any industry in times of increasing competition to add ten per cent. on to the cost of new buildings in order to ensure that there will be proper control of air pollution. The higher standards are fixed for air pollution, the higher this cost will be.

If, for example, a certain plant could remove 75 per cent. of the grit and dust and the Minister requires that to be increased to 85 per cent., to go from 75 per cent. to 85 per cent. removal will cost three times the amount of money. The plant required to go from 85 per cent. to 90 per cent. removal will cost five times as much as the plant that would give 75 per cent. removal. This would be and will be a tremendous burden upon industry.

Now I come to this point: the Minister should realise that industry is not the only offender and the preponderating offender in regard to air pollution. It is already on record in regard to such investigations as have been made of air pollution in this country that 50 per cent. of air pollution in Ireland comes from domestic chimneys. These chimneys do not emit dark smoke as villainous-looking as the smoke from industrial chimneys but they do emit it at a lower level and it can be equally dangerous. The Minister should realise that this is a problem of which the industrial part is only half.

In tackling the problem, not only must the Minister recognise this but he must also recognise that the problem is one which may be a great burden on industry. For that reason, the Minister, in regard to air pollution should take every care to have full consultation with industry. That is why I regret very much that the new legislation on air pollution, welcome as it is, should have been introduced in the way it has been introduced; that it should have been a section in a Sanitary Services Bill; that it should have been one section of a Bill with something like fifteen sections in it and that it should have been introduced by the Minister when it takes up only two paragraphs in the introductory speech he made on this Sanitary Services Bill.

The Minister would have been better advised if, before introducing any legislation, he had sought not only advice but, what is much more important than that, the active co-operation of industry. If the Minister had issued a White Paper describing the problem, what was known in regard to it in this country and then invited industry and others interested and then following this, if he had come with a separate Bill, that, I think, would have been a better start to this problem. It is only by co-operation that anything can be done in this regard. Only a public authority can enforce the law in regard to air pollution but it is only a private industry or a private householder who can abate air pollution.

Here we have the old problem as regards somebody who wants to enforce a standard and somebody else who has to pay for that standard to be enforced. I would urge the Minister, before he makes any attempt to make regulations under this Bill, to have the fullest possible consultation with industry on these points. If this co-operation is not secured, the legislation which the Minister is seeking now and the regulations which he will issue under it will be merely punitive legislation against industry.

There are some minor points in regard to the way in which the section is drafted but it is more proper to leave that for discussion on the section during the Committee Stage. The vital point is that this must be a co-operative effort, that the Minister must move not on his own but that the Minister and industry must move together. It is not enough to say the Minister will consult the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Having the goodwill of the Minister for Industry and Commerce is not enough. There must be goodwill, understanding and complete co-operation from industry which will have to pay for what is provided in this section.

For these reasons, I regret that the new legislation on air pollution which is so terribly necessary and so very welcome has come in this manner. I feel the Minister has taken a slightly false step here in the beginning and I hope he will be very quick to redress that and to have the fullest possible consultation. A great tribute should be paid to those industries in Ireland who at considerable expense have already installed plant in order to reduce air pollution in the absence of any legislation that could compel them.

I welcome this Bill for what it does in furthering the provision of water supplies and sewerage in rural areas and for the fact that it makes a start in regard to modern legislation on air pollution.

I wish to compliment the Minister on bringing in this very good Bill. Since he became Minister for Local Government, he has exerted great pressure to get water supplies and sewerage into every house in the country. Naturally he came up against some difficulties in regard to legislation and in Section 2 of this Bill he has done a very good job by removing the restrictions which existed up to now that if a person wanted to instal water and sewerage, he had to go to the trouble of getting a certificate from the local authorities giving permission to do so. If there were any possibility of piped water or sewerage coming into that area, he could not get permission to instal private water and sewerage. Many people who tried to instal water and sewerage in those areas which were not convenient to the town were always being promised that the local authority would extend water and sewerage there but years and years have gone by and it has not been done.

I would say the Minister was disappointed with the progress made under the group schemes. There have been too many difficulties about getting group schemes going, which is a pity. Some of the group schemes failed because the advice given by engineers from the local authority and from the Department was that a large number of houses should be taken in. My idea about the group schemes was that if three or four houses cooperated, they could form a group scheme, that they could be supplied with water from the same well and with the same pump and make an arrangement about the charge. Apparently it did not work well. A great deal of local co-operation and organisation would be needed to get these group schemes going. There was always someone who would not go into the group scheme and that destroyed it.

I notice in Section 3 that the sanitary authority may give supplementary grants. I would suggest that instead of "may" it should be "must." Several sanitary authorities throughout the country did not give any supplementary grants for years and that held up progress in the reconstruction of houses and the installation of water and sewerage. For four years, the Westmeath County Council refused to give supplementary grants. The fact that local authorities did not give supplementary grants during that period put us back years. Even today, they would not be giving them but for the fact that the Minister made a very strong appeal to all local authorities last year to give these supplementary grants. It should be compulsory on all local authorities to give such grants.

Section 7 (11) defines a domestic water supply and according to that section water may not be used for washing a car or watering the garden. I do not know how the Minister will enforce that section. At the present time, a hose or plastic tubing is very easily obtained and if a person connects that to the tap in the kitchen or in the scullery and puts it out through the window to wash a car, I am quite certain he would not be caught in the act. I never like to see anything in a Bill which cannot be enforced and I am afraid that section of the Bill will never be enforced.

Section 8 gives compulsory powers to make people connect with the public water or sewerage. If it is necessary to go through some other person's land to do so, the local authority may do it and compensate the owners for the land. I should like to know who will pay for that. Is it the local authority, the Department or the owner of the house that is connected?

Section 9 deals with air pollution which Senator Dooge has gone into very fully. There is a provision I should like to see in the Bill, that is, a provision dealing with pollution of streams which is very common where bad septic tanks have been installed. People who have not looked for grants have put in sewerage equipment which is really a danger to health. Some action should be taken against people who instal such bad septic tanks and thus pollute streams. There are several cases of it in my area and I suggest there should be some provision in a Bill of this kind to stop it.

The contribution made by Senator Dooge was a very welcome one in that its constructive character may be of help to us as we are at the moment working on further consolidation of our sanitary services legislation. That contribution can be of considerable benefit to us in the Department of Local Government during the months ahead. I should like to say that this consolidation, as is probably well understood, represents a considerably wide problem and while we have been working on it for a fairly lengthy period quite an amount of work has yet to be done. While our object is that a consolidating Bill may emerge in the not too distant future, I am reluctant to predict the exact date but I do assure the House it will be introduced with all possible expedition.

There has been a reference to my supposed conversion to the idea of regional group schemes and private schemes. I should like to say I never had to be converted in this matter. In fact, I have been pushing the approach on these fronts from the very outset. I had always been in favour of such a solution even before there was a means of attaining it. The explanation of this misunderstanding, as Senator Dooge has said, from the attitude of some who were opposing the idea of water and sewerage for all of our people, is that in the flurry of excitement many things become confused, including the alleged attitude of the Minister for Local Government.

I have never had any other idea than that of solving this problem, even if the solution of it required the absolute and utmost effort of the private individual, group initiative and the fullest co-operation of the local authorities in conjunction with my Department. If my reiteration of that fact helps to clarify the views of the Department of Local Government, I am very glad the matter should have been raised in order that I should have the opportunity of confirming that this has been, and will continue to be, the only sane approach to the provision of water for rural Ireland which is the aim of all of us.

The question of loans to groups and the consequences of default on the part of members of a group has been raised. I am afraid we may be looking at two different aspects of this matter. As I see it from what little experience I have had, the need for this guarantee loan has arisen to a large degree in respect of groups who propose to carry out schemes costing perhaps £5,000, and during the course of the construction of the scheme a sizeable amount of money is involved which is recoverable to a large degree by grants from the Department and the local authority. That type of accommodation will be only of very short duration and will be very secure in that the allocation of a grant is very often accepted by the local bank manager and the local builders' providers as adequate security for materials delivered on site.

If one person enters into a commitment to repay a loan in respect of his portion of the cost of a group scheme and that person defaults, it has been said the other members of that group are penalised if, as a result of the defalcation, the local authority go to compulsorily acquire the entire scheme. It is not our belief that individuals should enter into individual contracts where a group scheme is in progress. The system should be that one or two persons become the spokesmen or, shall we say, the trustees of the group and facilities for loans and advances may be made if within the group they have their own internal apportionment of the amount of loan that is made available for the group and it is not for the local authorities to differentiate between one or other members of that group.

The default will be in respect of the group even though the contract may have been initiated by one person. The group acts as a unit and if there is a default ultimately it must be regarded as the default of the group rather than any small part of it. It is better that it should be like that because otherwise local authorities just could not operate this guarantee loan scheme at all because it would be too cumbersome with small amounts of money creating a lot of bother, and they would just throw the whole thing overboard because it would become a nuisance. The Senator who mentioned the matter and the other members of the House will, I hope, appreciate it is not at all an unfair position in which to place the group.

The question was also raised of the definition of sewage disposal and as to whether the Bill as now introduced covers both the treatment and disposal of sewage. As far as I am advised, Section 6 covers the matter in full. Under that section both the treatment and the disposal of sewage are adequately covered so that there are no grounds for the fears expressed by the Senator who raised this matter.

One of the outstanding suggestions Senator McAuliffe made is one which naturally appeals to me as a Minister for Local Government trying to push a scheme such as we have at the moment in regard to water supplies for rural Ireland. He thought it would be a good idea to have it made compulsory for local authorities to give supplementary grants. That would appeal to me as Minister but, personally, it would not appeal to me. It would just have the very opposite effect to that intended, to my mind, speaking as a former member of a local authority. If we are to get what we require from local authorities— their co-operation—by trying to make compulsory any outpayment of supplementary grants, while we would get the grants in many cases, we would lose their very valuable co-operation on the whole front. Any gain would be counterbalanced by the loss of the goodwill which I think we now have from our local authorities. For that reason, and for general reasons, I do not like imposing compulsory burdens on local authorities and we have not even now contemplated making payment of supplementary grants compulsory.

It is only right that I should acknowledge with very deep appreciation the effort made by our local authorities in the last year or two— particularly last year—in the matter of supplementary grants where heretofore they did not pay them. For many years, many local authorities did not pay housing or water and sewerage grants but I am glad that at present our local authorities have changed their attitude and how very few of the local authorities—speaking more of county councils than urban councils— are not paying supplementary grants for housing, reconstruction and repair and water and sewerage, particularly the latter? They have really improved the position very greatly and my thanks are due to them because without that new, willing approach on their part, our progress under the heading which we are now discussing would be very much slowed up.

The meaning of "domestic water" has been somewhat confused. This was so to a very great extent in the Dáil discussion. It was found necessary to define domestic water in this Bill because as the House is aware, urban district residents enjoy something which others do not enjoy—up to the present they are entitled to a free supply of water for domestic purposes. Outside the urban district, that is not so. We propose in the Bill to continue that advantage to the urban districts and that makes it necessary to define what they may not be charged for rather than putting a premium on what they may be charged for.

It has been pointed out that to connect a hose through the window to a tap in the kitchen and use it for some purpose outside may not be done in future but the fact is that at present it is actually illegal—an offence in law —without the consent of the sanitary authority so to connect a hose to a tap in the kitchen and use it for any purpose outside. What we now say in this Bill is that if you are using a hose in that way, the local authority may charge you for it. That applies to urban districts because of the advantage they have enjoyed over the years and which we propose to continue, of getting domestic water without special, extra charge. We are defining what they are entitled to get for nothing.

Some urban authorities at the moment charge a special rate for the use of the hose; the nearest one I can recall is An Uaimh, County Meath. Nobody has really suggested that any great disadvantage has resulted. In other places, where probably there is an adequate water supply, the use of a hose has not been subject to a charge. If a local authority propose to continue that practice, there is nothing in the Bill to compel them to do otherwise, but if they wish to make a charge, they have the power to do so. The Bill does not remove the illegality there was in the use of a hose under the old Act, but if you use it, the local authority may now make a special charge for it.

Possibly quite a lot could be said for the approach of Senator Dooge in regard to air pollution, that the subject is so important that it should have been a separate Bill rather than a small part of the Sanitary Services Bill. I agree on the question of its importance, but as regards its being a separate Bill, obviously I have not agreed as it is part of this Bill. It should be pointed out, however, that this is just a start in attempting to grapple with what has been and will become a problem in future, air pollution, and all the consequences that follow. Our experience, gained from the powers we are taking in this Bill, will be a guide in the future and if experience shows a different approach to be necessary—a more elaborate statute perhaps—the knowledge we have gained from the operation of the sections in this Bill will help us more authoritatively to approach the matter in future.

As the Senator said, industry could carry quite a considerable burden if air pollution laws were to be enforced for the abatement of smoke, gases, grit and other substances. The requirement in the Bill to consult with the Minister for Industry and Commerce is not merely an empty formula. It is placed there designedly so that not only shall my Department have the goodwill of the Minister for Industry and Commerce but that he will, through his officers and experts and his contact with industry, be able to advise us on the consequences that might follow something which would seem good to us but which could, in fact, be ruinous for some industry or industries.

In addition to those safeguards, I mentioned in the Dáil that we think there is very good reason for setting up consultative bodies and advisory bodies and committees to consider the various aspects of the matter. That is something to which I am giving consideration, and if it holds out a hope of improving what we have in mind, and providing safeguards where safeguards are needed, we may set up a number of advisory bodies of specialists in their own field to deal with the particular approach to the problem affecting a particular group in the community.

While I mentioned industries specifically, it is not true to say that we are not unaware of, have forgotten, or are ignoring the fact that 50 per cent. of the pollution is caused not by industrial use or abuse but rather by domestic use, by fires and flues and so on. If we can pinpoint the problem in our growing industrial atmosphere, and if we can get steps taken to avoid pollution when an industry is being established, that would be the most economic way of having the job done, as well as being the least irritating to the industrialist. A great deal could be done in the building and equipping of factories and we could, as it were, forestall the pollution that might be caused. In that way we could cut down the cost of abating the nuisance.

We are fully alive in the Department to the idea of full consultation with the various industries. All will agree that it would defeat our ends if we were to take some precipitate step on the question of the abatement of air pollution which would have the effect of souring the people whose goodwill we must have. I can assure the Senator who raised the matter, and the House, and the industrialists concerned, that the Department wish for the fullest co-operation and understanding of the problem. We wish to approach the matter together rather than from the opposite direction. If we do it in that way, we will find that we will be able to make a dent in this difficult problem and, indeed, go a long way towards wiping it out altogether.

Is the Minister aware that when there was a change of Government, many of the local authorities dropped the supplementary grants? Is he also aware that something like that might arise again if there were a change of Government?

Only if there is a change of Government.

There could be.

Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take remaining Stages today.
Bill considered in Committee.
Section 1 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 2 stand part of the Bill."

I understand that at present if a person wishes to instal water for domestic use, for toilet facilities, et cetera, if he is not more than 100 feet from the water main he will not qualify for the grant. If such is the case, a person who is anxious to instal those facilities—and there may be a number of people together: the main may be passing by a group of houses or a single house—and if he is not over 100 feet from the main, he will not qualify for the grant.

I submit to the Minister that here is an opportunity of putting that matter right. I know one man in County Cork who has made an application for a grant. He is not sure but he thinks he is on the 100 feet mark. He thinks he is just inside it. He is anxious to have those facilities but if he is inside it, he is out under the present regulations. He is just an example. We now have an opportunity to put such shortcomings right. I would ask the Minister to give us his views on that matter.

The position at the moment is, and has been for the past couple of years, that under the law we were practically debarred from paying the grant if the distance from the premises in question to the nearest sewer or water main were less than 100 feet. I might add that, up to 1960, no grants were paid by anyone for connection to the public water main or sewer, but, in 1960, we brought in this because we felt that its reasonable use in the application of these grants could further the extension of the all-over plan and, indeed, add to its economics, and that a greater number would be served, whatever the expenditure already incurred had been. As I say, the limitation in the law remains, and up to the moment we are practically debarred from paying any grant for anything within 100 feet of a water main.

In this Bill, that debarment, as it were, is disappearing, which means that the Minister of the day may, under whatever administrative regulations it may be necessary to draw up, pay where the distance is under 100 feet. That is not to say that he will pay, but he is not debarred from paying. The Minister will have a freer hand to utilise the grants to the best advantage. If it seems to us in the Department that it is to our advantage generally, and to a furtherance of our policy, to pay grants when the distance is shorter than 100 feet, we will do so. The great likelihood is that whether or not the grant is paid we will relate it rather to the cost of the job than the distance from the main. That probably would have greater appeal than the present situation.

Costs can be very high within 100 feet of the main and, on the other hand, they can be very low. They vary widely, depending on subsoil and other difficulties encountered in sinking and laying pipes. We have power in future to pay within these limits whereas heretofore we were debarred. We are changing the law in that way with a view to paying, if we see fit, within that limit. Furthermore, to relate it to costs rather than to distance would be a very much better idea.

I should like the Minister to explain the position to me. In my county we have eight or ten rural villages. Over the past 20 years the local authority provided houses in each of those villages. There are 50 or 60 houses in some of them and up to 200 houses in others. Water and sewerage services are available in most of these villages now but the people living in the local authority houses are not able, of their own resources, to connect to the main water supply which has been provided for their advantage.

Some few years ago, the County Engineer made a survey of the number of those people who availed of the water supply scheme. We found that only about 5 per cent. of the total number of people in those houses have done so. When the Minister talks about grants for the installation of water, would he agree to give a grant to help the people whom I have in mind? Most of them are working men. Many of them are agricultural labourers who cannot, from their own resources, connect to the water supply.

Will the provisions of this Bill give these people any financial assistance or encouragement to avail of the supply? In my opinion, it is a great loss that, after providing the water scheme, the people most in need of the facilities are not able to avail of them.

Subsection (1) refers to "persons"—moneys provided by the Oireachtas to "persons". I notice the White Paper circulated with the Bill says that Section 2 empowers the Minister to make grants to persons either singly or in groups. The section of the Bill itself makes no reference to groups. I take it that the use of the word "persons" covers what the Minister intends.

My second point concerns installation in dwellinghouses. I have in mind the problem of temporary structures at the seaside. With the five-day week and the greater value that is attached to leisure, there will be an increasing tendency for people to acquire or to build temporary structures at the sea-side or in the country, as is the case in Continental countries, I believe. Are the provisions of this Bill intended to cover such dwellings? They would not be what we would normally consider as dwelling houses. They would be temporary dwellinghouses or structures. It is very desirable that water and sewerage facilities should be connected to such structures.

My third point concerns what are termed labourers' cottages: I hate that term myself but it is the term used. In future, when local authorities build such dwellings they should avoid scattering them around the countryside. It makes the cost of installing water and sewerage facilities exorbitant. In addition, the people living in those dwellings are far away from the church, schools, shops and social centres. That is bad policy. I hope the Minister will use his influence with local authorities in future in regard to building of that kind.

Section 2 empowers the Minister to pay grants for the provision of water and sewerage facilities. I wonder if the Minister is satisfied that the amount of the grant is sufficient? There is no incentive in the Bill in relation to the installation of a hot water supply. The provision of a hot water supply in the home is much more expensive than the provision of a cold water supply.

Under the old Housing Acts, grants were available in respect of the reconstruction of houses without a new roof and people waited for a minimum number of years to apply for a further reconstruction grant. I always thought there was a certain amount of wastage of public money in that regard. I am inclined to think that the day will come when pressure will be put on the Department of Local Government and on local authorities to increase the grants because a hot water supply is important.

The section makes provision for the lowest common denominator of service. Quite a lot of people, when attempting to do work, develop a certain amount of enthusiasm out of their own——

They do, in fact, provide hot water.

You cannot heat the water.

You cannot heat the water: that is true. I think there should be some lead——

There may be some heat at times.

I do not interrupt the Senator. He should control his mirth a wee bit. It is rather early in the morning to feel so merry. I trust the Minister will keep my point in mind. In any local authority area where no supplementary grant is paid in respect of water and sewerage facilities the grant by the Department of Local Government will not go very far towards helping people who are pretty hard pressed. They would find it very difficult to complete the work without a supplementary grant from the local authority.

The Minister should have a look at this matter. If there is an increase in the volume of grants, I trust some incentive will be given to people in rural areas to instal a hot water system.

Another point I want to mention is the individual water supply. I believe that people should be led. The Minister has done a great job in leading private people in rural areas to instal their own water and sewerage facilities. I do not believe that the local authority should do this, that and the other. There is nothing to beat self-reliance. If we expect too much from local authorities we shall create problems for them and expect them to carry out duties which they will not be fit to discharge.

If there are scattered houses in a rural area, lying about a mile apart, it would be practically impossible for the local authority to provide piped water and sewerage facilities. It is far better to leave the people to do these things themselves. Even if the construction work could be done at great cost, the maintenance of such work would be so great that the game would not be worth the candle. I could envisage a situation arising such as we had last winter when, due to weather conditions, it was virtually impossible to prevent bursts. If the local authority were to have responsibility for maintaining these facilities over scattered areas, they would require to have at least two local authority workers in each house.

The Minister's attitude in leading people to provide these works themselves is highly commendable. They will have a better interest in them and they will be their own private property. If we were to go too far, particularly in rural areas, in providing these facilities, we would tend to destroy that self-reliance which is inherent in our people. I often wonder if the value of rain water in rural areas has been brought home sufficiently to our people.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

There is nothing about rain water in this section.

The Senator has water on the brain.

I trust I will relate my remarks to the section.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I shall see.

Rain water is the same water as we had since the world first began. Because of this purification process of evaporation and condensation and falling to the earth again, we ultimately get spring water, but it has never been fully realised that it is the same water. I agree that it does not arise under this Bill but the value of catching rain water in rural areas has never been brought properly home to our people. It has many advantages in so far as it is not contaminated with, say, alkaline which has the effect of furring up pipes. Rain water, when properly stored, is a valuable and desirable commodity.

Táim ar aon aigne cuid mhór leis an Seanadóir Ó Raghallaigh i gcás uisce a sholáthar do mhuintir na tuaithe agus a chur ortha nó a theagasc dóibh conas an gnó a dhéanamh ar a son féin agus gan bheith ag brath ar an rialtas áitiúla. Ach, tá ceist nó dó agamsa ar an alt seo. Tá tagairt do "dwellinghouses". Cuir i gcás anois gur tí feirmeora a bheadh i gceist. An é an dwellinghouse amháin a bheadh i gceist ins an gcás san nó an mbeadh aon caoi aige go mbeadh údarás agus ceart aige an t-uisce san d'úsáid i gcóir a chuid beithigh i dtí na mbó nó i gcúinne páirce? Sin ceist a eireoidh ar ball. Má bhaineann sé leis an dwellinghouse amháin beidh ceist costais breise nó éileamh costais ar an taobh nuadh de chun uisce a sholáthair dá chuid beithigh seachas bheith ag tiomáint na mbó ceathrú míle go dtí tobar nó abhann in aice leo. Sin ceist a eireoidh agus ní h-aon díobháil go mbeadh léiriú air.

Tá fhios agam má bhíonn monarchan nó rud ag an duine go mbeidh táille ar leith le díol as an uisce a úsáidtear ach an mbeidh sé le díol ag an feirmeoir a chuireann uisce ar fáil dá mbó agus dá chapall agus na h-ainmhidhthe eile i dtí na mbó nó i stábla an chapaill nó i gcúinne den pháirc timpeall in aice an tighe?

Tá an cheist céanna maidir le daoine a chuireann ar bun pumpa sa tithe aca fhéin. Tá cuid mhaith feirmeora á dhéanamh anois ó tháinig an aibhleise nó an leictreachas go dtí na tithe. Tá siad ag suncháil pumpa agus ag tarraingh an uisce go dtí pé áit in a maith leo é—an teach príobháideach, teach na mbó, an stábla, agus áiteanna eile. Is dóigh go bhfuil an cheart i bpáirt ag an Seanadóir Ó Raghallaigh nuair a deireann sé gur cheart gríosadh a dhéanamh ar daoine príomháideacha a soláthar féin a dhéanamh, go mór mór má tá siad in fhaid-shlighe ó'n bpíob mór a iomprann uisce don cheanntar ar fad agus ba cheart go mbeadh cabhair ar fáil aca san chun a leithéid sin a chur ar bun agus gan a bheith ag tarraingt breis costais chun ceangail a dhéanamh ar thaid-shlighe leis an bpíob mór. Ba cheart gríosadh a dhéanamh ar go mór mhór feirmeoirí fé'n dtuaith go mbíonn ainmhithe aca agus gá le uisce úsáid taobh amuigh den tí cónuithe.

Ba mhaith an rud é sin a léiriú agus is dóigh liom go gcuirfidh an t-eolas sin misneach ar daoine dul chun cinn dóibh féin.

Like other Senators, I welcome this Bill because I believe the provision of water and sewerage facilities in this modern age is long overdue. While we are dealing with Section 2, I have a point which may or may not be appropriate to it but I feel that at some stage I should mention it. Everybody realises the importance of water and sewerage and while I congratulate the Minister on the efforts he is making to provide these facilities, I should like to refer to the houses at present being erected by the Irish Land Commission——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I am afraid I cannot allow the Senator to discuss that point.

They are excellent houses but they are not provided with water and sewerage facilities. Recently, we had a study group in Gormanston with people from many Continental countries. They were taken around by the Land Commission to see these houses. I felt it was a great pity that such excellent houses, designed for people whose future would be farming, had no water or sewerage provided. The Department of Lands should keep in step with the Department of Local Government in providing water and sewerage facilities for their houses.

One question which has been asked is whether the grants being paid are sufficient. It is not stated in the Bill what the amount of the grants will be in the future. I have already indicated that it is not proposed to change the amount of the grants payable at present. In answer to the question whether they are sufficient or not, we have some broad figures, which I think show that the grants at present provide an incentive. In regard to individual private applications, we have an average total cost of £100 each, of which we pay up to £50.

The local authority can pay up to two-thirds of the remainder, with the remaining one-third falling on the beneficiary. In the case of group schemes, the average is about £150. We pay £50 in this case and the local authority in practically every case pays £50 also. The amount falling to be paid by the beneficiary is in the region of £50. That is not always in cash, however, because the applicant's labour counts for probably as much as, if not more than the £50. We have to take into consideration that the labour contribution in these water schemes can become a large part of the total cost. In general, the rate of applications and allocations at the moment shows that the present grants are attracting a large number of applications.

As I said, we are not stating what the amount of grant will be in the future. But if circumstances in the future warrant an increase in the amount of the grant, it will not be necessary to bring in an amendment to this Bill. It will be possible to do it by providing the money in the Vote for the Department of Local Government and making a regulation increasing the amounts.

I have been asked about our attitude to temporary dwellings and whether the word "dwellings" makes our intentions sufficiently clear. The word "dwellings" is used in this section in order to allow the widest possible scope in the application of these grants by enabling the Minister, by regulation, to say what kind of dwelling qualifies. That does not mean, of course, that temporary moveable structures such as caravans and so on will be included. We just could not contemplate giving grants for moveable dwellings of a temporary nature. But that is not to say we do not encourage the provision of services for such temporary dwellings, wherever they are available. The by-laws will take care of that, however, and it is not a matter for discussion on this Bill.

Houses in seaside resorts, which are permanent structures but which may not be occupied throughout the year, will not be excluded. They are permanent structures in sea-side resorts where you may have large populations for a long period of the year. It is, therefore, desirable that they be encouraged to have these services wherever possible, even though they may not be occupied throughout the year.

Grants may be paid in respect of vested and unvested cottages. There is provision in the section that the grant, where necessary, can be paid direct to the local authority, who would, in fact, have done the work, and local authorities are empowered, in addition, to make supplementary grant payments. Therefore, the difficulty cannot arise of persons in council houses not being able to do the work, with the result that it remains undone. If a charge is to be made, it is to be made by the local authority, who will be able to recoup themselves to some extent for what they have paid out. On the other hand, the local authority are empowered not to make any charge if they feel the applicant is not able to pay. That is a facility which, I am sure, our local authorities will use with the utmost discretion in order to encourage as many as possible to avail of these services.

The other question posed here was whether a private water supply to a house, presumably connected to a scheme made available with the assistance of grants, could be availed of for farmyard and farm uses. There would be no reason, other than that of the availability of supply, why such scheme could not be used in the farmyard or, if necessary, in the fields. In fact, such extensions of water supplies are encouraged by the Department of Agriculture through their special farmyard and farm grants. That does not mean, of course, that these additional uses will be available free of charge. The local authorities in the rural areas outside the urban boundaries will be entitled to make any charge they see fit for the use of water supplies from a public source. It is an entirely different matter if the water is from a private source. In such cases, the persons concerned would be entitled to do as they wished, so long as a supply was available.

The matter of unserviced houses erected by the Land Commission does not arise on this Bill. I can assure Senator Fitzgerald, however, that it is a matter I have had quite a lot to say about. I shall continue until what I say bears fruit and we have in the future serviced houses built by all concerned in accordance with our housing policy. Those were, I think, the general matters raised.

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

I was glad to hear that county councils have come in and given supplementary grants as a result of the appeal made to them by the Minister. The Minister said, however, that there are some who have not done so, and who refused to do so. I think it is a bad thing that any particular council should be allowed to stay out and not meet their obligations in this matter. Under this section, a local authority may collect rates after a seven year period. I hold that those authorities which gave no aid of any kind should have no right whatsoever to collect rates.

I think what I have to say really arises on the next section.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Does the Senator think it would be more appropriate on Section 4?

I will make the point now: I shall not be long. I should like to know from the Minister —there is some doubt about it— whether purchasers of vested cottages will be eligible for grants. A number of people at the moment are anxious to own their cottages. I think they should be entitled to the grant.

These people, as I have already said, are all entitled to the grants. That applies to both vested and unvested cottages and there will be no problem in the future at all. With regard to the collection of rates, where a local authority paid no supplementary grants, it is the position today that there is no county in the country where the local authority are not paying these supplementary grants for water and sewerage. Now that they have all come in, I think we should accept the situation.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 4 and 5 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 6 stand part of the Bill."

I was very glad to have the Minister's assurance that the operation of loans and guarantees to groups would not be such that one person's default would tend to penalise the whole group. I am happy that the point I raised is fully met if the schemes are carried out in this particular way.

I am also glad that the Minister has been advised that sewage disposal covers the question of treatment as well. I would suggest, however, that on the consolidation of sanitary services legislation the matter should be put beyond all doubt by referring, in the appropriate place, to the question of "drainage, or sewage treatment, or sewage disposal." Then there could be no possible doubt about coverage.

There was a third point on this particular section in regard to the area which could be considered as governing the statutory defence in relation to the question of public health or the provision of adequate services from the point of view of water or drainage. Is the Minister in a position now to say what the intention is, whether the area is the area of the group scheme or the whole area of the sanitary authority? Has the Minister been specifically advised that the section does read in accordance with his intention?

The question is as to whether a compulsory purchase order or procedure applies only to the area served by the system that is proposed to be acquired or whether it embraces a wider area. Most emphatically, it embraces a wider area, if and where that is necessary, on the grounds already stated. An instance that could arise, and this is something I have been most insistent we should cover, is a group scheme taking in, for instance, a valley or a glen; I would know something more about this than many of the speakers here.

You could have a group scheme covering all those reasonably convenient at the mouth of a valley or glen and you could have one, two, or three people relatively isolated at the other end of the valley or glen who, for their own economic reasons, would have not come in in the group scheme initially because it was not attractive to them from a financial point of view. Later, a public line might come through in fairly close proximity to the mouth of the valley or glen. The only way in which water could be brought to those isolated further up the glen would be by way of an extension of the existing network of the private scheme tied in to a branchline of the public scheme to boost the pressure. It is that type of case we are concerned about and it is, no doubt, a case which will arise. It is bound to arise.

It is from that point of view that we must have regard to covering an area greater than the immediate area of supply. It will arise only where it is in the interests of people who have not enjoyed the benefits of a scheme heretofore because they could not, by their own efforts, avail of any private scheme. This is the only way then in which water could be given to all the people in a particular locality. It is in that general context we need to operate and to give ourselves room so to operate.

I fully agree with the Minister that these cases should be covered. The only worry I had was that the section, as drafted, might allow the sanitary authority to seek acquisition for the purpose of minor economy or minor convenience of operation. Is the Minister perfectly satisfied that the term "purpose of improved sewage facilities or water supplies" would exclude mere matters of economy and convenience of operation and that, in fact, the term is restricted in that it will apply only where there was either a difficulty in regard to a particular area in getting a supply, or of having a highly uneconomic supply, or having a supply connected with an existing private scheme?

I am quite satisfied that this section will not be abused. I am not merely relying on the interpretation of the words in the section because, in the last analysis, it is the Minister for Local Government who will determine whether it applies.

Or a High Court judge on circuit?

They have an opportunity either way.

In the case of a group scheme, if there were an adequate water supply but not on the land of a person who was willing to co-operate, has the Minister authority under the Act compulsorily to acquire that source of supply?

No, the Minister would not have any such power. The local authority have the power but it would no longer, in that eventuality, be a private group scheme. It would have to become an adopted public scheme, as it were, by the local authority.

That would be one of the main obstacles to many of these group schemes. I found in a few cases where people were trying to get a group scheme going in the past, the people who had the main water supply, when asked to co-operate, were not satisfied to do so and neither were they satisfied to allow the remainder of the group to take the water. It is absolutely essential to have the water supply in regard to the whole scheme.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 7 stand part of the Bill."

I should like to assure the Minister straight away that I have no intention of washing my car or watering my roses. In regard to this section, I should like to raise this point. In endeavouring to get the definition here of a domestic water supply, the Minister has drawn the definition tight. I wonder if he has not drawn it just a bit too tightly? We have in subsection (II): "ordinary household purposes (for example, drinking, washing and sanitation)." The first point I should like to raise is the rather unusual use of the phrase "for example" and I should like to ask the Minister what is the intention. This appears to be an attempt to draw the knot tighter than it would be if the more usual construction were used.

There is another point I should like to raise in regard to the definition. If you look at paragraph (d) which refers to central heating, I think you will find that a supply for central heating is excluded "other than central heating for a dwelling-house". I take it that by being excluded from the exclusion "central heating of a dwelling-house" is domestic, is an ordinary household purpose. Is that correct?

That is correct.

If you had not added paragraph (d) and merely had the original line 31 "ordinary household purposes (for example, drinking, washing and sanitation)", I wonder, if that stood without paragraph (d), whether the central heating of a dwelling-house would have been part of the domestic use of water so defined? One could argue that it would be a household purpose. One could argue that it would be a household purpose not excluded by the phrase: "for example, drinking, washing and sanitation" but can one in Ireland in 1962 talk of water for central heating as an ordinary household purpose? I think it is an exceptional household purpose. It is something that is not done in the ordinary house. It is something that is not done in the normal way.

I just raise the point because from my reading of the section it would appear on first sight that the very tight construction or drafting of "ordinary household purposes (for example, drinking, washing and sanitation)" would ordinarily have excluded such a use as water for central heating purposes. I am worried, even though the water for central heating is saved by its exclusion from the exclusion, that, perhaps, there are other bona fide household purposes which would be excluded by the way in which this particular subsection is drafted.

Would the Minister not think that the word "reasonable" instead of "ordinary household purposes" would make it more acceptable?

I think that would be a bad suggestion. It would mean water for a purpose which was an ordinary purpose but which a person might be precluded from using if he used too much water for an ordinary purpose. "Ordinary" is a better word than "reasonable".

There is nothing to prevent you drawing water by bucket into a garden or to wash your car. You can draw as many buckets of water as you wish. That is no offence. It is an offence to attach a hose to a tap. I think that is a very peculiar provision. I do not know how you will ensure that the regulations are carried out unless you have a lot of water inspectors going round the country.

The use of water for central heating is a domestic use nowadays. Central heating is in every house now.

Where the Senator lives.

I do not want to get involved in the legal definitions of various words that to the ordinary layman might mean one and the same thing or so near to it that we do not quibble about it. I am advised that the use of the phrase "for example" in this section, though unusual, is, in fact, less restrictive than would be the word suggested. That is what I am advised. Probably some of my legal friends will disagree but then they would not be in the legal profession if they all agreed.

With regard to the point made by Senator McAuliffe, all of us have seen sprinklers on some of the lawns in the city. They are needlessly left on. It would not surprise me if they were left on when people go on holidays so that the lawns will be fresh and green when they came back. There are those kind of abuses. Connecting a hose and taking it to the garden is a very different thing altogether from the number of buckets of water you are going to carry out and use in the garden. The use of a hose without consent up to and including the present is illegal. When this Bill is passed, if a hose is to be used in the future within the confines of an urban boundary it may be charged for. There is no compulsion on any local authority to charge. They will use their own discretion and wisdom. Senator McAuliffe's observation in regard to the inspectors is far removed from what the practical approach will be. The new law will probably be less weighty and less restrictive on the public in urban areas than it is at present.

In fact, it authorises its use but one must pay for it.

He may be asked to pay for it.

It is up to the local authority to decide that.


Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 8 stand part of the Bill."

If compulsory connection to the sewerage supply means the laying of pipes on land that does not belong to the owner of the premises concerned, the sanitary authority must lay the pipes on the land and compensate the owner of the land. I should like to know who will pay for that. Is it to be the person for whom the pipes were laid down or would it be the sanitary authority?

The local authority would be the people to pay in such a case because the essence of this section is that it must be possible for the person whom it is sought to connect compulsorily to be so connected. The sanitary authority can make it possible in the case stated by the Senator, whereas the private person might not be able to make it possible. Therefore, the sanitary authority would pay in such a case.

In regard to the appeal which is to the district court, should it not be to the Minister?

This matter was discussed quite lengthily in the Dáil. As I said then, there is something to be said for both approaches. The fact that we are introducing fines in this section is the prime reason for directing this matter of appeal to a court rather than to the Minister. Let me say, however, that we are in the process of further consolidating sanitary services laws. If we find in the interim, six or 12 months or whatever the time is, that this provision is not working well or is working to the detriment of the general policy or to the detriment of the public, then we can in the new Bill that will be coming before the House alter that provision as necessary.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 9 stand part of the Bill."

Under subsection (1), the sanitary authority may, if they think proper, provide or contribute to the cost of providing service pipes, both for water and for sewerage. Would the Minister say whether they may provide these and recover the cost in any way from the person for whom they are providing these facilities, that is, where they are providing a pipe which is within 100 feet of the dwelling house?

They may, by arrangement, in their own type of approved scheme.

By simple contract.

In a very simple way.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 10 stand part of the Bill."

This section deals with pollution of the atmosphere. I do not want to take in any way from what Senator Dooge said about what we ordinarily know about pollution when I talk about the question of smells. In certain areas in the southern part of this city, it is impossible at times for people to work because the smells are so bad that people actually become sick. This section refers to "injury to amenity from atmospheric pollutants". It seems to me that that obviously is an injury to the amenity of wholesome fresh air. I should like to have some assurance from the Minister that under this section he envisages making regulations which will deal not alone with pollution by smoke but the danger to amenity of fresh air by sickening smells from certain establishments.

I think we could nearly do without Section 10 in this Bill and accept Senator Dooge's suggestion to have a separate Bill dealing with air pollution. This section gives the Minister power to make various regulations and I think that that is something we should avoid. We have too much legislation by regulation at the moment. The procedure in regard to air pollution is not laid down properly in the Bill and the section as it stands is no addition to it.

I appreciate what the Minister said on the Second Stage, that it is the intention to co-operate as much as possible with industry in the further steps he intends to take in regard to air pollution. I should like to make a few comments on this section. In effect, subsections (3) to (9) allow for the mechanics, and the regulations are dealt with in subsection (1) and subsection (2). Subsection (1) allows the Minister to make regulations on any subject in regard to air pollution and in subsection (2) without prejudice to this generality, he proceeds to indicate certain directions.

One of the harmful things about this section is that the Minister has done this. Subsection (2) does nothing but reflects, what I am sure it reflects nintentionally, an anti-industrial ias. It has no reference to vehicles in it; it has no reference to ships; it has no reference to domestic pollution. If we look at the subsection, we will find also that it becomes so restricted that the Minister would, were he bringing in regulations, always bring them in under subsection (1). Paragraph (c) of subsection (2) refers to "specifying maximum concentrations of specified pollutants in the atmosphere". It does not refer to the measurement of specified pollutants on the ground and in fact we do not in ordinary practice measure pollution in the atmosphere itself.

The most important measurement we can make is of deposits on the ground. In subsection (2), there is mention only of the emission of pollutants into the atmosphere, with no reference whatsoever to the emission of flue gases from within the chimney stack. Subsection (2) is, to my mind, an undue restriction in many ways and I would urge the Minister, in his further dealings with this problem, to forget subsection (2) as it at present endeavours to deal with the matter. Were it not for the circumstances of time in which we are debating this Bill, I would try to impress on the Minister the necessity to remove this subsection. It adds nothing and it could create a most unfortunate impression.

It is a bad impression if we look at what happened in Britain. The old tendency there at the time of the public health Acts was to control industry and to provide no control of domestic pollution. We have now a complete reversal of the attitude and as a result of the provisions of the Clean Air Act, statutory defences have been written in for industry whereby industry for example can have a postponement of five years for adaptation. The smoke control areas which are a main means in Britain of controlling pollution of the atmosphere provide for the control of domestic chimney pollution and the Clean Air Act is now more strict on domestic users than on industrial concerns.

The whole of subsection (2) here is running counter to what has been the experience of legislation in Britain and to what is desirable from the point of view of making regulations under this Bill. I think also the Minister should consider leaving this subsection alone when he is making regulations, and bring in regulations under subsection (1). The position then would be that these matters could be debated fully in the House as if it were a Bill to solve this problem of polluted air. I submit that would be the best procedure. I would ask the Minister to forget the headings he has written for himself in subsection (2) to make a completely fresh start in any new legislation on this matter he may put before the House.

I should like to point out to Senator Dooge that subsection (2) does include, in paragraph (a), domestic smoke—the emission of any smoke, dust or grit. Later on in the same section, "premises" is stated to include a ship or vessel. The Road Traffic Act has got power for the control of smoke emission from vehicles and it is under that law vehicles will be dealt with. We have here included domestic smoke and also ships and vessels. Therefore, I do not agree that subsection (2) of this section is entirely directed to industry. There is no bias against industry in this section. I can assure the House we do understand the problems of industry in this matter and that we have given every consideration to that aspect. Therefore, there is no reason to fear that any bias against industry will be operated.

The Minister says "premises" is defined to include ships and vessels but surely that applies only to subsection (5) and not to subsection (2) which is the provision to which I object. Under the Road Traffic Act has the Minister got control of invisible gases emitted from vehicles because it is those invisible gases which cause carcinoma, the cause of cancer?

Has the Minister forgotten about the question I raised about smell?

I had not. There did not seem to be an unreasonable smell at the moment.

It is his dinner he would like to smell at the moment.

In respect to the smells and odours which the Senator has mentioned, they are covered at the moment by regulations governing offensive trades of which I feel sure the Senator has some knowledge—not of the offensive trades but of the regulations. It may be that as we get experience of this matter, we may have to come along to the House in the not too distant future to remedy any defects we find—I feel we will find them — in the present system — and if there are aspects which require more definite treatment, we shall probably include a more specific reference to them. In so far as Senator Dooge's reference to premises including ships and vessels is concerned I can assure him it will apply to ships and vessels in the same way as it will to premises in the ordinary meaning of the word.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 11 to 15, inclusive, agreed to.
Schedule agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment and received for final consideration.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

Cúpla focal beag i dtaobh an Bhille. Ní raibh aon trácht ar an sórt uisce atá i gceist againn a mbeidh ar fáil ar fúd na tíre uile—an bhfuil uisce ionólta i gceist againn, an gnáth uisce atá againn anseo nó an t-uisce as na portaigh, uisce a mbeadh locht air mar gheall ar sláinte? Pointe beag é ach tá sé riachtanach ós rud é go bhfuilimid ag leathnú na seirbhíse seo go dtí chuile teach sa tír agus go bhfuil contúirt ann go mbeidh a lán daoine ag déanamh mí-úsáid as. B'fhéidir go mbeidh buicéidí uisce, agus droch uisce leis, ag stealladh asta. Beidh daoine trioblóideacha ag cur isteach ar an seirbhís seo agus ba mhaith liom fháil amach an raibh socrú roimhré ag an Rialtas fén chineál uisce a sholáthrófar, nó cén socrú atá acu smacht a chur ar an phobal—an pobal mór atá i gceist anseo—chun cúram a thabhairt don seirbhís nua seo? Is dócha go raibh nithe mar seo in aigne an Rialtais nuair a bhíodar ag plé an Bhille seo.

The matter of wastage and misuse of water is very fully covered in the waterworks clauses of Acts which go back, in some cases, I think, almost a century. As regards the purity of the water supply, very stringent steps are taken by local authorities in regard to public supplies. Private installations, up to the present, have not been subject to the same stringent tests for purity, but in this Bill there is power whereby the Minister for Local Government may require persons applying for grants to have the supply submitted for such tests. This is a matter which we are considering but I think the House will appreciate that up to the very recent past, it was felt that the fewer obstacles we placed in the way of this very necessary development, the better. Possibly the time has now arrived when we can deal with quality as well as quantity.

Question put and agreed to.
Business suspended at 1.15 p.m. and resumed at 2.30 p.m.