Bille na dTithe (Gaeltacht) (Leasú), 1967: Second and Subsequent Stages.

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

Is é an cuspóir atá romham leis an mBille seo ná tuilleadh cúnaimh a thabhairt do Ghaeilgeoirí sa Ghaeltacht chun go mbeidh ar a gcumas cóiríocht bhreise a chur ar fáil do chuairteoirí. Baineann forálacha uile an Bhille leis na ceantair atá, nó a bheidh, sonraithe mar limistéir Ghaeltachta le hordú de chuid an Rialtais faoin Acht Airí agus Rúnaithe (Leasú), 1956.

Is eol don Seanad gur mór an tábhacht eacnamaíoch atá ag baint le tionscal na cuartaíochta ó thaobh na Gaeltachta de. Le fada anuas tá daoine ag dul chun na Gaeltachta d'fhonn saoire a chaitheamh ann nó d'fhonn feabhas a chur ar a gcuid Gaeilge agus ní beag le rá é an tionchar a bhíonn ag na cuairteoirí sin ar shaol eacnamaíoch na ndaoine sa Ghaeltacht a mbíonn ar a gcumas cóiríocht oiriúnach a chur ar fáil. Ar ndóigh, chuidigh na gnáthdheontais atá ar fáil faoi Achtanna na dTithe (Gaeltacht)—idir thógáil, feabhsú agus sláintíocht—leis an gcóiríocht sin a fhairsingiú agus a fheabhsú. Sa bhliain 1953 ceapadh deontais ar leith faoi na hAchtanna chun méaduithe speisialta le haghaidh cuairteoirí a chur le tithe cónaithe, agus tá na méaduithe sin curtha le 314 de thithe ó shin agus á gcur le 115 eile faoi láthair. Sa bhliain 1959 ceapadh deontais chun seallaí saoire a thógáil ach ní fhéadfadh an duine aonair ach deontas amháin acu sin a fháil; 42 shealla saoire atá tógtha ag iarratasóirí aonaracha agus tá 30 eile á dtógáil.

Ag féachaint don mhéadú mór atá tagtha le cúig nó sé de bhlianta anuas ar líon na ndaoine a bhíonn ag dul chun na Gaeltachta, tá i gceist agam sa Bhille seo tuilleadh tithe cónaithe agus seallaí saoire a thabhairt faoi réim na ndeontas atá ar fáil cheana faoi na hAchtanna, is iad sin na deontais a bhaineann le tithe cónaithe— tógáil, feabhsú, sláintíocht agus méadú speisialta—agus na deontais a bhaineann le tógáil seallaí saoire. Tá cur síos ar na deontais sin uile ar leathanaigh 11 go 14 de Leabhrán Eolais na Roinne agus níl aon athrú á dhéanamh ar mhéid na ndeontas éagsúil—níl ach cúpla bliain ó méadaíodh cheana iad.

I láthair na huaire níl cumhacht ann na deontais le haghaidh tithe cónaithe a thabhairt ach amháin i gcás tithe a mbíonn cónaí ar na hiarratasóirí féin iontu: tá i gceist anois na deontais sin a chur ar fáil feasta do dhaoine oiriúnacha le haghaidh tithe eile chomh maith. Ina theannta sin tá i gceist an deontas tógála a thugtar le haghaidh sealla saoire amháin a thabhairt feasta le haghaidh an dara agus an tríú sealla.

B'fhéidir gur fearrde a thuigfidh na Seanadóirí a bhfuil beartaithe agam má dhéanaim tagairt do na hailt ar leith atá sa Bhille. Ós i mBéarla a ritheadh Acht na bliana 1929 atá á leasú arís anois, ní raibh aon dul as agam ach an Bille seo a chur ar fáil i mBéarla.

Baineann alt 1 le léiriú agus tabharfar faoi deara go gciallaíonn "Acht 1929" an tAcht sin faoi mar a leasaíodh ó shin i leith é. Tá leasuithe a rinneadh sa bhliain 1959 san áireamh in ailt 2, 3 agus 4 den Bhille.

Má tharlaíonn go sonróidh an Rialtas, mar limistéar Gaeltachta, aon cheantar nach luaitear in Acht 1929, is cóir go dtiocfaidh an ceantar sin faoi réim Achtanna na dTithe (Gaeltacht) chun críocha tithíochta i gcoitinne. Féachfaidh alt 2 den Bhille chuige sin.

Leathnaíonn alt 3 raon na ndeontas le haghaidh tithe cónaithe agus tá dhá chuid ann, cuid a bhaineann le tógáil tithe nua agus cuid a bhaineann le feabhsú, sláintíocht agus méaduithe speisialta. Mar áis dhréachtaithe déanann an chéad chuid athachtú ar fhoráil atá ann cheana agus ina dhiaidh sin cuireann sí ar chumas iarratasóra deontas tógála a fháil nuair nach teach in ionad a thí chónaithe féin an ceann nua. Sa tslí sin féadfaidh duine a bhfuil teach maith aige deontas a fháil chun teach nua a thógáil d'fhonn cóiríocht a chur ar fáil do chuairteoirí nó, más fearr leis é, beidh deis aige féin dul isteach sa teach nua agus an ceann a bhí aige cheana a fhágáil le haghaidh na gcuairteoirí más teach fóirsteanach é. Déanann an dara cuid d'alt 3 raon na ndeontas a bhaineann le feabhsú, le sláintíocht agus le méadú speisialta a leathnú go teach eile ar leis an iarratasóir é ach nach ann a chónaíonn sé; faoin bhforáil seo beifear in ann tithe a chur in oiriúint do chuairteoirí in ionad iad a fhágáil folamh nó a ligean i léig.

Tá alt 4 ina dhá chuid fosta agus socraíonn an chéad chuid gur féidir trí cinn de dheontais tógála sealla saoire a thabhairt d'iarratasóir cáilithe feasta in áit aon cheann amháin mar a bhí go dtí seo. Déanann an dara cuid aisghairm ar fhorálacha, nach mbeidh ag teastáil a thuilleadh, i dtaobh iasachtaí don dara agus don tríú sealla—na seallaí sin nach raibh deontas ar fáil dóibh roimhe seo: tá foráil ann cheana chun iasacht a cheadú cibé uair a thugtar deontas agus bainfidh sí feasta le gach sealla de na trí cinn.

Níl in alt 5 ach na gnáthfhorálacha a bhaineann le gearrtheideal agus comhlua.

Is ar mhaithe le Gaeilgeoirí na Gaeltachta a ceapadh an Bille seo agus tá súil agam go mbeidh an Seanad sásta leis.

I should like to welcome this Bill. It has not been possible for me to examine it as carefully as I would have liked in the time available but I do not wish to hold it up. Therefore, we agreed on this side of the House to take it this evening, at very short notice. For this reason, I shall not be able to contribute to the debate as fully as I would have liked.

The provisions of the Bill seem sensible and desirable. They arise, I gather, out of the situation that has arisen under existing legislation. Presumably, in introducing these provisions, the Government are aiming to meet a need which has shown itself in this respect. I should like confirmation of that—that there does exist a demand for these additional grants. I presume that is the case, or the Government would not be introducing this legislation.

There is one other thing I should like to ask about because I have not had a chance to look into it. It is my recollection that the Minister in his Budget speech referred to provisions in relation to hotels and said that in certain areas of the country grants of up to 50 per cent can now be given but that in Gaeltacht areas the amount involved could run up to 70 per cent. I take it that what he was saying was that the additional provisions he was going to introduce would so increase the basic grant that, with the addition of an extra hotel grant, the figure would reach 70 per cent, because there does not appear to be anything here about hotels. Do I take it that he was merely making extra provisions for hotels generally in development areas, to which the existing Gaeltacht grant could be added, bringing it up from the new figure of 50 per cent to a figure of 70 per cent? If not, is there some other provision somewhere else under which a new Gaeltacht grant will be given? Would the Minister say if what we are talking about here is an existing Gaeltacht hotel grant, whether, in fact, any of these grants have been paid, if there is a Gaeltacht hotels grant at the moment which will be added to the increased provision for hotel grants generally, or whether this scheme has been successful at all?

This Bill deals with chalets and dwellinghouses but there is also the question of hotel accommodation in Gaeltacht areas. On the whole, these areas are not very well provided with hotels, which I think is a pity, although it could be argued that to have many hotels there might draw English-speaking visitors and this might be unfortunate. I think we could make efforts to expand hotel accommodation in these areas without creating too much danger.

I think they are the only points I should like to make at this stage. It certainly seems a useful Bill and, if it does meet a demand which has shown itself, then we are happy to welcome it.

Ba mhaith liomsa fosta fáilte a chur roimh an mBille seo. Sílim gur chéim mhór ar aghaidh é agus go raghaidh sé chun socair ní amháin mhuintir na Gaeltachta ach mhuintir na hÉireann ar fad. Cruthaíonn sé go bhfuil spéis faoi leith ag an Rialtas sa Ghaeltacht agus i muintir na Gaeltachta. Ar dhóigh ar leith, taispeanann sé go bhfuil meas faoi leith ag an Rúnaí Parlaiminte ar na daoine seo. Ní inniu ná inné a bhí anspéis aige sa Ghaeilge agus i muintir na Gaeltachta. Is eol dom go maith go bhfuil sé de nós aige tréimhsí fada a chaitheamh sa Ghaeltacht gach bliain agus go raibh an nós sin aige féin agus ag a chlann sul ar chuir sé cos leis san Oireachtas.

Sa Bhille beidh breis le fáil anois ag daoine a theastaíonn uathu teach nua a thógáil nó feabhas a chur ar shean teach. Go dtí seo ní raibh cead acu teach nua a thógaint agus deontas a fháil nuair a bhí teach réasúnta nua acu ach anois tig leo sin a dhéanamh agus an teach nua a chur ar chíos do dhaoine a bheidh sásta a laethe saoire a chaitheamh sna h-áiteanna seo. Sa tslí sin beidh dhá theach acu—ceann do na cuairteoirí agus ceann eile dóibh féin.

Ina theannta sin, tá deontas le fáil ag daoine chun feabhas a chur ar shean tithe agus beidh íocaíochtaí le fáil acu i ngach cás ón Rialtas. Tá a lán daoine ar fud na tíre ar mhaith leo dul go dtí an Ghaeltacht ach go dtí seo ní raibh an deis sin acu go léir mar nach raibh na tithe ann. Uaidh seo amach beimid ag súil go mbeidh líon mór daoine, Gaeilgeoirí agus eile, ag triall ar na h-áiteanna seo.

Tá a fhios againn go bhfuil cuanta, tránna agus sléite áille sna h-áiteanna seo agus go bhfuil clú agus cáil ar na daoine maidir leis an bhfáilte a chuireann siad roimh stróinséirí. Cuirfear na stróinséirí seo in aithne do dhaoine a bhfuil sibhialtacht, léinn agus eolas as an gcoitiantacht acu. Cloisfidh siad an Ghaeilge á labhairt ó mhaidin go h-oíche. Dob olc an rud é don tír agus do mhuintir na hÉireann ar fad dá ndéanfadh an Rialtas faillí sna h-áiteanna seo. Ar an ábhar sin, aontaím leis na daoine a chuir fáilte roimh an mBille.

I welcome the Bill because it is a genuine attempt on the part of the Government to encourage people to go to the Gaeltacht. The question of accommodation has always been a rather difficult one in the Gaeltacht. People who went there some years ago found the boarding houses themselves et cetera in very poor conditions. I had experience of it myself; certainly they were not up to the mark. There has been some improvement, but there is a good deal more to be desired. I should like to have seen the Minister put in some proviso into the Bill which would prevent people from speculating on the fact that they can get grants now to build these chalets. The prices for these chalets are really prohibitive. I should also like to see the people of the Gaeltacht more serious about the revival of the language.

Gaeltacht policy is not under review. We must discuss what is under review.

It has something to do with it. People are being encouraged to go to the Gaeltacht and this is being used as a means of bringing them. The only thing I want to say is that I think it is unfair to go into shops and find there are two prices—one for visitors and one for muintir na h-áite. I do not think that the people from the Gaeltacht should cash in too much on the people who go there to learn the language. Survival of the Gaeltacht will depend on whether we can encourage people and families to go there to learn the language in the Gaeltacht. If it becomes too commercialised and if people are being charged exorbitant prices, the purpose for which this Bill has been introduced will not be served. More than that I do not wish to say at the moment, except that we welcome the fact that the Parliamentary Secretary is making a genuine attempt to give the people from the rest of the country visiting the Gaeltacht a fair opportunity of having reasonable accommodation when they bring their families to the Gaeltacht.

Ba mhaith liomsa chomh maith fáilte a chur roimh an mBille seo. Raghaidh téarmaí an Bhille chun tairbhe do mhuintir na Gaeltachta ar ball. Tá sé de dhualgas orainn go léir an Ghaelacht a chothú agus cabhrú le muintir na Gaeltachta ar gach slí.

Do réir téarmaí an Bhille seo beidh muintir na Gaeltachta ábalta cóiríocht bhreise a chur ar fáil do na cuairteoirí. Má theipeann ar an nGaeltacht teipfidh ar an Gaeilge ar fad. Mar sin, mar mhúinteoir cuirim céad míle fáilte roimh an mBille.

Ba mhaith liomsa i dtús ama buíochas a ghabháil leis na daoine a labhair ar an mBille seo. Ba mhaith liom fosta buíochas a ghabháil leis an Seanad as ucht an Bille a ghlacadh anocht.

Mar adúirt Seanadóir amháin tuigimid uilig tábhacht na Gaeltachta ó thaobh athbheochan na Gaeilge. Sé mo bharúil féin agus barúil na ndaoine uilig a bhfuil baint acu le hathbheochan na Gaeilge go mbeadh sé iontach deacair ar fad an teanga a athbheochan mura mbeadh an Ghaeltacht ann agus mura dtiocfadh leis na daoine dul go dtí an Ghaeltacht leis an teanga a fhoghlaim agus deis a bheith acu féin a fheiceáil gur teanga bheo atá inti agus nach teanga í an Ghaeilge a bhaineann leis an scoil amháin.

Táimid ag déanamh ár ndíchill ar chuid mhaith bealaí le saol eacnamaíoch mhuintir na Gaeltachta a fheabhsú. Táimid ag cuidiú leo ar a lán dóigheanna agus seo dóigh amháin chun cuidiú a thabhairt dóibh le feabhas a chur ar a gcúrsaí eacnamaíochta.

Tá áthas orm gur cuireadh an oiread sin fáilte roimh an mBille mar tugann sé níos mó misnigh domsa dul ar aghaidh leis an obair atá le déanamh againn le saol eacnamaíoch mhuintir na Gaeltachta a fheabhsú.

Chuir an Seanadóir FitzGerald cúpla ceist orm. Ar an gcéad dul síos, chuir sé ceist orm an mó de mhuintir na Gaeltacha a bhain úsáid as na deontais tithíochta atá le fáil cheana féin agus caithfidh mé a rá go bhfuil a lán ann a bhain úsáid astu agus sin ceann de na fáthanna go bhfuilimid ag leathnú na scéimeanna sin.

Labhair sé faoi na tithe ósta ach ní faoi Achtanna na dTithe—atá a leasú anois againn—a thugtar deontais do na tithe ósta: tá scéim ar leith againn chuige sin ach tá athruithe déanta ar na mallaibh. An seachtó faoin gcéad ar ar labhair an Seanadóir FitzGerald is uasdeontas é nach mbíonn i gceist do thithe ósta sa Ghaeltacht ach amháin i gcásanna ina dtugann Bord Fáilte Éireann caoga faoin gcéad. Chomh maith le céatadán an Bhoird tig le Roinn na Gaeltachta fiche faoin gcéad eile a thabhairt ach baineann an fiche faoin gcéad sin le Gaeilgeoirí amháin. Más Béarlóirí a bhíonn i mbun na dtithe ósta seo— agus iad sásta an bhainistíocht a dhéanamh ar chuma a rachaidh chun leasa den Ghaeilge—ní thugann an Roinn ach deich faoin gcéad mar dheontas forlíontach.

Cuireadh ceist orm ar íocadh deontas ar bith go dtí seo faoin scéim seo. Díoladh ceann amháin agus tá iarratais eile os ár gcomhair nach bhfuil ullamh go fóill chun go bhféadfaí deontais a thabhairt.

Deontais do theach ósta?

Sea, deontas amháin atá íootha agus tá iarratais eile ós ár gcomhair ach níl aon obair déanta go fóill chun na deontais a thuilleamh.

Dúirt an Seanadóir McAuliffe gurbh fhéidir go mbeadh baol ann go rachadh daoine isteach sa Ghaeltacht chun tithe a thógáil agus go mbainfidís úsáid as na deontais faoin mBille seo chun airgead a dhéanamh ar mhaithe leo féin. Is ceist don Aire faoin mBille é féin a shásamh sula gceadóidh sé deontas. Sílim go gcoinneoidh sé sin srian ar dhaoine mar a bhí i gceist ag an Seanadóir.

Ní shílim go bhfuil mórán eile a dtig liom é a rá ach arís mo bhuíochas a gabháil leis an Seanad as ucht an Bille seo a ghlacadh anocht.

An bhfuil gá ag muintir na Gaeltachta leis na leasuithe seo?

Tá. Tá siad ag baint úsáide as na deontais atá ar fáil cheana ach feicimid nach leor sin. Go dtí seo ní thiocfadh le duine, de ghnáth, deontas a fháil le teach nua a thógáil ach amháin nuair a bheadh fíor-dhrochtheach aige féin agus bheadh air go minic an seanteach a leagan. Faoin mBille seo anois is féidir leis teach nua a thógáil agus feabhas a chur ar an seanteach chomh maith más teach é a bheadh fóirsteanach de chuairteoirí.

Tá siad ag iarraidh na leasuithe seo?

Tá, cinnte.

Question put and agreed to.
Bill considered in Committee.
SECTION 2.
Question proposed: "That section 2 stand part of the Bill".

I am not clear as to whether section 2 is simply a re-enactment of something in the 1956 Act or whether it is new. It was not quite clear in the Parliamentary Secretary's opening remarks.

There are two reasons for it. We found that one small area which was within the Gaeltach as defined under the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act, 1956, did not come within the areas specified for housing purposes in the 1929 Act. That is one reason for this section. We also want to ensure that, if any part of the country not specified in 1929 were added to the Gaeltacht under the 1956 Act, the Housing Acts would apply to it. For example, if we were to bring in some other part of the country for the purposes of the 1956 Act——

What I am not clear on is whether the 1956 Act covered the Gaeltacht as defined in the schedule to the Act of 1929 or whether the 1956 Act applied only to areas that had been determined by Order. Are we here for the first time bringing in areas that have hitherto not been covered and if so——

Well, if the answer is "No" the "if so" becomes redundant. The Minister has confirmed this was a section in the 1956 Act— that there is nothing new in it.

I thought I had explained what we were trying to get at in the section. An order made by the Government under the 1956 Act, in relation to the Gaeltacht, took in certain areas. The 1929 Act took in larger areas for housing purposes. We discovered that under the 1956 Act there was a small area not covered by the 1929 Act and we want to be in a position to give the full benefits of the Housing Acts in the area concerned.

A small area is now being brought in for the first time.

Yes, for some of the housing grants.

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

There is a requirement that the person in question should be an habitual user of the Irish language. That is in subsection (7) (a). However, in subsection (7) (b) it is not stated that if a house is being built the person must know Irish.

It is covered in another Act. The Irish language must be the language of the home.

On the face of it it seems bad drafting.

There is another provision for occupiers of houses.

Subsection (7) (a) states:

Where in the case of a person who is ordinarily resident in an area which is one of the areas for the time being determined to be Gaeltacht areas...

and it says that the Irish language is used habitually by him. Paragraph (b), however, does not suggest that he must speak Irish. It may come under some other section of some other Act.

The drafting seems odd.

The first person concerned is not an occupier of a house but the second is and there is an existing provision which applies to occupiers and does not need to be repeated.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 4 and 5 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.