CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - BOARD OF WORKS ADVANCES.

asked the Minister for Finance if he will state the total amount of money advanced by the Board of Works during the financial year 1924-25 for the improvement of agricultural holdings in the Saorstát; if he will state the details which make up the whole amount, i.e., the amount advanced for improvement of farm buildings, for land drainage and reclamation, for forestry purposes, for road-making, etc.; if he will state the amount of interest and sinking fund per cent. in regard to each class of loan, and the length of period which is granted for repayment of the loans in regard to each class of advance; also, the cost of administering this service for the financial year stated; the total amount of loans for agricultural purposes outstanding at the end of the financial year in question; the amount of these loans in regard to which legal proceedings had to be taken for the year stated, and the amount which is considered irrecoverable for the same period.

(1) Applications for loans to the number of 4,506 were received in the year ended 31st March, 1925, but the progress was not sufficient in any of these cases to warrant an advance in the financial year. The only advance made in that year was a sum of £80, balance of a loan for improvement to a farm building, sanctioned in 1923.

From the 1st April, 1925, to 30th November, 1925, however, the number of loans in respect of which advances were made was 486 and the actual amount advanced in respect of them was £59,892. The details of loans sanctioned to date are as follows:—

Class of Loan.

Number of Loans sanctioned.

Amount sanctioned.

Erection of farm houses

40

£9,585

Improvement of farm houses

52

£9,110

Erection of hay barns

618

£79,695

Out-offices

74

£8,700

Field works (drainage, roads, planting, etc.)

70

£6,985

(2) The following are the periods and annuities per cent. in respect of loans granted by the Commissioners of Public Works under the Landed Property Improvement (Ireland) Act, 1847, and the Land Law (Ireland) Act, 1881:—

Years.

Annuity.

22

£7

17

10

30

£6

17

0

35

£6

9

6

The rate of interest on which the annuity is calculated is 5½ per cent. in all cases.

(3) Loans for buildings in which corrugated iron is used are limited to 30 years. In other cases the period is left to the discretion of the borrower, subject to the limit of 35 years.

(4) The cost of administration for the year 1924-25 was £1,020.

(5) The total amount outstanding at 31st March, 1925, in respect of Improvement Loans secured on lands was £680,143 (including £38,275 outstanding on foot of Drainage Charges).

(6) The number of cases in respect of which proceedings were instituted in the year 1924-25 was 865 and the amount sued for £4,866.

(7) No sum was written off as irrecoverable in the year referred to.

Am I to take it that there is practically an unlimited amount available in any year for these loans—that the Department do not circumscribe the amount available in any year for loans for this purpose?

I would not say that, but there has been, so far, more available than has been required.