asked the President if he is aware that the late Recorder of Dublin in reporting the amounts to be awarded to the owners of the premises in Upper O'Connell Street, destroyed in June and July, 1922, ruled out claims for compensation for costs of foundations and basement walls on the ground that the old foundations and basement walls could be used, and whether, in view of the fact that the Commissioners for the County Borough of Dublin have insisted on new foundations and basement walls and have also required stone fronts to be erected on the new buildings, he will consider the possibility of making an ex-gratia grant to the owners of these premises to compensate them for the additional cost which they have been compelled to incur.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - DESTROYED DUBLIN PREMISES—QUESTION OF EX-GRATIA GRANT.
It is not open to me to review the facts upon which claims for compensation were determined. At the hearing of their cases the parties concerned had the usual opportunities of submitting all relevant considerations to the judge before the decisions as to the amounts of the awards were arrived at. Where new foundations and basement walls may have been required, it will be found that such have not been constructed because of any insistence on the part of the City Commissioners but because in fact the existing foundations and basement walls were unstable or were unsuitable to new designs. The material to be used in frontages has been a matter of agreement between the Commissioners and the Institute of Architects, the latter body containing the technical advisers of the building owners. I am informed that no complaints have reached the Commissioners to the effect that the provision of stone fronts has led to enhanced costs, but that, on the contrary, the Commissioners are informed by at least one building owner that the cost has been less than that of the alternative methods.
Arising out of that answer, may I ask the President whether it is not a fact that these owners did bring forward evidence that the basement walls and the foundations were unstable and that the Judge refused to listen to it? Is it not also a fact that a deputation waited on him with certain complaints as to the stone facings?
As regards the first part of the supplementary question, I should say it is covered by the reply I have given. It is not open to me to review the facts upon which the claims for compensation were determined. As regards the second part of the question I should say "Yes," that such representations were made to me concerning that matter, and I may say that I had myself experience of the extra cost of stone facings. But I confined myself in the answer to the statement that no complaints have reached the Commissioners of the City of Dublin to that effect, but that, on the contrary, they were informed by at least one building owner that the costs have been less than by the alternative method. Perhaps he was a very fortunate builder.
Am I to understand that complaints made to the Executive Council do not reach the Commissioners?
I think you would be perfectly correct in that assumption.
I would like to draw the attention of the President to that part of his reply in which he says that it was only where the walls were found unstable by the City Engineer that they were disallowed. Is he aware that the Board of Works gave evidence when these claims were being heard that these walls and foundations were stable and were fit to be built on, but that, afterwards, they were not found fit to be built upon?
I am at a loss to understand the question. The Deputy has stated that it is only where the walls were found unstable by the City Engineer that they were disallowed. I did not confine myself to that particular description "unstable." I said "unstable or were unsuitable to the new designs." As regards the question of foundation, my own experience is that stone facings mean additional expense. I heard of one builder who found the cost less than that of the alternative method.
May I confine myself to that part of the answer in which the President said that the walls were found unstable?
I cannot permit the Deputy to do that because I have not stated that only.
It is part of his reply that the foundations were found to be unstable but at the same time the Board of Works engineers have given evidence that they were suitable, and the judge when considering the claim took that evidence as satisfactory. In the meantime they have been found unsuitable, but no consideration has been given to the building of new foundations.
The Deputy does not understand that there is a remarkable difference between unstable and unsuitable.
I am sorry the President has taken up the attitude that I do not understand the question. I do understand the question, and I am endeavouring to draw his attention to one part of his reply to show where it is inconsistent with the award.