Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 19 Jun 1924

Vol. 7 No. 27


I explained the reasons for this Bill and the provisions and implications of the Bill at considerable length on First Reading, and I need not go over that ground again.

If the option allowed is exercised by all county councils then instead of paying a rate this year of £2,315,000 out of agricultural land the rate payable will be £771,666 and the amount of the abatement will be £1,543,334. This money will be borrowed by the county councils from the banks, with which they keep account and may be repaid by an annuity extending over a period of not more than seven years. The annual payment of interest and sinking fund for the seven year period approximates to about £250,000. If the scheme is applied to two typical cases: (A) who owes one year's arrears, and who is in addition liable for his current rate, and (B) who owes no arrears, and is only liable for his current rate, and if it is assumed that the rates payable out of agricultural land for the year 1923/24 and 1924/25 are the same, viz., £60 in each case for the year 1923-24, and £57 in each case for the year 1924/25, the position will be made quite clear. (A) will pay his year's arrears £60, plus one-third of the current rate, £19—a total amount of £79—and his abatement will be £38. (B) who owes no arrears will pay £19 out of his current rate of £57 and will be relieved to the same extent, viz., £38. In each case, instead of paying £38 this year each will pay it over a period of seven years from the 31st day of March, 1925, and the first payment will be made in 1925-26.

There is just one Clause of the Bill to which I wish to draw Deputies attention. It is Section 4, (5) and it reads:—

"Where a County Council makes default in the payment of any sum payable in respect of a loan borrowed under this section, the Minister may on complaint being made to him by the person to whom such sum is payable and after notification to the County Council concerned direct that the amount of such sum shall be deducted from the amount payable to the County Council out of the agricultural grant, and the sum so deducted shall be paid to such person in discharge of such sum; providing that this enactment shall be without prejudice to the Guaranteed Fund under the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, 1891."

This clause gives the security of the Agricultural Grant to the banks for the necessary loan. The banks have met us very fairly in this matter, and on the strength of this Clause are ready to facilitate by lending the money at five per cent. and making the necessary arrangements to accept repayment over a period of seven years from the 31st March, 1925, by equal annual instalments.

The interest and sinking fund under the scheme will be comparatively small in view of the considerable period over which the loan is to be repaid, and there will be no excuse whatever for any county council who fails to collect it and who thereby forces the Minister for Local Government to make a draw on the quota of the agricultural grant applicable to that county. I beg to move the Second Reading of the Bill.

We feel that this Bill is a very doubtful blessing. Those of us in the country who have paid our rates will find very little protection in this Bill. It means that payment is only deferred and that we pay interest on the money. The Minister says that interest will be £6 10s.


No; 5 per cent interest and sinking fund. £6 10s. was the interest and sinking fund in the particular case I referred to.

In addition to paying the rates, we will also have to pay interest as we go along, and ultimately the entire amount will have to be paid. Of course, I recognise that it is a benefit to the State to make people pay arrears. It may be possible to pay arrears in this fashion, but those who have paid their rates will regard this measure as a very doubtful blessing indeed. It is a case of "Live horse and you will get grass." We are told to wait for better times, but there may not be better times, and if the times be not better and we still have to pay, matters will be worse. It is a measure to meet an exceptional situation, and for that reason, and for that reason only, we accept it.

Question put—"That the Bill be read a Second Time."

When is it proposed to take the next stage?


I would ask that the Committee Stage be taken to-morrow.

In the meantime, I wish to move resolution No. 2, if now is the proper time.

We will take it after the Committee Stage.

Might we have some indication as to what will be the order of the proceedings to-day?


Before we leave this Bill, I would like to know if it is to-morrow that this resolution on the Order Paper is to be moved?

Yes. It could be moved to-day, but I think it is better to move it after the Committee Stage has been actually passed.

I certainly object to any suggestion that a Resolution of this kind should be taken before the Committee Stage. We have no right to assume that there will be no amendments in Committee.


I agree. The reason I asked was that it happened to be on the Order Paper for to-day, and will have to be disposed of.

Is it agreed to take the Committee Stage to-morrow?

I do not think it is agreed, if it is proposed to take the Second Reading one day and the Committee Stage the day following. This is not a non-contentious Bill. It is a Bill which, as far as I can find out, outside the Government benches, has very little approval. It is a Bill which involves very important principles indeed. When any Bill is not merely formal or technical, I should object to the Committee Stage being taken on the day following the Second Reading. It does not give Deputies a chance to draft amendments. Certainly, if in conjunction with that, we are to be called on to pass the Bill through all its Stages the day after the Second Reading, I think it is an abuse of the forms of the Dáil.


This Bill has been on the Order Paper for nearly a fortnight. It is a Bill of five sections, and every Deputy must know the terms of the Bill inside and out in these circumstances. While Deputy Cooper is technically correct in stating that it is not exactly regular or correct to put down the Committee Stage for the day after the Second Reading, nevertheless, he has not, I suggest to him, stated the merits in the circumstances of this particular case. The Bill is really an urgent Bill, if it is to be passed at all, and that is a matter for the Dáil. It is an urgent Bill in view of the fact that the collection of rates can only go ahead after the Bill is passed. It should be decided as quickly as possible one way or the other. The Bill has been on the Order Paper for about a fortnight, and has been circulated for some time. It is quite a simple Bill. Every Deputy has had an opportunity of making himself acquainted with the provisions, and I suggest to Deputy Cooper, in all the circumstances, that though he is technically correct, as between the two of us, he has hardly got the merits in this particular case.

I have had ample opportunity of considering such amendments as I myself wish to put down, but I have had no opportunity of considering such amendments as Deputies Johnson or Gorey, or any other Deputy, might put down. I would suggest to the Minister that it is hardly fair even to the officials of the Dáil—as amendments should not be handed in before the Second Reading—that they should have amendments handed in now and have to circulate them to Deputies by to-morrow morning. If the Minister reconsiders it, I think he will see it is not a proper way of doing business, rushing business like this. I realise the necessities of the case, and I am not anxious to obstruct the Bill in any way, but it places those who do not sit on the Government benches in a wholly unfair position. We are liable afterwards to have it said to us, "Why didn't you object to this, and why didn't you object to that?" while really we have no time to object to anything at all.

The Minister would do as well, from the point of view of urgency, if he got his Committee Stage on Tuesday and asked for the other Stages to be taken then.


I will accept that suggestion.

Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday.