Courts of Justice Act, 1924. - Housing (Gaeltacht) Bill, 1929.—Second Stage.

In presenting a Bill to extend to one part of the community, benefits not to be enjoyed by the remainder one may be expected to show adequate grounds for the differentiation in treatment. In the case of the present Bill that task is an easy one. This is a Bill to remedy conditions which have long been a reproach to the nation.

Everyone familiar with the Gaeltacht knows very well its vast stretches of barren land divided into tiny uneconomic holdings, its squalid cottages, ill-lighted, ill-ventilated, hopelessly inadequate for the decent accommodation of their occupants. We are sadly conscious that these conditions are most prevalent in Connemara, Erris, the Rosses of Donegal, and in those parts of Cork and Kerry which constitute the Fíor-Ghaeltacht. Abandoned and forgotten in the past, the people of these districts have, in generation after generation, trodden the hard road of penury and privation. They have appeared to be nobody's children, as it were. Remedies which brought relief elsewhere have passed them by. So bad has been their state that it has seemed beyond the power of human agency to cure. That is the problem with the solution of which we find ourselves confronted.

The task has already been in the settlement of the people in their holdings, in their own right: in the removal of groups to other land so that the holdings of those left behind may, as far as possible, be enlarged to economic proportions, and this policy is being steadily continued.

In the carrying out of that policy considerable improvements have been made as far as the houses of those left behind are concerned. During the years from 1924 to 1928 certain Acts were passed by the Oireachtas dealing generally with housing as far as the country as a whole was concerned. These have been available for the people of the Gaeltacht as well as for everybody else, but, in fact, they have been of no assistance to the persons for who this Bill is intended. Some advantage has been taken of these Acts as far as the Gaeltacht is concerned. Under those Acts 1,414 houses have been built there, but these were built by persons who had some substantial capital of their own to help in carrying out the work. This Bill is for the assistance of the most necessitous classes of those who were unable to take advantage of the former Acts, those Acts which had general application through the country. It is designed for those persons who, unless they had these exceptional facilities, would be entirely unable to provide themselves with better houses. The problem is to an extent simplified by the fact that in the Gaeltacht you have a certain capacity for self-help. There is a considerable degree of skill amongst the people in the Gaeltacht from the point of view of building. A great part of the materials are easily available there, and they will be able to carry out a large portion of the work themselves. It is only when the roofing, doors, window-frames and similar materials and fittings are required and have to be put into place that assistance is necessary. The cost of these materials and of the skilled labour which, by the way, is given by a class of handyman peculiar to the Gaeltacht, have been carefully considered in the framing of the Bill. But as to the standard house at which we aim in those cases in which the circumstances of the small holder will admit of his undertaking the responsibilities entailed, the cost is estimated at £180. That involves a free grant of £80 and a loan not exceeding the same sum, a loan to be spread over a period of thirty-five years. The loan is to be given, only if it is found indispensable, towards enabling a man to build this particular type of house.

I would like to emphasise the fact that loans will be regarded as an emergency rather than a normal measure of the proposed assistance, not because of any unreadiness on our part to give the further help, but because we feel that a loan will entail the repaying. It will entail an additional financial burden on the borrower extending over a number of years. Later on, I will say how we propose, as far as we can, to grapple with this question of the repayment of loans, by putting them in a better financial position to meet such obligation where they take it on their shoulders. The question of the need for a loan and the capacity to repay is the governing consideration in determining the character of the house which can be provided and the amount of the grant which can be given. The grants in respect of houses falling short of that particular standard will be correspondingly reduced. This is to a great extent where this Bill differs from former housing legislation. There is more elasticity. It is felt that there may be many necessitous cases in which a small holder cannot afford to put up a house of the type to which I have referred and which is perhaps the type that in other respects we would like to see. But the householder under this Bill can provide something less satisfactory, but at the same time something which is a very great improvement on his existing housing conditions. We are desirous not to rule out such cases. In this matter discretion will be exercised in the framing of the regulations.

We are also making provisions in this Bill for improvements. Grants and loans will be available for the improvement of existing houses where it is clear that the houses will lend themselves to improvement. The maximum grant for improvement will be £40 with an equivalent loan where, again, it is necessary. It is appreciated that we are cut off ing here with people who are cut off from the facilities for the purchase of materials which exist elsewhere and who have little opportunity of obtaining advice and assistance in the resolving of problems which may arise in connection with their title, that is, the legal title to their holdings. Very often indeed if that advice were readily available, they could badly afford to pay for it. We have inserted provisions in the Bill to meet or remove these disabilities, and to make the path more easy.

Under Section 12 of the Bill— there is a marginal note as to arrangements for general purchasing—there will be power, where a small holder so desires, for the Department to act for him as his agent in the making of contracts for the purchase of materials. We believe that where arrangements of this sort are made in any general kind of way for the district that the small holders there will be considerably benefited through the fact that by buying in bulk the materials can be bought more cheaply and at the same time materials can be made to conform to a more reliable standard of quality. Under Section 12 (2) power is taken to deal with difficulties which may arise in remote areas in providing scaffolding, and things of that kind, as well as lime, sand, and so on.

On the question of title rather exceptional powers have been taken in Section 9 (4). This is to overcome the anticipated difficulty owing to the notorious failure of persons to take any steps to register their title. Anyone who knows the conditions in the Gaeltacht will be aware of the failure in that respect. In cases of that kind, where the worldly goods are so small, the devolution of title has been done rather generally in a haphazard way. It is very rare that letters of administration or the probate of a will have been taken out. In the absence of these special provisions to deal with this matter, considerable expense might be involved in making title if some provision to deal with that was not made in the Bill. The Department will have to satisfy itself that the person in possession of the land who was looking for a grant or loan has a reasonable show of title.

It will be obvious that the occupier who is to receive the grant or loan must have security of tenure. In framing the Bill considerable difficulties arose in making a provision of this sort, owing to the variety of tenures which are prevalent in the Gaeltacht. For instance, it is not proposed that the grant will be available in the case of persons with weekly or monthly tenures— either to themselves or their landlords. The occupier or the landlord can utilise the existing Acts for any assistance he requires.

Section 13, that is the rating section, provides that any improvements or buildings made under the provisions of this Act will not be subject to any increase of rates for a period of twenty years. I might say here that the schedule defining the Gaeltacht for the purpose of the Bill includes all district electoral divisions which were returned in the Census of 1926 as a place in which 25 per cent. or upwards of the population are Irish speakers. There are a few districts deliberately left out, and one left out by mistake. That will be inserted subsequently. The City of Galway was omitted by mistake. The area around Maynooth College and the area around Rockwell College have been omitted. The figures of Irish speakers in both these areas have been increased by the students in those two colleges.

That was a wonder.

It is a sign of what is coming.

The problem is a big one, and one must begin somewhere. We have resolved to take the line which is certainly the most difficult but which is also the most urgent. That is, that the overriding preference will be the Irish-speaking household. Of those households those in which the sanitary conditions are worst and where the valuations are lowest will have prior claim on the total of the funds available. Now, of the total of the funds available, at least three-fifths will be ear-marked to the extent to which they are sought for those very destitute areas to which I have referred and which are to a great extent coextensive with the Fíor Ghaeltacht. Section 11 (4) of the Bill makes that provision. I do not know whether Deputies have read that section. I must confess that I had to have it translated into English when it was first brought to me. It is a most difficult section to understand. The effect of that section is this, that if you take a certain electoral area and add up all the valuations, leaving out any individual valuation of £20 and upwards in that area, and divide the sum of these valuations by the total population, and if you get 21/- or under, then that area will be within this Bill and three-fifths of the £250,000 provided for under the Bill will be applied to those divisions by way of loans and grants.

It may be a ground for criticism that attention is being first devoted to the most submerged population of the Gaeltacht, but we feel, even if it were only from the humanitarian point of view, that that is the one section chiefly clamouring for attention. The scale of assistance and the discretion for which we are asking have been framed to facilitate the solution of the problem involved in those areas. Deputies will bear in mind, of course, that the existing facilities under the other Acts are available for other portions of the Gaeltacht. I have said that the standard of housing which we hope to achieve under this Bill must be governed by the capacity of the people to repay any loans which may be necessary. I might say frankly that in the cases which we hope to assist under this Bill the capacity to repay loans would, in a vast number of cases, be practically negligible, if the people are not placed in a somewhat better economic position than they are in at the moment. We feel that without some simultaneous effort to improve the economic conditions in these areas—unless that result can be achieved—the Bill would be dead at its birth.

Better housing is only one part of the problem and no part can be looked at or dealt with independent of the other parts. For that reason we have examined fairly closely all possible methods of improving the economic position in these areas and you will see there are certain provisions in the Bill which indicate the fact that we have taken certain of these things into consideration. Poultry-keeping, for instance, is an industry which requires normally a small capital. It is well adapted to the capabilities of the people we are most desirous to help and, if it is conducted in an approved manner, it is capable of yielding a steady income which, even though not much, would at any rate be sufficient to turn the scale in the success or failure of this particular measure. For success in poultry-keeping it is imperative that the poultry should be properly housed. In this respect the conditions in the Gaeltacht are very sadly deficient. Of 80,180 holdings in the Gaeltacht only 11,789 have satisfactory accommodation for poultry; 45,810 have accommodation which is unsatisfactory; and 22,581 have no accommodation at all. That is one thing that we hope under the Bill to be able to deal with.

It is important also from the point of view of making poultry pay in these areas that better paying breeds should be kept. Steps are being taken by the Minister for Agriculture to afford facilities for the introduction of better breeds of poultry into the Gaeltacht on advantageous terms. In addition, he is strengthening his staff of agricultural overseers and of those whose duty it is to look after poultry-keeping, and he is appointing an expert to advise in the systematic development of the industry on approved lines in the Gaeltacht. He is also making certain arrangements to help in regard to the marketing of eggs. These are things which we hope will have certain beneficial results. These statements are made with the view, also, of explaining Section 7 (2) of the Bill. Under this section it is compulsory upon the person applying for the grant to have suitable provision for poultry. The actual wording of the Bill is: "No building grant or improving grant shall be made under this Act towards the erection or the improvement or the extension (as the case may be) of a dwelling-house unless either—(a) there is in existence or will be provided with the aid of a grant under this Act or otherwise accommodation for domestic poultry ancillary to and suitable and sufficient, in the opinion of the Minister, for such dwelling-house..." No grant, therefore, will be given for a new house unless there will be provided or there is already satisfactory accommodation for poultry. That is a guarantee of co-operation which we feel we are entitled to ask from the persons being benefited. Assistance will be given for the erection of a poultry house. The maximum grant is £5 with—again if it is necessary—a loan of a similar amount, £5.

Pig-keeping is considered another suitable industry with a steady market, and it is desired that it should be more generally spread through the Gaeltacht. Practically everything I have said with regard to poultry-keeping applies to pig-keeping, including the compulsory portion of Section 7, which makes it obligatory to have certain accommodation in order to get a grant for a new house. There is a proviso that if the Minister for Agriculture is satisfied that for one reason or another a small holder cannot reasonably be expected to keep either poultry, pigs, or both, that provision will be waived. Those are two industries which we hope will help very considerably in making the Bill effective as far as utilising the loan is concerned. Other industries we feel must be established or developed.

I need not refer to what is proposed in connection with the fishing industry in so far as it affects the part-time fisherman farmer. These proposals will come very shortly before the House, I hope, in legislative form.

We have taken steps this year which I have reason to hope will meet with very considerable success in the direction of the development of kelp. We hope that in the coming season the amount of kelp burned in the Saorstát will be double what it was last year. We hope also that the kelp will be dealt with in a more satisfactory manner, and that consequently better prices will prevail for the kelp gatherers' products. We estimate that the income along the Western seaboard as a result of the kelp industry will be something between £15,000 and £20,000. It is not a very huge amount, and we do not want to pretend that this is of first rank importance; at the same time £15,000 or £20,000 additional, widely distributed over the Western seaboard, would enable persons to repay loans within ten years that might be given under this Act. It might be no harm to say that the response we met with in dealing with this kelp business in the last four or five weeks has been extremely encouraging, and we have found the greatest desire to co-operate with us. We also propose to extend the hand-weaving of tweeds, in regard to which a very large amount of preparatory work has already been done. We hope to extend it more widely. I have a certain amount of reasonable ground for belief that the industry, which will be on a new and much broader basis than in the past, will prove to be of considerable value in solving the Gaeltacht problem. The same thing would apply to the knitting business. The reorganisation of the existing knitting industries for girls has already been undertaken. These have hitherto been conducted in a manner which is rather——

In what way do knitting and kelp come into a Housing Bill?

It is absolutely relevant in the sense that in order that the persons will be in a position to repay the loans that might come under the Bill some provision must be made for putting them in a position to repay these loans and, therefore, to be able to build the houses.

I do not know from what point of view Deputy Tubridy raises the question.

From the point of view that the introduction of the Bill should not give an opportunity to the Minister to continue his system of promises that he has been giving us for the last two years.

The Minister is not making any promises—he is merely stating facts.

As soon as the Minister has introduced all these things, will he tell us when the measures dealing with kelp and knitting, which he has mentioned, are going to be introduced?

There is no necessity for any measure with regard to kelp —it is being done.

With regard to the point of order raised by Deputy Tubridy, I should say that the Chair has this fear: that the discussion of this Bill will develop into a discussion on the Gaeltacht problem generally, instead of housing merely. We have mention in the Bill of pigs and poultry, and so far as these are concerned they are relevant, but I would not like to see the House engage in the discussion of the kelp industry and its possibilities—that is a pretty wide subject. This applies similarly to some of the other matters mentioned by the Minister. I think, therefore, it would be better to confine the discussion of the Bill to housing, and not to go into a general discussion upon the economic position of the people of the Gaeltacht which would take us very far away from the Bill. The Chair would prefer, therefore, that the Minister would confine himself to what is in the Bill.

Very good. I merely made reference to that to explain that a Bill of this kind, which involves not only free grants, but loans as well, cannot be effective unless the persons are in a position to avail of these grants. That is obvious to anybody. For the standard type of houses which we hope may be erected there is to be a grant of £80 and a possible loan of £80. The repayment of the loan of £80 over a period of thirty-five years would mean, at least, something like £4 5s. or £4 10s. per annum as a liability in the repayment of interest and sinking fund over that number of years. That would be a considerable burden upon the people of the Gaeltacht. I only referred to these other matters to show how we were trying to provide that these people be put in a position to repay such loans and the interest upon them.

"Is fearr go mall ná go bráth." Más maith an Bille seo is mithid é do thabhairt isteach. "Mair a chapaill agus gheobhaidh tú fear" ach tá an Ghealtacht ag fáil bháis fearracht leis an gcapall. Dubhairt an tAire go leor faoi'n obair atá idir lámhaibh aige, ach is beag atá le teasbaint aige no ag an Rialtas tar éis na blianta a ghabh tharainn. Níl san mBille seo ach tosnú ach más tosnú maith é taimid sásta. Mar a dubhairt an tAire féin, tá a lán rudaí eile le déananh chó maith le tithe do thógáil. Isé an cheist a chuireann na daoine bochta san nGaeltacht ar dhuine—"Cé'n mhaith teach do thógáil muna bhfuil slí bheatha againn le maireachtáil san tigh? Cathfimíd dul go hAmerica agus thar lear mar a chuaidh na daoine san am atá thart." Is mar sin atá an sceal san nGaeltacht. Deir an Rialtas go bhfuil rómpa Stát Gaedhalach do chur ar bun anso agus isé tuairim an Aire go leathnuigh an Ghaedhilg ó'n Oirthear go dti an Iarthar. Ní hé sin mo thuairim-se agus tá a lán Gaedhilgeoiri ar an dtuairim céana liom. Ceapann siad go mbeidh an teanga marbh má cailltear í san nGaedhaeltacht. Tá a lán figiúirí agus cuntaisí ar fáil mar gheall ar stad na Gaedhilge san nGaeltacht ach is dócha go bhfuil a lán daoine curtha síos mar chainnteoirí Gaedhilge nach labhrann Gaedhilg in aon chor. Mar a dubhairt an tAire, ba chóir oifigigh ag a bhfuil Gaedhilg do chur go dtí an Gaeltacht idtreo go dtúigfeadh na daoine go bhfuil meas ag an Rialtas ar an nGaedhilg agus muinighin acu as na daoine a labhrann an Ghaedhilg.

Tá a lán rudaí eile le déanamh. Sna seacht mbliana atá thart, ní raibh an Rialtas ach ag útamáil; ní raibh siad i ndáiríribh. Chíonn siad an méid daoine as an nGaeltacht atá ag imeacht as an tír; an méid daoine as Oileán Arainn agus áiteacha mar sin, daoine nach bhfuil focal Béarla acu, atá ag dul go hAimerica agus tíortha eile. Chíonn siad an méid diomhalta atá á dhéanamh do chúis na Gaedhilg mar sin. Caithfimíd na daoine seo do choimeád san tír agus obair do thabhairt dóibh. Caitheadh £2,000,000 ar na bóithre móra agus is beag de'n mhéid sin a chuaidh isteach san nGaeltacht. Agus táimíd ag súil le cuairteóirí don Ghaeltacht san samhra; táimíd ag súil go mbeidh na ti ósta réidh n-a gcóir ach nílimíd ag smaoineamh ar na daoine bochta imease na sléibhte. Caithfimíd rud éigin do dhéanamh ar an bpoinnte boise le h-aghaidh na ndaoine seo má táimíd i ndáiríribh. Má tá an tAire i ndáiríribh, gheobha sé congnamh agus có-oibreachas ón taoibh seo den Dáil.

Tá a lán Teachtaí ar an taobh eile ag a bhfuil baint acu leis an obair seo agus deir siad gur truagh é go bhfuil an méid sin "red tape" ann agusatá. Dubhairt an tAire nach leagfear síos mórán coiníollacha i dtaobh an Bhille seo agus go mbeidh sé furus dul ar aghaidh leis an obair. Más fíor é sin, is maith é, ach isé mo thuairim féin go mbeidh an t-Aire Airgid ar chúl na hoibre. Beidh sé annsin gan amhras agus ar an chaoi céana ar ar leag sé a lámh ar chiste Bhuird na gCeanntar gCumhang cuirfé sé a lámh isteach sna sceímcanna seo i dtreo go gcólílíonfar na coiníollacha. Sé an chaoi is fearr an obair do dhéanamh ná comhacht do thabhairt do na h-oifigigh a bheas ag obair san Ghaeltacht mar a bhí ag oifigigh Bhuird na gCeanntar gCumang; ní raibh aon chur isteach ortha san ag an gCaisleán ná ag an Aireacht Airgid. Ach tá coiníollacha san mBille seo agus is féidir a lán red tape do thabhairt isteach mar gheall ortha. Ba mhaith liom geall d'fháil ó'n Aire go mbeidh lán-chomhact ag na hoifigigh faoi'n Aireacht a ndícheall do dhéanamh gan cur isteach ortha.

Ba mhaith liom geall d'fháil chómaith go mbeidh comhairle ag na hoifigigh seo ní h-amháin le muinntir na hAireachta Talmhaíochta acht le daoine san nGaeltacht—sagairt agus fír puiblí agus a leithéidi. Beidh eolas ag na daoine seo ar an obair; bhí baint acu leis le 20 or 30 blian. Bá chóir comhairle a bheith ag na hoifigigh leis na daoine seo i dtreo go gcuirfear an obair ar aghaidh ar an dóigh is fearr. B'fhéidir nach mbeadh an plean oibre a bheadh oiriúnach i gContae Tír Chonaill oiriúnach i gContae Mhuigheó agus go mbeadh an scéal mar an gcéanna idir Contae Chiarraighe agus Contae na Gaillimhe. Tá deifríocht idir na ceanntair seo agus tá scéim áirithe ag teastáil i gcóir gach ceanntair fá leith. Ba mhaith liom fios d'fháil ón Aire cad a rinne sé leis an £1,000,000 a bhí i gciste Bhuird na gCeanntar gCumhang nuair a cuireadh deire leis an mBord san. Níl ach ceathrú milliúin leagtha amach fá'n mBille seo. Bhíníos mó ná milliún punt fágtha ag Bord na gCeanntar gCumhang agus do chuir an tAire Airgid a lámh ar an méid sin. Cuireadh isteach sa Central Fund é. Ní cóir sin. Ba cheart an tairgead sin do chur ar leathtaoibh agus do chur in úsáid fá iascaireacht agus tógáilt tithe agus eile.

Nuair a bheas an Bille seo curtha tríd an Dáil is dócha go gceapfaidh an t-Aire go bhfuil a chuid oibre déanta agus gur féidir leis sos oibre a bheith aige. Ba cheart do agus ba cheart do gach Teachta ar an taoibh eile iarracht do dhéanamh chun a thuille airgid d'fháil i gcóir na hoibre seo. Cad is féidir leis an Aire do dhéanamh—má tá sé i ndáiríribh —muna bhfuil an tairgead aige? Beidh Teachtaí Chumann na nGaedheal ag déanamh obair mhaith má chuireann siad in a luighe ar an Aire Airgid an gá atá le tuille airgid i gcóir na hAireachta seo. Do réir an Bhille féin——

Is mithid don Teachta teacht chuige.

Tá deontas £80 le fáil chun tigh nua do thógáil ach níl ach £40 le fáil chun tigh d'athdhéanamh. Sé an obair is mó atá ag teastáil ná ballai nua agus fuinneoga nua agus urláir nua do chur sna tithe atá sa Ghaeltacht. Ar an abhar san, d'iarfainn ar an Aire an méid sin d'ardú agus £60 do thabhairt in ionad £40. Do réir roinn (a), deontais i gcóir tithe nua, ní tógfar mórán tithe nua. Mar gheall ar sin, is ceart an deontas chun tithe d'athdhéanamh do mheadú.

Do réir an Bhille, caithfidh 25 per cent. de na daoine i gceanntar áirithe a bheith in a gcainnteóirí Gaedhilge chun na deontais seo d'fháil. Ach ar an am gcéana, deir an tAire go bhfuil an uimhir cainnteóirí Gaedhilge méaduithe i gceanntair airithe mar gheall ar na Coláistí atá ann— Magh Nuadhad agus áiteacha eile. Nílim ró-shásta go bhfuil níos mó Gaedhilge á labhairt sna h-áiteacha so agus ba mhaith liom fios a fháil ó'n Aire an bhfuil. Má tá an méid Gaedhilge agus ba chóir in áiteacha mar seo agus má tá na daoine ionta chó bocht leis na daoine san Ghaeltacht, ba chóir congnamh do thabhairt dóibh ach ní ceart a rá gur cuid de'n Ghaeltacht iad. Dá gcuirfeá na páistí a d'fhág an scoil le seacht mbliana anuas le cheile is dócha go mbeadh an uimhir níos mó ná an ceathrú cuid de na daoine i gceanntar áirithe agus bheadh Gaedhilg ag na páistí seo. Is dó liom go mba cheart líne do tharraingt idir ceanntair na Gaeltachta agus na ceanntair eile ar a bhfuilim ag trácht. Ní dó liom go bhfuil aon deifríocht déanta eatorra san mBille seo.

Deir an tAire go mbeidh trí chúigiú den airgead ag dul don fhíor-Ghaeltacht agus dhá chuígiú do na h-áiteacha eile. Ní thuigim conus a déanfar deifríocht eatorra do réir an Bhille. Faoi Bhord na gCeanntar gCumhang, cláróíodh áiteacha in a raibh an meán-luacháil fá 30/- mar "cheanntair chumhanga" ach tá ceanntair mar seo nach bhfuil aon Ghaedhilg á labhairt ionnta.

Ní dó liom gur leor £5 chun cearclann do thógáil. Tá a fhios agam gur caitheadh £40 ar chearclainn do thógáil san Ghaeltacht. Beidh cigirí an Aire ag súil le cearclanna maithe agus ní dó liom gur féidir an obair do dhéanamh ar £5.

Nilim in aghaidh an Aire cainnt do dhéanamh ar an gceilp agus rudaí eile mar sin ach ó bheith ag éisteacht leis an Aire shaoilfeá gur duine simplí é. Ach ní hé sin an barúil atá agam-sa faoi. On scathamh aimsire do chaith mé annseo, isé no thuairim go bhfuil sé an-ghlic. Nuair atá sceal le hinnsint aige, tá go leor le rá aige. Do labhair sé iniu ar cheilp agus a lán rudai eile nach bhfuil trácht ortha san mBille. Sé sin an fath go ndubhairt me go mba cheart deis a bheith agam an tAire a fhreagairt fhaid agus bhí deis aige tagairt do dhéanamh do na rudaí seo. Do labhair sé ar cheilp agus déantúisí agus na rudaí eile go ndearna sé faillí ionta le blianta agus ní bhíonn seans againn an obair seo do cháine ach uair sa bhlian. Anois, nuair nach bhfuil deis againn é do fhreagairt labhrann an tAire ar na rudaí seo; is ar na rudaí seo is mó do labhair sé. Tá fios againn nach bhfuil mórán maitheas ann tithe do thógáil fhaid agus nach bhfuil daoine ann le cur isteach ionnta. B'fhéidir gurb é sin an fáth gur labhair an tAire ar na rudaí nach bhfuil sa mBille.

I notice that the Minister has at last, after six or seven years, taken our advice. I must say that neither people in the Gaeltacht nor Deputies on those benches should be at all thankful to the Minister for this Bill, because it took a considerable amount of pressure from members of this side of the House and from members from the Gaeltacht to make the Minister alive to the necessity of dealing with the Gaeltacht. We have been speaking here for two or three years on the question of housing in the Gaeltacht. When the other housing grants were before the House, we pointed out that they were useless in the Gaeltacht and along the western seaboard. At that time different excuses were made and it was even contended that a number of houses were built there and that the other grants were of use to the western fishermen and to small farmers. We always contended that they were not, and I am glad to see that as a result of the pressure brought to bear on the Minister he has decided to bring in this Bill.

He has done exactly what he undid seven years ago. We are back again to the Congested Districts Board, to the same system of building houses, improving houses, and the building of stabling and piggeries. All this work was done by the Congested Districts Board for years in the Gaeltacht. Money was spent year after year on this system of housing and the improvement of out-offices and stabling. After seven years the Minister has at last been convinced that it is necessary to look after these matters. I am glad that he is becoming educated. I notice one difference in the scheme proposed by the Minister in the Bill, and that carried out by the Congested Districts Board. Under the old system carried out by the Congested Districts Board a local committee was set up. Four or five people were selected from a parish to give advice as to those who were in need of relief in the matter of housing. A secretary, whose salary was dependent on the amount spent in the year, was also appointed. He was given five per cent. on expenditure to investigate cases, and a supervisor was appointed for three or four parishes. I think that that system of the Congested Districts Board worked out very well, and it would be a better plan to revert to that than to have too much officialism, as Deputy Derrig pointed out, in the spending of the money. The Minister has stated that simultaneous efforts are being made to improve the economic situation. He forestalled criticism by making that statement. He talked of kelp, knitting and rural industries in the Gaeltacht. I am sure the Minister knew perfectly well that the question of kelp, rural industries and the development of fisheries, things which he usually covers, do not come into the Bill, and the simultaneous efforts to improve the economic situation of which he speaks are not being undertaken.

On a point of order, the Deputy objects to my dealing with these questions, but in his speech he is going to criticise the activities of the Department in that respect, although he objects to my discussing them.

As I pointed out, my objection was not to the discussion of these matters but to the possibility that I would not be allowed to answer them and to go into the whole question of the Gaeltacht.

The Deputy wants to speak of these matters but he objects to my doing so.

The Minister made use of all the propaganda he could.

You are a good propagandist.

The Minister had practically finished dealing with the lace schools and fisheries when I intervened to know if I would be allowed to speak on them. However, I have no great ambition to speak on them except to point out that this is a subterfuge of the Minister's to get away from the fact that it is no use building houses when you have no people to put into them. I had a discussion with some people down in the Gaeltacht about the housing question, although at the time I did not know what the Bill would be.

Do you object to the Minister bringing in a Housing Bill?

Oh, no. I have no objection to the Housing Bill, and the Deputy who put that question knows that quite well, because he knows that on several occasions for the last two years I have asked that a Bill should be brought in. Propaganda of that sort may be all right, and may go down at a chapel gate, but it does not do here when we are discussing the Second Reading of the Housing Bill. People have spoken to me about this Bill, and one man made a rather wise remark, though it may not be considered wise by the Minister. He said: "I see they are going to give us big windows and good doors to our houses, to the hovels. I suppose the big windows are to give the wolf a better view in." That will be the position in the Gaeltacht. The Minister, before drawing attention to the question of rural industries, said the migration policy was to be continued. If, in conjunction with the Housing Bill, we had a migration policy, and that houses were built on some of the ranches to which the Minister referred, it would be a decided improvement, but there is no migration in the Gaeltacht. Four or five houses have been built. Can you call that a migration policy? Nothing has been done in any sense to relieve congestion in the Gaeltacht. I hold that the statement of the Minister that migration is to be continued would lead any member of the House who was not aware of the conditions to think that migration was being carried out. That is not so.

There is another point regarding which I would like some information from the Minister. It is in connection with the older housing schemes. I see that there were 1,414 houses built in the last few years. The Minister knows that these houses, or most of them, were built by people who could well afford to build under the conditions of the other Housing Acts. I had not much time to go over this Bill, but I think it contains a clause restricting grants for piggeries, henhouses and stables and provides that grants for such stabling accommodation will not be allowed to people who availed themselves of former housing grants. Under Section 7 it appears that people who availed of the other Housing Acts will not now be able to add to the new houses or to erect stabling or piggeries as they would under former Bills. Is that so?

This Bill only deals with this particular problem. Section 7 states: "No grant shall be made under this Act in respect of a dwelling house or in respect of accommodation ancillary to a dwelling house in respect of which a grant out of public moneys is being or has at any time within seven years before the passing of this Act been made under any other Act of the Oireachtas or any British statute." That precludes a person from getting a double grant, a Government grant under this Bill and a grant under the other Housing facilities under the former Acts, for getting grants or loans for building, stabling or piggeries. That does not stop them as far as this Act is concerned.

I take it that people who built houses under the other Act will be allowed to apply and be granted facilities for the building of piggeries and outoffices for poultry?

Yes, if such facilities existed under the former Acts. This Bill does not deprive them of any rights they had under existing Acts.

I take it that those who built houses within the last six months and who got a grant of £45 will not be debarred from getting a grant for the building of piggeries?

Yes, under the Act.

That is the point.

An Leas Cheann Comhairle

This is a Committee point and it should be raised in Committee.

I thought I had made myself quite clear. Section 7, sub-section (1) says: "No grant shall be made under this Act in respect of a dwelling house or in respect of accommodation ancillary to a dwelling house in respect of which a grant out of public moneys is being or has at any time within seven years before the passing of this Act been made under any other Act of the Oireachtas or any British statute." That is, persons cannot get loans under this Act if they have already got loans under existing Housing Acts for any other purpose.

In other words, a man can get up to £80 under this Bill but a man who availed of the existing Acts and got £45 six months ago, to build a house cannot now build piggeries and ancillary buildings and get the grant to which he would be entitled if he waited for this Bill. The Bill is a Bill that is badly needed. I think the Bill is due to the pressure brought to bear on the Minister from the Gaeltacht and from Deputies from the Gaeltacht. It is a Bill that will improve the living conditions in the Gaeltacht. We expect and hope that in conjunction with the Bill the Minister will proceed with the development of rural industries and other matters to which he referred in his speech. Housing should not be looked upon as the final step. When we see the Fishing Bill which he has promised and that attention is paid to the kelp industry and the other rural industries, we will then agree that it will be possible to avail of this Housing Bill because until these matters are attended to it will not.

I would like to express my appreciation of the terms of the Bill and to say that I think if it is broadly and generously administered it will do a great deal of good. The Minister was right when he said that it catered for a section of our population who, all of us who come from areas such as are covered by this Bill know, are from time to time almost entirely forgotten. The housing legislation we have had here from time to time has not touched the people of these areas at all and I feel that the powers taken under this Bill represent an honest attempt to get down to this question. I am glad to know that there is going to be a good deal of elasticity in the manner in which sections of the Bill are to be interpreted. That is absolutely necessary because in dealing with this question and in dealing with the people who will mainly be affected by this Bill, you cannot hope to get anywhere if you have rigid regulations under which you propose to carry out the provisions of the Bill.

Now, there are certain blots in this Bill, and it is just as well that criticisms which are intended to be useful should be expressed at this stage. I know the Minister's statement was that it is intended to confine the operations of this Bill to small holders entirely. I realise the small holders in the areas to be covered by this Bill of the type it is intended to deal with are in a particularly bad condition, but I regret that there is no provision whatever for extending the scope of this Bill to people, such as fishermen and rural labourers, who have not been able to avail of other housing legislation that has been passed. The Labourers Acts are suspended at the moment, and there is not a great opportunity, as members of local authorities will know, of pushing ahead schemes of labourers' cottages that will meet the position of people like fishermen and rural labourers. If there had been any desire to extend the operation of the local loans to schemes of that kind, then something might be done, but unquestionably recent legislation or want of facilities under the Labourers Acts to deal with cases of people of that kind, coupled with the Minister's statement that they are not to be included under the terms of this Bill, is very discouraging.

Recent housing legislation has been a very considerable boon, and it has been on the whole well and broadly administered, but it had this effect, and I mention this fact in connection with the point I am making about certain people who are left out: it gave opportunities to certain people in this country who had plenty of capital to put up cheap houses and get any rent for them, and the rent extorted in cases of this kind in many of the rural areas was nothing short of a public robbery. If any encouragement was given under the terms of this Bill to thrifty fishermen and labourers to get facilities to provide themselves with decent houses the Bill would be a great deal more valuable. I do not know with what prospect of success I may suggest that the matter be reconsidered between this time and the Committee Stage of the Bill.

I was sorry to hear the Minister lay down as a principle of the administration of this Bill that only in rare cases would applications for loans be considered. If this Bill is going to achieve the object which the Minister detailed in his opening statement loans must be considered in the majority of the cases to be dealt with under this Bill I hope that the Minister will have the necessary investigations made that will enable him to confirm that view because unquestionably there is no doubt whatever about that fact. The provision made in the Bill for reconstruction or improvement is a really good one. Those of us who have watched the progress of housing legislation in this House for a number of years have always felt that that was a great want in housing legislation, and time and again the Ministry have been urged to extend provisions of that kind to their general housing legislation. In so far as they have endeavoured to meet that want in the sections of this Bill they have done something that is going to be good in the effect that it is going to have in rural areas.

There are just a few other points. I am glad to know that the Minister has given consideration to another argument that has been very often advanced here in connection with housing legislation, and that is that some sort of scheme, a minor one perhaps, of central purchase of material should be set up. If there be one danger to be feared in the operation of this Bill it is that the people who are anxious to get a wholly unjustifiable profit out of building material—and that is no unusual state of affairs in this country at the moment—would be the gainers rather than the unfortunate people in whose interests this Bill has been drafted. I hope that the powers taken in a section of this Bill will be given effect to because we had some such provision of that kind in previous housing legislation that remained absolutely a dead letter. I would like the Minister to give an assurance that that provision will be given effect to and that every attempt will be made to ensure the maximum benefit in the Bill for those for whom it is intended.

Two considerations are stated in the Bill that will govern the giving of grants, one the consideration that preference will be given to people in whose homes the Irish language is habitually spoken and secondly to people living in the most insanitary dwellings. I hope that there will not be any rigid decisions on cases that will come under the preferences stated in the first example I have given and that the Minister will endeavour to weigh up the preferences in respect of people in whose homes the language is habitually spoken equally with the cases of people who live in insanitary dwellings. If you are going to carry a preference of the first kind too far in the administration of this Bill you are going to leave a great many cases that are very deserving entirely untouched. I say that with no spirit of hostility or criticism whatever towards any action the Minister or his colleagues have taken in this connection because I view their action with entire sympathy. The operations of this Bill will not be confined strictly, so far as I can ascertain from the Schedule attached to the Bill, to the Gaeltacht areas. It has a wider interpretation, but I would like to see the Schedule attached to this Bill widened very considerably. I take the instance of the constituency that I represent myself and I have no doubt whatever about the fact that the Deputies who represent that constituency will bear me out in the view I have. The whole of the six western rural districts in the constituency of West Cork—I mention this not as a particular case but as a general instance of what I think may be done in the matter of extending the scope of the Bill—the six areas that are really congested areas, the areas of Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Dunmanway, Schull, Castletownbere, Bantry and so on, should be given the full effect of a Bill of this kind.

The Minister has given us, and it is the first time I have heard it, the reasons why the scope of this Bill have been extended to certain areas and restricted in other cases. He says it is based on information, on the census of returns as to the percentage of Irish speakers. I do not know whether the Minister is aware of the manner in which that information is obtained, but I have very strong suspicions that the information is unreliable in many respects. It may be unreliable in over-stating the percentage of Irish speakers and in under-estimating it in some districts. I think it may be unreliable in both cases, but it certainly was obtained in some instances in a very haphazard way. I doubt if it is any real indication of the position. In any case I would urge that there should be an extension of the Bill in such areas as I have mentioned. I think also it would be desirable, if possible, if the section referred to by the Minister. Section 11, sub-section (4), were made more simple. I can see there would be a difficulty in giving effect to a section of that kind. I would agree also that there should be some local machinery whereby the best that is in this Act would be given to the most deserving cases.

I disagree entirely with certain criticisms offered by Deputy Dr. Tubridy. I think it is regrettable that some of the small points that were made by him in the course of his contribution to this debate were made. I do not think they affect the issue, and it does not show a spirit which I would like to see in approaching this matter. I say that, with all due respect to his views, and to the many other points he made which are valuable. On the whole, I think it is going to do a considerable amount of good, and I hope that certain points which were made by me and others will be given consideration between now and the Committee Stage of the Bill. I think the Bill will be valuable in the country where it is wanted most.

I agree with Deputy Murphy in saying that a very valuable feature of this Bill is the provision for an improvement grant. It will be within the recollection of a great many Deputies that about twenty years ago the late Congested Districts Board made a similar provision for improvement grants administered by Parish Committees. I was a member of one of these Parish Committees for three or four years and I think we did a certain amount of good. I am not going to urge the Minister to revive these Parish Committees, because, looking back and examining my conscience, I am inclined to think that we were perhaps a little too kind-hearted to our neighbours, but I do urge on him the desirability of having some local knowledge and some local opinion. This Act cannot be administered entirely from a centralised office in Dublin. If it is to do the work that is required the Minister will have to consult some opinion locally. I hope he will indicate the type of opinion that he will consult. It is very hard, of course, for anybody when asked if they would recommend a neighbour for a grant to say "No." At the same time, there are in every county and in every barony people who could be consulted and who ought to be consulted.

The second point on which I wish to touch is the definition of the Gaeltacht which Deputy Murphy has also referred to. It is a very large and rather simple definition which is to be used for the purposes of this Act, but no further or otherwise. We then have a large number of electoral divisions some of which are not even so Gaelic that they have Irish names. In the County of Clare we have the electoral Division of Smithstown. I think that ought to be Baile na Gabhann. Smithstown does not seem to be predominantly Gaelic. In County Cork, we have Mountrivers and Williamstown. We then have Kilbrittain which probably translated means the Church of England. In County Donegal, which is Gaeltacht we have Templedouglas an entirely English name and Rutland which is not only the name of an English county but the most insignificant of English counties. Then we have Churchhill. I do not know whether it is proper to call a townland in the Gaeltacht after a British politician. In the County Galway, we have Hillsbrook, in the County Kerry Headfort, in County Mayo Louisburgh, Portroyal and Houndswood. These are not Gaelic names. In the County Waterford there are something like sixty electoral divisions. I know that there is a Gaeltacht in the County of Waterford, but does it extend over sixty electoral divisions? I have my doubts. There we have Mountkennedy, Mountstewart, Whitechurch and Fox's Castle, none of them very Gaelic names.

I would like to remark that the need for housing in County Leitrim is second, I think, to that of County Mayo. I think it is a blot on the Bill that there are only two electoral divisions in the County of Leitrim that will benefit. Leitrim is almost the poorest, if not the poorest, of Irish counties. I have said it before. If we are going to help poor districts we ought to extend that help in Leitrim. Limerick, Louth and Roscommon also evade my question. I will refer to Sligo in a moment, and now comes Tipperary. Here we have two electoral divisions, one is half Irish—Ballybacon. That sounds to me like the kind of a name that an English low comedian would invent when trying to refer to an Irish town. I assume it is part of the Gaeltacht. The other is Newcastle, which is certainly not a Gaelic name. Then I come to County Sligo, of which I have more knowledge.

May I point out that many of those names are practically literal translations of the Irish names. Newcastle is a case in point—Caislean Nuadh.

Translated by Deputy Cooper's predecessors.

They may have changed the names. In County Sligo we have Riverstown. Riverstown is not, to my knowledge, and I know it fairly well, part of the Gaeltacht. I have never heard any Irish spoken there at all, and I am largely responsible for its housing. While something might be said ten or twelve years ago for the need of housing in Riverstown, I think it is fairly good now. In Sligo you have one district which economically is exactly the same as districts in Donegal or the neighbouring districts in Mayo. I am glad to see the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister in his place. He will know Tireragh. It is a fishing district in which the people eke out a comparatively poor existence. It is not very well housed. It is a blot on the Bill that such places in that barony as Easkey and Dromore West are not included. The need there is as great as it is elsewhere. I do not know whether it can be strictly defined as belonging to the Gaeltacht, but I am quite certain it is as much Gaeltacht as some of the electoral divisions in the Schedule.

I hope the Minister will look into that. The real test, as Deputy Murphy suggested, is the test of the economic means of the people, and not the qualification only to speak Irish. Give your preference, if you like, to speakers of the Irish language. I do not quarrel with that at all, but I ask you not to leave out areas of the country simply because, under a rule of thumb, these areas are not definitely included in the Gaeltacht. I am sure the need is greater all along the Western seaboard than, say, in Waterford, with all respect to Deputy Goulding. I know there is a Gaeltacht in Waterford, but I know that that area is much more prosperous than those districts along the West of Ireland which by an arbitrary rule are not included in the provisions of this Bill. I would add mine to the appeal made by Deputy Murphy to the Minister, and ask him to make his definition more wide and not limit the Bill to the townlands named in the Schedule.

I welcome this Bill, because it is a Bill that is long overdue. I think it will be admitted by Deputies from all parts of the House that the conditions existing in the Gaeltacht are absolutely deplorable. I believe I would not be far wrong in describing the conditions there as the worst housing conditions in the whole of Europe. While I welcome this Bill, I want to say that it is a Bill that does not come up to my expectations. I believe that drastic needs require drastic remedies. As the need for proper housing in the Gaeltacht is most pressing, I think that need can certainly be described as drastic, and to meet that condition of things I was expecting something better than this Bill. I believe this Bill will go a little way to remedy the existing conditions, but at the same time I believe that it will not go far enough.

Under this Bill, we find that in the case of a building grant the maximum grant which can be obtained is only £80 per house. Now, when we come to compare that building grant with the building grants that were given under the 1925 Act, we find the position to be this, that a person who was in fairly wealthy circumstances and who was in a position to spend £500 or £600 on a house was enabled by that Act to get a free grant of £75. If a wealthy person made an application through a public utility society for a free grant, he was entitled to a free grant from the Department of £100. In addition to that free grant of £100, the local authority was empowered to give him another free grant of £100.

Now I am amazed that this Bill has been put forward as a final solution of the housing problem in the Gaeltacht. As I have pointed out, the advantages which are being extended under this Bill to poor people in the Gaeltacht are not as good as the conditions which were extended to the wealthy class of persons under the 1925 Act. I believe that as far as housing is concerned, this Act only proves that the policy of the Government seems to be that there is to be one law for the rich and a different law for the poor. As far as this Bill which is going to apply to the poorer people is concerned, the same facilities are not being extended as were extended to wealthy persons under the 1925 Act. Can it be gainsaid that under the 1925 Act there have been thousands of houses erected by public utility societies and private persons, even comparatively wealthy private persons, who have got grants from £75 to £100 from the Government and a similar grant from the local authorities? These grants were extended to wealthy classes of people, and many of them have taken advantages of these grants. Amongst those persons who have taken advantage of it are many persons who have been able to erect motor garages by the sides of their houses.

When a Bill like this is introduced to remedy housing conditions in the Gaeltacht one would expect that a genuine attempt would be made to solve this problem and that better facilities would be offered to those people than were offered to the wealthy classes. In the Gaeltacht, many people are living in hovels almost unfit for cattle, and their needs are admitted by all Parties in this House. Now as for affording better facilities, unfortunately we find that these better facilities are not forthcoming. Deputy Tubridy said that there was a possibility of this Bill bringing us back to the Congested Districts Board principle. I only wish it would. Unfortunately, the Bill does not do so.

Deputies will recollect that special preferential treatment was given by the old Congested Districts Board to people in the congested areas which, as I might say, is the Gaeltacht area. Well, the Congested Districts Board gave preferential treatment to the people in these areas, but we find that, as far as this Housing Bill is concerned, it does not give as good facilities to the poor people in the Gaeltacht as was given under the Act of 1925. It might be said by the Minister, in reply, that the Act of 1925 applied to the whole Saorstát. That might be so, but the Minister will not deny the fact that the poverty-stricken condition of the people in the Gaeltacht debarred them from taking advantage of the Act of 1925 to any extent. The people in the cities and in some of the urban areas outside the Gaeltacht were in many cases able to take advantage of that Act, but unfortunately the fact remains that the people in the Gaeltacht areas were unable to take advantage of it.

We find in this Bill, as far as improvement is concerned, only a sum of £40 is allowed per house, whereas under the Act of 1925 the improvement grant up to £50 was allowed, and advantage of that provision was taken by many comparatively wealthy people. In addition to the grant of £50 under the 1925 Act, which is not given under this Bill, the local authority was, in addition, entitled to give a certain amount. It may be said that £80 will go a long way towards building a house in the Gaeltacht. Personally, I do not believe that it will. It will go some of the way I admit, but if advantage is to be taken of this Act it will mean that the people will necessarily have to make application for a loan. According to what the Minister told us, the question of loans must be governed by the capacity of the people to repay these loans. It will be recognised by anyone who knows the Gaeltacht that the necessity is greatest amongst the poorest of the people. Well, now, the poorest of the people will not be in a position to do what the Minister would require. Consequently I dare say that these loans will not be granted. I believe that if that stipulation is adhered to it will strangle the Bill in its cradle and it will not do the good that we would like to see it do. The Minister would require to outline that section dealing with the loans more clearly. Under this Bill the repayment of the interest plus the sinking fund and the repayment of capital would mean that practically £4 10s. a year would have to be paid for every £80 loan borrowed.

I just assumed that that would be about the figure. But I have no figures to guide me at all.

I am only taking that figure as an assumption. Let us assume that a person gets a grant of £80 and a loan of £160. Approximately he will have to pay £9 per annum in order to pay the sinking fund interest, etc.

He cannot get a loan of £160 under this Bill. It is a loan and grant. He could not get more than £80 of a grant and £80 of a loan, and the interest and sinking fund would only be on the loan.

I see the Minister's point, but every person getting a grant of £80 would have to repay that by £4 10s. per year. Now, what sort of a house does the Minister imagine could be put up for £160? The Minister will admit that a house put up for £160 will not be as good as the agricultural labourers cottages that were put up for the labourers under the Labourers Act.

Better. As the figures work out, they will be considerably better. The houses for which an £80 grant and an £80 loan will be given will cost £180—the £20 is to be found somewhere else. The proposed house will have four rooms— a kitchen, a bedroom for the parents, a bedroom for the boys and a bedroom for the girls. That is the plan.

Three bedrooms and a kitchen.

Let us say that it is a four-roomed house. The repayment of £4 10s. 0d. per annum will mean a payment of approximately 1/9 a week falling upon that poor person. That means that the man in the Gaeltacht will be called upon to pay more per annum than an agricultural worker in Dublin, Leix, Offaly, Kildare or Meath, where they have labourers' cottages for 1/- or 1/3 per week. That leads us to the question, is this Bill going to bring all the advantages that we were promised? I do not think that it is going to be of such benefit to the people in the Gaeltacht as was the scheme under which cottages were built for labourers in other parts of the country. A labourer in County Dublin drawing 38/- or 40/- a week is asked to pay only 1/3 a week for his cottage, but these poor people will be asked to pay 1/9. I believe the Bill will not remedy the evil. I had hopes that it would have been a better Bill. I can see all through it the hand of the Minister for Finance. I believe, as far as the Minister for Lands and Fisheries is concerned, he realises that it could have been a better Bill. I believe it is a question of £ s. d.

That brings us back to what was mentioned by Deputy Tubridy. The C.D. Board, when formed, had a capital of £1,500,000. At 2¾ per cent. that brought an annual amount to the congested areas of £41,250. That proves that the people in the congested areas in the Gaeltacht are not getting as good treatment as they did under the C.D. Board. I do not think that will be denied.

With regard to the various sections of the Bill, some will require to be altered a little if the measure is to be of any benefit. Section 2, dealing with the extent of the Gaeltacht, gives power to the Minister to make certain alterations. I think this power is altogether too great to be vested in the Minister. It is mentioned in sub-section (3) that an order can be annulled, but "without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under such order." I think there is too much power conveyed there. Deputy Tubridy has made reference to the restriction in Section 7 on the making of grants. That section sets out that: "No grant shall be made under this Act in respect of a dwelling-house or in respect of accommodation ancillary to a dwellinghouse in respect of which a grant out of public moneys is being or has at any time within seven years before the passing of this Act been made under any other Act of the Oireachtas or any British statute." Let us say a person in the Gaeltacht gets £45 to build a house under a previous Act. I presume that will debar him from getting a grant to build a poultry house or a piggery. If, for instance, a person gets a loan from the Agricultural Credit Corporation, it is possible he might be debarred from getting a loan under this Bill. Perhaps the Minister will elucidate that matter.

Are not these Committee points?

In regard to Section 8, I think the Minister should make the matter more clear. His Department will have power to grant loans, but it is set out that the rate of interest will be fixed by the Minister for Finance. The Minister should give us some indication of what the maximum rate of interest will be. While I welcome the Bill generally, I think it does not go far enough. Legislation in the interests of the comparatively rich was enacted in 1925. This legislation which should be of benefit to the poor is not up to the standard of the 1925 legislation which was of advantage to comparatively rich people.

I wish to congratulate the Minister on the very admirable manner in which this Bill has been drafted. It appears to be an honest attempt to deal expeditiously and inexpensively with a very pressing matter. The Bill gives preference, in the first instance, to those people who are able to speak Irish. I think that point will not meet with disapproval on the part of any section or any member of this House. Speaking of the people who are in a position to use the Irish language, the Minister referred to them as people who have been abandoned and forgotten. He has described them as nobody's children and he thinks that the time has at last come when somebody should take care of them and when the sheltering hand should be held out to them. Many of them are unable to express themselves in the language which the majority of the people in this country speak. I see no reason why that hand should not be held out. When the Minister was speaking I could not help applying his words particularly to the district electoral division of Cape Clear, which is in my constituency, and which comprises the island of that name and the adjoining island. The people there are far away from the mainland. They all speak Irish. Up to the present, for some strange reason—perhaps it is that they are afraid of spreading the native tongue—they have been cut off from the mainland. They have no communication with it and despite all attempts to provoke the generosity and justice of the responsible Department they are still cut off from the mainland; they have still no opportunity of spreading their knowledge, which is unusual, of the Irish language. I hope when the Minister comes to deal with places like that, he will give them special consideration and will provide the people with some means of taking out building materials which at present they cannot do without risking their own lives and the lives of those who take out the materials. I know the Minister has not forgotten and I appeal to him to give those people a special chance.

I think Deputy Tubridy was a little bit ungracious in his interpretation of this Bill and in the criticisms he made. He emphasised over and over again that he had not had time to read the Bill. He had the same opportunity of reading it as had every other Deputy. I do not know that it is a fair criticism to keep repeating that he had not time to read the Bill. It is a pity he had not time. Perhaps he would have been wiser had he restrained his criticism until such time as he had read the Bill. If he had read it I am sure a great many of his criticisms would have been left unsaid. Deputy Cassidy said that he expected the Bill would be something advantageous. I think that the time will never come when a Bill of that sort to relieve very pressing needs will be as good as we would wish it—I think we will always look for something better. I think the spirit of looking for something better, as depicted by Deputy Cassidy, is one which actuates us all. As we have it before us at present, I suggest that the Bill would go through in the form in which it is, with some trifling amendments.

Deputy Murphy points out what I think is apparent, that this is a Bill which may not assist many of the labourers and fishermen who have not got the land themselves on which to build, and who certainly have no means of their own to build. He suggested that perhaps they could be included before the Report Stage. I should like to back the appeal if I thought that was practicable. I need not point out that it would mean the introduction of powers for the compulsory acquisition of land and other matters that would not only delay the Bill, but embarrass the carrying of the Bill into effect. I suggest that that will of necessity, and very regretfully, have to be left over for some future occasion on which we may again appeal to the generosity of the Minister and the good feeling which we know that he has towards the people in those distressed counties. From time to time I have heard in this House pictures drawn of the slums of Dublin and other places. The slums of Dublin are palaces compared with the slums of Cape Clear—there is no comparison between them. There are houses to be found on these islands and in the congested districts on the mainland of West Cork which would baffle description. I take it the Bill is meant to deal with these extreme cases as much as possible.

I was alarmed when I heard from the Minister a suggestion that the loans would be very sparingly given. I would ask the Minister to bear in mind that he is dealing with people who, having regard to the present state of the fishing industry particularly, and of the agricultural industry in West Cork, are broken to the world. They are living like dogs, and unless they can get some assistance to build a house they cannot produce the cash themselves. It will be only tempting many of them to desperation to say that if they build a £160 house they will get a grant of £80. The remaining £80 is absolutely unprocurable by them. I hope that the loans contemplated will be dealt with in no niggardly spirit, and that as well as the grant the loan of £80 will be given where it is found necessary by reason of the financial condition of the person applying. I have no doubt that in many of these cases where people have no capital they would be able to provide their own labour and, to a certain extent, the material, such as stones, as well as the cartage, and in that way they can build for £160 a house which an ordinary man would not build for £300. I take it that that is the view which the Minister has. They can only get £160, but with their own labour, with the assistance they will be able to give to the tradesmen, they will be able to put up a house which will be worth at least £300, and which an ordinary man could not put up for £300 or £400.

One point which Deputy Murphy made and which I will put before the Minister in a slightly altered form, is this: The Land Act of 1903 established a congested county consisting of the four rural districts of Schull, Skibbereen, Bantry and Castletown. Dunmanway is outside it and so is Clonakilty. I would ask the Minister to have no cheeseparing about it. He has left out of the Schedule a very considerable portion of the Schull rural district, which is, with two or three exceptions, one of the poorest and most congested rural districts in the Saorstát. I would ask the Minister to restore to the Schedule of the Bill the congested county established by the Act of 1903—in other words, instead of the various electoral divisions we find in the Schedule, put there the rural districts of Schull, Skibbereen, Bantry and Castletown.

As regards the fact that they do not speak Irish there, if it were known when they were taking the census that the speaking of Irish had anything to do with the provision of houses, I would guarantee that every man-jack of them would speak Irish, and I would say that they speak Irish there as well as they speak it anywhere else. They may not speak it quite as well as the people of Cape Clear, which, to anybody who wishes to study Irish and to hear it spoken, is the one bright spot. Up to the present the Minister has said: "You will not send them to Cape Clear, because I will not give you a boat." At present people go there at the risk of their lives. In the other parts of the district they speak it as well as they do in other parts of Ireland, and they will speak it until further order if you will bring these rural districts under this Bill. It is a real treat to hear them speaking Irish in Cape Clear. I was thinking of that when I heard Deputy Derrig speaking, and I agree with every word he said. If he could only hear them speaking Irish in Cape clear he would discover that they speak it somehow differently from anywhere else. I am told that they are particularly expressive when they speak of the way in which they have been abandoned and forgotten up to this by those who are in authority. On occasions such as that they always use the Irish language. Up to this I would not care to be in the position of the Minister if he were anywhere around, but when this Bill has been put into operation I can promise him that he will be always remembered in their prayers in Irish.

Evidently some members of the Government Party expect the House to throw bouquets at the Minister for producing this Bill. Deputy Wolfe thought that Deputy Tubridy was ungracious in his reception of the Bill. This question of the Gaeltacht and congested areas as a whole, has been a burning question for at least the last seven years as far as the particular Party is concerned that has produced this Bill. It has been a burning question for the last hundred years, and, unfortunately for the country, at the present time the Minister, in this Bill, has not produced anything better than what has preceded it—in fact, it has been held with some truth that it is worse.

Everybody was under the impression that when this Free State Government got into power at least one of the principal planks in its platform would be the preservation of the Irish language; and not alone should they have preserved the language in the particular parts of the country in which it is paramount but also in the surrounding and adjoining areas of what is commonly called the Gaeltacht, because it is not from Dublin to the Gaeltacht that the language must spread, but from the Gaeltacht outward. Naturally, one would conclude that the adjacent areas to the Gaeltacht would be the first to revive the language as spreading from the Gaeltacht outwards.

Deputy Wolfe made a very significant statement when he said that there were areas in the congested areas adjoining the Gaeltacht in which the people, if they had known that there was any benefit accruing from a knowledge of Irish would have recorded themselves in the Census as being Irish speakers. Very significant that. Why? Because these people in the areas adjoining the Gaeltacht, where ordinarily they should be Irish speakers, were terrorised into denying any knowledge of Irish by the predecessors of the Deputy who has just spoken. They were afraid to acknowledge that they spoke the Irish language, and the Deputy has admitted that out of his own mouth. If we are supposed to throw bouquets at the Government because they have produced a Bill which, according to Deputy Wolfe, is an inexpensive measure, I am afraid the Government are going to go down unwept, unhonoured and unsung, as far as we are concerned. They themselves were responsible, under pressure, for setting up a Commission to deal with this problem of the Gaeltacht, and they had evidence from everybody who was capable of giving evidence, and it was recorded in a report. We have been waiting for something to be done for the last seven years in regard to the Gaeltacht, and now we have a Bill which certainly does not meet the needs of the Gaeltacht, and we are expected to heap flowers on the Minister because he has produced this Bill.

I have myself gone into houses not alone in the Gaeltacht area, but in the areas which formerly were dealt with by the Congested Districts Board, adjoining the Gaeltacht, and these houses were not fit to put a dog into if you thought anything about the dog. There were bags on the floor and there were dishes and pans on the floor to catch the rain when it came in. How people lived in them is a marvel to me. It made me ashamed to be living in a house. Then we are expected to throw our hats in the air and cheer over this Bill. Deputy Wolfe pretended, and the Minister apparently agrees with him, to interpret the Minister when he said that the people in the Gaeltacht would be able to provide stones and labour, with the result that a house costing an ordinary individual £300 would cost a man in the Gaeltacht only £160. If Deputy Wolfe knows anything about the Gaeltacht, or if the Minister knows anything about it, as he ought to, would he tell us how is the poor man in the Gaeltacht—part fisherman and part farmer—to provide stones and to provide labour? Where is he to get a horse and cart to bring the stones to the place where he is building the house? How is he going to live while quarrying the stones? What a farce to talk about a poor man who does not know, in practice, where his next meal is coming from, doing a heavy day's work quarrying stones, and a heavy day's work carting these stones to the place where he is to build the house, even though he is to get the Government grant, for which he will have to pay later through the nose. Deputy Wolfe talked about the fisherman, and the Minister has often talked about the fisherman. In Donegal, last August, these men, part fishermen and part farmers, in the Gaeltacht were fishing for lobster at a time when they had not milk to put in their tea. They had to be content with black tea and a piece of bread while doing their fishing, and they had no milk until a neighbour came down to the boat at Innishowen Head and gave them a can of milk. Yet these are expected to provide houses, a horse and cart, an explosive, hammers and crowbars to quarry in order to build their houses.

Is Deputy Wolfe not ashamed to talk like this? Is the Minister not ashamed to expect bouquets to be thrown at him on account of it? As Deputy Cassidy said, not alone should the Gaeltacht area as at present constituted be included in the Bill, but all those adjacent areas which formerly were included under the old Congested Districts Board, because they are just as much poverty-stricken as the Gaeltacht is at the present time. As I remarked already, if the language is to spread it must spread outwards from the Gaeltacht, not inwards into the Gaeltacht, because nobody is going to convince me that the language is going to spread from Dublin into areas like Killybegs and Inver and Carndonagh and Buncrana in Donegal. No one is going to convince me that Dublin is to be responsible for the spread of the language. The Minister, in framing this Bill, should have taken these things into consideration. This Bill was due and overdue, and it certainly has not come up to requirements, and unless the Minister does something more than he has done the Gaeltacht problem will be very far from being solved.

Deputies on this side of the House were very far, indeed, from expecting the Fianna Fáil Party to throw bouquets at the Minister for this Bill. In actual fact, I think, the feelings of the Deputies on this side of the House would be that the Minister would be more damaged than anything else by any bouquets the Fianna Fáil Party might throw at him. Deputies from the Party opposite who were for the last six years shedding crocodile tears over the Gaeltacht and shouting about what others were not doing can hardly be of any great advantage to any Minister or to anybody else.

Perhaps I am in a somewhat better position than most speakers to discuss impartially the points which I want to raise because I do not think that any parts of my constituency are affected to any great degree by the incidence of the benefits likely to be given under the Bill. There has been a tendency in most parts of the House, so far as I can see, to demand that the advantages of the Bill should be extended outside the bounds laid down in the Schedule. From an examination of the Schedule my opinion is that the bounds of the Bill are far too wide. The Bill is for the purpose of providing better housing in the Gaeltacht. What I am afraid will happen is that certain parts of the country which can by no means be described as belonging to the Gaeltacht will get the benefits of the Bill, while the real cost of it will be put on Irish-speaking districts which will not get their proper share of them. I have examined the Schedule so far as it applies to County Galway and I find that several electoral divisions are mentioned including my own parish and those adjacent to it. I find it difficult to know why they are included in the Bill. My parish and the neighbouring ones in County Galway stand economically in relation to the people of Connemara in somewhat the same relation as I stand to people in the Coombe. There is about as much difference between them as there is between Merrion Road and the slums of Dublin. To pass a Bill providing better housing accommodation for the Gaeltacht and to include in it places like Castleblakeney, Mounthazel, and Mountbellew in County Galway seems to go dangerously near throwing dust in the eyes of the Gaeltacht.

Obviously you are not a member for Galway.

I stated that I was in a peculiarly advantageous position to discuss the Bill as none of my constituents is likely to be looking for grants for houses in the Gaeltacht, or outside of it for that matter. I know that it has already happened, at least in County Galway, that grants for the relief of distress in really poverty-stricken areas, such as Connemara, were availed of to a far greater extent by people in the richer portions than by the people of Connemara who should have got the benefits but who got very few of them. From my examination of the Galway part of the Schedule I am strongly of opinion that the whole Schedule would need to be severely revised and, instead of extending the Bill, I would like to see its provisions rather tightened so that districts which are actually Gaeltacht districts would get the benefit.

If outside districts want to have such provisions for housing they could be provided in another Bill, but not in a Gaeltacht Bill. Do not have the people in Connemara, Donegal, Kerry and Waterford saddled with the odium of causing expenditure on housing in congested districts without securing proportionate benefits. If the Gaeltacht is to be provided with houses, let it be the Gaeltacht, and let us have some fixed definition of "Gaeltacht." I know that I am saying things which will not be palatable to many members of the House, but to include two electoral districts in County Leitrim and three in County Cavan in a Bill of this kind is altogether beside the point. I doubt if there is any area which could be called part of the Gaeltacht in either County Cavan or County Leitrim. I have, of course, no doubt that there are congested districts in those areas much bigger than those mentioned in the Schedule. There is no point in arbitrarily selecting a few small districts and leaving the rest of the county, which is as much congested, out of account. If you want to deal with the housing problem in Cavan, Leitrim or East Galway you can have a special Bill for the purpose, but do not confuse it with the housing problem in the Gaeltacht, which involves other factors altogether. It has been said that if you want to spread the knowledge of Irish you should spread it out from the Gaeltacht, and that the best way to spread it would be to extend the provisions of the Bill to cover areas besides the Gaeltacht. It seems to me that it might well be said to people living in such areas, if they want the provisions of the Bill to be extended, the sooner they adopt the procedure suggested by Deputy Jasper Wolfe the better, and the sooner they begin to talk Irish the better. Whatever the needs of a Deputy's constituency may be, I think that the Bill will be weak, and be in danger of being ineffective, if the present Schedule is allowed to go through. I would certainly suggest that several districts in County Galway be deleted. I know that in several of these districts the Land Commission has left practically no available land undistributed for the past six or seven years.

A Deputy

They are looking for more.

I can mention Mounthazel. I can mention Castleblakeney. The fact remains that the Land Commission has been giving land in those districts to landless men who were not able to stock it. In a district like that, where there is so much land available, and you have not suitable people for it——

That is nonsense.

I am talking of the district in which I was born.

That is one district only.

I mentioned three districts, and I say that it applies to a great majority of districts in East Galway. I know East Galway as well as, if not better, than the Deputy.

I do not think you do.

The same remarks apply to that part of the Schedule dealing with County Mayo. I know that there is congestion and poverty in Kilmovee and Kiltimagh. I do not see why Kiltimagh should be included in a Bill designed to provide houses in the Gaeltacht. If you want to make provision for Kiltimagh in that respect you should make it in another Bill. There is great danger that this Bill, like other measures for the relief of distress, will be vitiated by including in it all sorts of things that should not come under it. For that reason I will propose when the time comes that several districts be deleted from the Bill. If the Bill is carefully de-limited in its scope and if the money intended for one specific purpose is not diverted to other good but different purposes it will be all right.

One of the difficulties of making out a Schedule of this kind lies in the fact that we have not in this country a satisfactory rural unit, a local area, for the purpose of a Bill like this. The old baronies and parishes are done away with and nothing remains but the electoral divisions, which are only small fragments, and which cannot apply to a Bill of this kind. We had that difficulty in regard to the Gaeltacht Commission. It was extremely difficult to de-limit any area for the purpose of the work of the Commission because there existed no units of sufficiently manageable size. The electoral division unit is too small. To include three from County Cavan, two from County Leitrim and also a few from County Roscommon in a Bill like this is both dangerous from the point of view of a Bill for the provision of houses in the Gaeltacht and useless from the point of view of the people of Cavan, Leitrim and Roscommon, because it can only touch the small fringe of the congestion problem which exists there. I would recommend to the Minister that, the object of the Bill being as it is, its operations should be confined instead of extended. If that is done, some good will accrue, but, if not, the people of the Gaeltacht will find once more, as has often happened in the past, that they are saddled with the name of having caused considerable increase in the cost of administering the country, an increase for which they are not responsible.

I confess that I do not often differ from Deputy Tierney, but I find myself doing so on this occasion. I want to say a word or two in regard to the points with which he dealt. I attach enormous importance to the elasticity of the provisions in the Bill. The Bill says that a certain sum of money—a quarter of a million—should be devoted to housing in the Gaeltacht. It does not say that it should be distributed equally among all the electoral divisions. When I look at sub-section (4) of Section 11 my criticism, curiously enough, is as to whether it is wide enough rather than that it is too wide. Again, Deputy Tierney says that the district electoral area is too small to be a satisfactory area for administration. I would say that, on the contrary, it is often too large. What I am afraid of in connection with sub-section (4) of Section 11 is that you may easily get an area, even after you have taken out the valuation of over £20, in which you may still get a fairly high average valuation and yet it may very easily happen, and constantly does happen, that in such an area you may get little pockets in which the housing is at least as bad as in areas where you have a £20 average valuation. I think that that is one of the few blots in the Bill. Fortunately, however, there is a good deal of elasticity. The sub-section begins by saying: "So far as may be practicable, having regard to the number and local distribution of the cases in which it appears to the Minister to be proper to make grants..." So that there is wide discretion left to the Minister which I hope he will use in all fitting cases. It seems to me that Deputy Tierney has hardly realised how much easier it is to administer an Act in which wide powers are given rather than one in which the powers are so restricted that you are constantly coming across hard cases which you would like to relieve but in which you find yourself tied down by too rigid definitions.

In regard to the more general aspects of the Bill nobody expects or desires that in dealing with a Housing Bill of this kind one should merely devote himself to throwing bouquets, as one of my colleagues from Donegal did, to the Minister responsible. I think that neither he nor another colleague of mine from Donegal who spoke has done justice to the provisions of the Bill. Deputy Carney told us that the Bill did not meet the needs of the Gaeltacht. I listened carefully to him, and he did not tell us in what respect it failed, except that he ridiculed the idea that the poor people in the Gaeltacht would be able to do any serious amount of work on the houses themselves. Deputy Carney knows as well as I do that, in fact, the houses in which the people live were built by themselves or their predecessors and that what they have done before they can do again.

Anyone who knows the Gaeltacht knows that what a man wants there is, as the Minister said, cash down to enable him to buy slates, timber, cement and other materials, if necessary, and to pay such skilled workmen as may be necessary, such as masons, plasterers, and carpenters. It never occurred to such a man to do otherwise than to give a large amount of his own labour. As Deputy Wolfe stated, you can get houses built under these conditions in the congested districts for, at least, two or three times the money value of the actual cash expenditure. That, I think, is the answer, if I may say so, to the misleading comparison given by Deputy Cassidy. He said that there is one law for the rich and another for the poor. He said that in the past, under the old Labourers Acts before the War, houses were built which were let for a shilling a week, and that now to people in the Gaeltacht, who may be poorer than agricultural labourers in other parts of the country, you are giving grants under conditions which, he suggests, will be equivalent to rents of, at least, three shillings a week. What Deputy Cassidy failed to notice is that no one can build a house and charge a rent of 1/-, 1/3 or 1/6 a week. Such houses were built in pre-War conditions. What was done in 1912 or 1913 has no possible relevance to what can be done now. I notice that Deputy Cassidy carefully selected the year 1925 and compared the conditions governing the grants for houses in that year, and pointed out that for relatively well-to-do people there were grants of from £75 to £100 per house. He did not tell us that the proportion which these grants of £75 or £100 bore to the total cost of the house was very much less than that which the £80 bears to the £180. I am quite certain that houses built under the grants of 1925 could not be built at less than £500 or £600. They were houses which were built largely under urban or semi-urban conditions. They were built by contractors for profit and under very stringent regulations. Deputy Cassidy also omitted to tell us that at present the maximum grant available to what he would call the rich is not £80, but £45. If he wanted to make a fair comparison, I suggest that a fair comparison would be that between the conditions available for well-to-do people at present and those offered in the Bill for people in the Gaeltacht.

I thought it necessary to make these few remarks lest it should be thought that representatives of the Gaeltacht were altogether uncritical. It is quite right that we should be critical. No doubt we shall have an occasion to be more critical, as is proper, when we come to the Committee Stage. I am quite convinced that the Bill, though we hope we shall see it improved, does make a very real contribution to a very real need.

Several speakers on the Government side of the House, and I think elsewhere, said that we should be thankful for this Bill. If it is understood that we should be very thankful for small mercies, I suppose in that way some of us might be thankful that we get anything, but I certainly do not feel in the humour to be particularly grateful. I am glad something has come, but I see no reason, as some people suggested, for throwing bouquets at the Minister, or at the Government who are, I suppose, finally responsible for this Bill. I have heard it rumoured—I do not know whether it is correct or not— that Bills of a more extensive nature were prepared by the Department and submitted to the Finance Department but were turned down. Whether that is correct or not, I do not know. At any rate, whether it be the Department of Lands and Fisheries or the Government who are responsible for this Bill, it is nothing, in my opinion, for them to be proud of. Instead of bouquets something that would not smell as sweet ought to be thrown at them for producing a Bill of this kind after seven years hatching. If there was one thing that that Government ought to have done, considering its promises for years past, it would be to produce something that they could be proud of so far as dealing generously with the people of the Irish-speaking districts is concerned. They have not attempted to do it yet. I am sure the Minister himself would not suggest that this measure is anything like what is due to the Gaeltacht.

I have counted up the number of electoral areas that are in the Schedule to the Bill. There are over six hundred of them. If you divide that number into the amount of money that is set aside there will be £380 for every district electoral area. If loans and grants are made to all these areas there cannot be more than two loans or grants for housing in each electoral area. That is a fat lot, after seven years' promises of the glorious things that this Government was going to do for the stronghold of the Gael, moryah, which it was going to revive and bring into power in Ireland again. I suppose the people in these areas, because they are so poor, will be happy to get even this. They will be happy to get the little crumb that is thrown to them, and thankful for small mercies, but they have very little to be thankful for as far as this Government is concerned if this is all they can produce.

There was one thing that induced me to speak, and that was the suggestion that had been made by a number of Deputies that the area should be widened. I think the Title of the Bill itself ought to induce the Minister to reduce the area as set out in the Schedule. It is seldom that I agree with Deputy Tierney, because it is seldom that I hear him talking anything like sense, but he talked something like sense to-day, and I agree with him that in that Schedule there are areas that are not Irish-speaking. I do not know on what the Schedule is based—perhaps it is on the Gaeltacht Report—but there were people who put themselves down in the census as being Irish speakers, whose desire was to call themselves Irish speakers, and there was a good deal of it. Deputy Tierney mentioned places in County Galway, and I know places in other areas in this Schedule, that are not Gaelic-speaking areas, to which grants out of the limited amount set out in this Bill ought not to be given. If this Bill is to assist the Gaeltacht—and it is called Bille na dTithe (Gaeltacht)—the money that is available ought to go to the Gaeltacht and to nowhere else.

Efforts have been made by different Deputies to put forward the claims of neighbouring areas. No doubt these neighbouring areas are as badly in need of houses as the areas in which Irish is spoken, but this Bill does not propose to deal with these people, and the money that is available ought to go to the Gaeltacht alone. I hope the Minister will resist the pressure that is brought to bear upon him by Deputies on all sides of the House to extend the area for which these grants will be available, and that he will insist on restricting it to the terms set out in the Title of the Bill.

It is, I say, a serious disappointment to me at any rate. I thought the Minister for Fisheries, being one who is interested in the Gaeltacht, or at least was—perhaps he is still interested in it—would have made a better fight for it than apparently he has done in producing a Bill of this kind.

Deputy Tierney talked of the crocodile tears that were shed in the last four or five years by people on this side of the House. I do not know whether he included me or not, perhaps he did. This much I can say, that I do not represent a Gaeltacht constituency. He did at one time represent a constituency that included a large Gaeltacht area, and that constituency kicked him out. They had no belief in him or regarded him as one who was doing nothing but shedding crocodile tears for the Gaeltacht. That could not be said of some of those on this side of the House who spoke on this Bill, and who represent Gaeltacht areas. They have tried, at any rate, to do something, and they have not been kicked out of their constituencies as Deputy Tierney has. I am sorry that I have to speak in this way with regard to this Bill, the first of the kind to be produced for the Gaeltacht. I hope the Minister and the Department will take greater heart and courage and show something better at their second effort.

Mr. T. Sheehy (West Cork):

As a representative of a Gaeltacht constituency, I rise with great pleasure to congratulate the Minister and the Government on the introduction of this Bill. I was exceedingly sorry to hear the tone of speeches such as the one just delivered. They take us nowhere whatever in the building up of the Gaeltacht or the nation. Two deputies from Donegal, Deputy Cassidy and Deputy Carney, spoke here to-night. I think if the Minister were to appeal to heaven and bring down manna to the Gaeltacht it would not satisfy these two Deputies. As regards the ninetyseven divisions that are scheduled in the premier county of Cork, I wish to say that there is not a single division of them that will not hail with the utmost satisfaction the arrival of this Bill. The Government have been taunted that they did nothing for the last seven years. Was there ever such a slander? Are they not building up the nation in every direction? They come along now with a quarter of a million of money for the most deserving classes of our countrymen, the small farmers and the fisherfolk along our two thousand miles of seaboard, and where is the thanks? They are sneered at because there is a compliment given to the Government by others. I may tell them that the country will not folow up that sneer and that when the debate on this Bill is published and the statement of the Minister for Fisheries is read carefully, there will be a sigh of satisfaction. Notwithstanding all the vicissitudes of the Government and the struggle they have made to help this State, they are able at last to come with this substantial sum of a quarter of a million to the assistance of the Gaeltacht. Deputies in every quarter of this House ought to realise their responsibility to the people. We ought to drop this class of sharpshooting and handle the Bill as practical business men, seeing how far it will do any real good. If the Bill has a particle of good or is in any degree going to help the downtrodden and the most miserable of our countrymen in their struggle for existence—and we all know the great difficulties in the Gaeltacht— we ought to hail it with delight. Let the Government continue their progress and let them not be taunted. They can only go as far as their financial position will allow them. What more can they do?

I would like to say that I am not in favour of extending the districts over which this Bill should run. I find from this map which I have before me, and which was brought out by the Gaeltacht Commission, that one of the districts which was referred to by Deputy Tierney is just included in the Gaeltacht area. To a certain extent, conditions in the eastern part of Galway are very much different from conditions in the western portion. In Connemara, in the far west, the conditions are deplorable, and the grant given in the eastern portion would be altogether out of proportion to the needs as compared with the grant given in the western portion of the county. In fact, from my knowledge of the western portion of the county, I consider that £80, which is the grant under this Bill, is altogether inadequate. I cannot understand how people in Connemara and in other poor districts in the Gaeltacht can ever hope to build a house with a grant of £80. They can get a loan, but if they get a loan, according to the Minister, they will have to pay back something like £4 10s. a year, and, in the present economic conditions there, it is absolutely impossible for them to do that. Of course the Minister stated that in conjunction with this Bill other steps would be taken to improve the economic conditions in the Gaeltacht. If that is done it may be satisfactory, but we have no indication from the Minister when these steps are to be taken. We have had promises for many years that the Minister was to introduce Bills for the improvement of fisheries. Anyone who goes to Galway and visits the docks can see there at the present time at least five boats that were given to fishermen by the Congested Districts Board and which were beginning to fall to pieces. They are in a fairly good condition at present, and would be very useful if they were handed to the fishermen without any more delay. Several other boats were there, and they were allowed to fall to pieces. Some of them were sold for firewood for sums ranging from 5/- to £15. If anyone goes to the docks in Galway they should not be satisfied until they see where these boats are lying up.

The Deputy has gone away from the housing.

There is a shed there that was allowed to fall to pieces although it cost something like £40,000 to erect. I just mentioned that to suggest to the Minister that if he is sincere steps should be taken immediately to improve the economic conditions. As to the extent of the Gaeltacht, the line must be drawn somewhere. I think the line has been satisfactorily drawn in this case and should be left so. As regards the City of Galway, I think it is an omission. Do I understand from the Minister that that is included in the Bill?

I mentioned that it was accidentally omitted.

Under some of the previous Housing Bills there were people who succeeded in getting two grants. They put up individual houses first and then broke a door out between them and used them as one. I do not know if that was tolerated. I just mention it now to remind the Minister that steps should be taken to prevent people getting grants and loans in connection with this Bill who are not really entitled to them. As I said in the beginning, I do not think sufficient money is offered as a grant for the purpose of relieving the housing position. Certainly if the area is to be extended an increased grant should be given. I would also agree that in some of the poorer districts special steps should be taken, and where it is particularly necessary to increase the grant power should be given to that end.

Deirtear an té buailtear sa cheann go mbíonn faitchíos air. Tar éis an méid cainnte a rinneadh anocht i ngeall ar an nGaeltacht agus i ngeall ar theorainn na Gaeltachta tá níos mó faitchís orm-sa roimh an nGaeltacht ná mar bhí ariamh. Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil croidhe an Aire agus a lucht conganta leis an bhfíor-Ghaeltacht, ach céard d'fhéadfadh sé a dhéanamh tar éis an méid cainnte a chuala sé annseo anocht ag daoine a bhí ag leigint ortha féin go raibh siad ar thaobh na Gaeltachta agus gan blas measa acu uirthi.

Is maith liom go bhfuil, ar a laghad, beirt Theachtaí—Mícheál O Tighearnaigh agus Seán T. O Ceallaigh—annseo anocht adubhairt an fhírinne i dtaobh na Gaeltachta. Dubhairt siad más Bille Gaeltachta an Bille seo go mba cheart é do thabhairt don Ghaeltacht agus gan bheith ag cur áiteacha ar bith eile isteach ann nach bhfuil gaol ná baint acu leis an nGaeltacht. Cuid de na daoine a thagas go dtí na ceanntracha seo séard adeireann siad: "O go bhfóiridh Dia orainn, cé'n chaoi a d'fhéadfadh daoine do mhaireachtáil in a leithéid seo d'áit?" ach anois nuair atá an tAire ag iarraidh rud éicínt do dhéanamh dhóbhtha siad na céad daoine iad atá ag iarraidh é do sciobadh uatha.

Níl a fhios agam an ceart dom ainm duine ar bith do tharraingt isteach ach is cuimhin liom-sa i mbliain a '13 go raibh Eamonn Ceannt thíos i mo theach féin agus go ndubhairt sé lion: "Nuair a thiocfas muid-ne i réim ní bheidh an tír seo mar atá sí—gan duine ar bith innte gur fiú leis tada do dhéanamh don Ghaeltacht." Anois ní har a láimh a thainig mar do mharbhuigh na Sasanaigh é.

Eisean adubhairt an chainnt ach is againne atá comhacht an gníomh do dhéanamh. Ba cheart tús do dhéanamh leis an bhfíor-Ghaeltacht; tá muinntir na breac-Ghaeltachta in ann féachaint 'na ndiaidh féin. Daoine as Béal Atha na Sluagh agus as Phláinéid Mhuigheo ag fáil an airgid chéanna atá le fáil ag na daoine bochta sa gCeathrú Rua agus a leithéidí sin d'áit. O, go bhfóiridh Dia orainn!

Mar sin iarraim ar Theachtaí an Tighe seo tabhairt le teasbáint go bhfuil siad dá ríribh faoi'n Ghaeltacht. Deirtear gur fearr an gníomh a chruthuigheas ná na ráidhte bréige as béal na mbréagadóirí.

Anois do mhol an Teachta, Tomás O Deirg, Bord na gCeanntar Druidithe agus an méid a rinne siad. Céard a rinne siad do na daoine bochta? Nóimead tar éis dó sin do rá dubhairt sé gur fhág an Bord céanna £1,000,000 gan caitheamh. Má bhí siad chó gradh-diamhar don tír bhoicht agus a bhí an Teachta ag rá, tuige nár chaith siad an £1,000,000 leis na daoine bochta agus gan bheith ar an Rialtas £250,000 do chaitheamh leo anois? Do chuir sé iongna orm nuair a chuala né an Dr. O Tíobraide ag mola an Bhuird agus a gcuid coistí. Tar éis an méid mola a thug sé do Bhord na gCeanntar Druidithe agus ag 'chuile rud eile a bhaineas leo cuirim-se an cheist seo air agus freagradh sé i más féidir leis:

Céard a rinne Bord na gCeanntar Druidithe le feabhas do chur ar na sa limistéir tire ón Spidéal go dtí Droiochead Chúigéil agus isteach go dtí an Ceathrú Rua? Má rinne siad tada níl a chosúlacht le n-a chois. Deirim-se nach ndéarna siad tada ach a súile do chaocha agus leigint ortha féin go raibh siad ghá dhéanamh.

Nach é an Ceathrú Rua agus áiteacha eile mar é a chuir iachall arBalfour agus na daoine a tháinig 'na dhiaidh Bord na gCeanntar Druidithe do chur ar bun an chéad uair. Ach nuair a bhí sé curtha ar bun acu agus postanna móra fáighthe ag 'chuile dhuine acu ní raibh aon áird acu ar Chonamara ná ar a leithéid eile d'áit.

Focal faoi'n Bhille anois. Sul ar dubhairt mise aon cheo faoi do chuaidh mé thart agus do labhair mé leis na sagairt sa nGaeltacht. Do theasbáin mé an Bille dhóbhtha agus tig liom labhairt ar a son anaseo. Tá siad lán-tsásta leis. Tá eolas níos fearr agam-sa ar an nGaeltacht ná atá ag duine ar bith sa teach seo agus tuigim muinntir na Gaeltachta níos fearr ná duine ar bith a labhair annseo anocht agus deirim gan fuath gan faitchíos má fágtar an Bille seo ag an nGaeltacht an duine a d'fheicfeadh arís í fá cheann trí mblian ó indiú go mbeidh bród air fá rá 's go raibh aon bhaint aige leis mBille seo. Tóigfidh na daoine na tithe ar an airgead atá leagtha amach ag an Aire dhóbhtha, agus spleodar ortha ghá dhéanamh. Geallaim díbh go mbeidh spoirt ar lucht Gaeltachta ach an congnamh seo thabhairt dóbhtha agus go a gcroidhe ag preabadh. Tá athas orm go bhfuil an tAire ag tabhairt congnamh do na daoine bochta na tithe atá acu cheana d'fheistiú, mar is rí-mhaith an rud é. An t-alt is fearr a fheicim-se sa mBille sé, nuair a bhéas lorg an tighe gearrtha ag duine agus cuid de na clochaí tarraingte aige go bhfuighidh sé £8 no £10, agus cuid eile do réir mar bheidh sé ag dul ar aghaidh leis an obair. Sin é an rud a thaisbeánann go bhfuil an tAire dá ríribh faoi na daoine fíor-bhochta mar, do réir na nAchtanna eile a tháinig roimhe seo, níor mhór do dhuine a theach do bheith tógtha aige agus an tslinn air sul a mbeadh pighinn den airgead le fáil aige. Ní hiad na daoine bochta, ach na buicíní móra agus a leithéidí, a d'fhéadfadh sin a dhéanamh. Muna bhfuigheadh na daoine bochta duine cicínt le dul i mbannaí ortha le slinnte agus adhmad d'fháil ní fhéadfadh siad tada do dhéanamh faoi na nAchtanna eile. Ní fiú na hAchtanna sin an páipéar a bhfuil siad scríobhtha air.

Anois iarraim ar na Teachtaí in ainm an Phiarsaigh agus in ainm na ndaoine a d'imthigh leis agus in ainm Gaedheal na tíre seo gan an mBille sco do mhille no do sciobadh ó na daoine go bhfuil ceart acu congnamh d'fháil faoi. Tá daoine ag rá go bhfuil lucht na Gaeltachta ag fáil an iomarca ach deirim-se nach bhfuair siad ariamh ach cuid Pháidín den mheacan—an t-iarbaillín caol. Do bhéinn lán-tsásta rud eicínt do chur isteach sa mBille gan aon airgead do thabhairt do dhuine ar bith le teach do thógáil faoi 'n Bhille seo muna bhfuil an Ghaedhilg ghá labhairt sa teach cheana. Bille don Ghaeltacht 'seadh an Bille seo agus fágtar é do na Gaedhilgeoirí bochta. Má chruithigheann an dream ata sa mbreac-Ghaeltacht go bhfuil siad dá riribh faoi 'n Ghaedhilg agus má fhoghluimeann siad í do bheinnce sasta iad do leigint isteach faoi 'n mBille seo.

Sílim gurb é an tArd-Easbog Mac Eil adubhairt go bhfuil blas gan ceart ag an Ultach, go bhfuil ceart gan blas ag an Múimhneach, go bhfuil ceart agus blas ag an gConnachtach ach nach bhfuil ceart ná blas ag an Laighneach. Má bh'fíor do sin, deirim-se, in a ainm sin, gur ag lucht na fior-Ghaeltacht ata an ceart agus an blas faoi 'n mBille seo agus nach bhfuil ceart ná blas ag an dream ata lasmuch den fhíor-Ghaeltacht faoi.

Cuirim fáilte roimh an mBille seo. Tá cuid againn sásta—lán-tsásta—leis agus tá cuid eile nach bhfuil sásta go bhfuil an Bille chó-maith agus ba chóir a bheith. Nuair a bhí an tAire ag labhairt iniu dubhairt sé gur Bille é seo a bhaineas le dream amháin i gceanntair áirithe den tír. Ach ní hé seo an chéad Bhille a tugadh isteach a raibh baint aige le dream amháin i gceanntair áirithe. Isé seo an chéad Bhille a bhaineas leis an nGaeltacht in a bhfuil aon mhaitheas. Isé seo an chéad Bhille a thuibhreas aon ní—beag no mór— don Ghaeltacht. Ar an abhar san, tá fáilte agam roimhe. Deirim go bhfuilim buidheach den Aire fá é do thabhairt isteach.

Nuair do chuala mé an tAire ag rá go raibh an Ghealtacht dearmadta ag an Rialtas go dtí anois, nach raibh suim ag aon duine i nGaedhil na tíre seo go dtí anois—nuair a chuala mé an tAire á rá sin, dubhairt mé liom féin gur mhaith an rud é. Tá súil agam go gcuimhncoidh sé ar an bhfaoistin phuiblí sin. Tá súil agam nach ndéanfaidh sé dearmad ar an nGaeltacht arís.

Na Teachtaí do labhair ar an mBille go dtí anois, tá cuid acu sásta leis agus cuid acu nach bhfuil sásta. Deir cuid acu nach ceart ceanntair áirithe do thabhairt isteach fá'n mBille seo. Rinne Teachta atá tar éis labhairt gearán toise daoine atá lasmuich de cheanntair cosúil le Conamara agus áiteacha mar é a bheith in ann congnamh d'fháil fá'n mBille. Is dó liom go mb' fhearr mar ainm ar an mBille seo—Bille i gcóir na gCeanntar gCumhang ná Bille i gcóir na Gaeltachta. Is fíor a rá áit ar bith a gheobhas tú daoine atá fíor-bhocht gur Gaedhil iad. Ach tá cuid acu nach bhfuil Gaedhilg acu. I gceanntair áithride i gContae Mhuigheo atá lasmuich den fhíor-Ghaeltacht, níl Gaedhilg ag na daoine. Cé'n fáth nach mbeidh faill acu tigh do thógáil no do dheisiú fá'n mBille seo? Ach b'fhearr mar ainm ar an mBille Bille i gcóir na gCeanntar gCumhang ná an t-ainm atá air fá láthair. Taobh amuich den Ghaeltacht, tá áiteacha in Mhuigheo agus Liathdruim agus is ceart cuidiú leis na daoine ionnta.

Nílim sásta leis an méid atá a thabhairt le teach do thógáil—£80. Be cheart an méid sin d'ardú. Mar a dubhairt an tAire, is beag daoine a bheas in ánn airgead eile d'fháil mar iasacht faoi'n mBille seo. Tá siad an-bhocht; tá na tithe go dona ar fad agus ní fiú £5 gach rud atá taobh istigh agus taobh amuigh den tigh. Tá áiteacha eile gur féidir leis na daoine deis do chur ar na tithe ach ní fiú £3 a gcuid ar fad. Ní féidir leo-san iasacht d'fháil agus ba cheart an £80 d'ardú go dtí £100 idtreo go bhfeicfidh na daoine seo go bhfuilimíd i ndáiríribh faoi'n congnamh do thabhairt dóibh le tithe do thógáil.

Tá congnamh le fáil le tigh do dheisiú ach ní dó liom gur fédir le duine congnamh d'fháil chun cró bó do thógáil no chun deis do chur ar shean-chró. Tá áiteacha in a geomhnuigheann na daoine, na ba agus na cearca san tigh céana. Is bocht an sgéul é, ach is fíor é. Cé an chaot a dtiocfadh le duine mar sin rud ar bith do dheanamh faoi'n mBille seo? Gheobhfaidh sé £80 le tigh do thogáil ach ní leór sin le tigh nua do thógáil. Gheobhfaidh sé £40 le deis do chur ar tigh ach cá cuirfidh sé na ba agus na muca? Ni bheidh aon teach aige taobh amuigh den teachcomhnuidhe. Tá bearna sa mBille annsin. B'féidir go ndearna an tAire dearmad ar an gceist sin. Ba cheart don Aire leasú do chur isteach le £20—ní h-abraim gur ceart an méid sin—do thabhairt le cró-bó no tigh i gcóir capaill do thógáil. Ba cheart £20 do thabhairt do fheirméar le sgiobál do thógáil, cur i gcás.

Má theastuigheann iasacht Ó dhuine, caithfidh an tAire a fheiceál go bhfuil an fheirm cláruighthe in a ainm féin agus go bhfuil sé bunuighte san áit. Nuair a bhí Bord na gCeanntar gCumhang ag obair, níor bhac siad ach fíor-bheagán le cláruidheacht agus a leithéid. Ní ceart costas do chur ar na daoine bochta a bheas ag iarraidh iasachta d'fháil. Ach ní shílim go mbeidh mórán iarrtais ar iasachtaí. Tá na feilmeacha ro bheag agus ní bheidh an tAire sásta iasachtaí do thabhairt dóibh.

Mar a dubhairt an tAire ní mór seans do thabhairt do na daoine a gheobhas iasachtaí an t-airgead d'íoc ar ais. Isé an plean atá ceaptha aige leis sin do dhéanamh ná £5 do thabhairt chun cró muc no cró ceare do thógáil. Má tá aon rud sa nGaeltacht ag a bhfuil taithigheacht ag na daoine isé tógadh mue agus ceare. Meireach iad, ní bheadh mórán daoine sa nGaeltacht. Ach ní dheunfadh an £5 seo mórán maitheasa; ní tógfar 20 muc no 20 ceare níos mó mar gheall ar an deontas seo. Cé an chaoi ar bh'féidir leo muca agus cearca do choineál muna bhfuil fataí agus turnipí acu agus muna bhfuil an t-airgead acu le min do cheannach? Sin 'é an t-aon locht a fheicim-sa mBille. Tá an Bille maith go leor i gcóir tithe do thógáil ach ní bheidh pioc maitheasa ann muna gcuidigheann an tAire leis na daoine ar bhealach eile. Bhí an t-Aire ag cainnt iniú ar na rudaí atá le deunamh aige. Tá sean-fhocal ann—"Is fear maith é an té a bhfuil scéal maith aige i gcomhnuidhe." Nior chuala mé an tAire ariamh gan scéal maith a bheith le h-innsint aige ach ní fheicim an gníomh. Is fearr gníomh maith na scéal maith. Molaim an tAire ar an iarracht seo agus má dheanann sé na rudaí ar a raibh sé ag trácht, le congnamh do thabhairt do mhuinntir na Gaeltachta an maitheas atá san mBille seo do bhaint as, seasfaidh na Teachtaí annso leis.

Ní féidir le muinntir na fíor-Ghaeltachta úsáid do bhaint as an mBille seo chó-mór leis na daoine in áiteacha eile. I gComparáid leis an droch bhaill atá ortha, is beag úsáid is féidir le muinntir na Gaeltachta do bhaint as an mBille. Mar is eol do daoine a chaith tamaill sa nGaeltacht, tá na tithe ins na bailte beaga an-chumhang agus anchomhghaireach dá chéile. Tá na daoine seo ag súil i gcomhnuidhe go n-aistreofar as na h-áiteacha seo iad go dtí na taillte réidhthe. Tá na mílte acra de thaillte bana san nGaeltacht agus sa mbreac-Ghaeltacht agus na daoine atá in a gcomhnuidhe chó chomhghaireach le céile tá siad ag súil nach mbeidh siad annsin ar feadh a saoil—go gcuirfear iad ar na taillte réidhthe. Cuir i gcás Leachan, i gContae Mhuigheó. Tá na tithe cosúil le cross-word-puzzle. Is náireach chó-chomhghaireach agus atá siad. Tá leath an méid daoine seo ag súil go dtabharfaidh Coimisiun na Talmhan taillte réidhthe dóibh, agus cé'n fáth an dtogfadh siad tithe nua? Ní thogfaidh siad tithe nua na cró muc ná cró cearc faoi'n mBille seo. Má's féidir leis an Aire Coimisiún na Talmhain do ghríosa agus cuid de na daoine seo d'athrú go dtí na tailte réidhe, beidh seans ag na daoine eile úsáid do bhaint as an Bille. Ach go dtí go ndéanfar sin, ní féidir le muinntir na fíor-Ghaeltachta úsáid do bhaint as an mBille.

Tá eagla orm go mbeidh sé anchostasach an Bille seo do chur i bhféidhm. Dubhairt an tAire go geuirfeadh an tAire Talmhaíocht a thuille cigirí go dtí an Gaeltacht le féachaint isteach do dhéanamh annso agus ansúd. Nílim in aghaidh cigirí a bheas in ann maitheas do dhéanamh ach níl ach ceathrú miliún ar fad le caitheamh faoi'n mBille agus ba chóir don Aire féachaint chuige nach mbeidh an costas le h-é do chur i bhfeidhm ró-throm.

Rinne an tAire tagairt do chócheannach adhmuid agus eile. Do réir an eolais atá agam ar an nGaeltacht, ní féidir fear níos fearr le margadh do dhéanamh d'fháil ná duine as an nGaeltacht. Is dó liom go bhfuigheadh an fear as an nGaeltacht an t-abhar tógtha níos saoire in Iorrus, cuir i gcás ná dá gceannófaí ar shlí ar bith eile é.

Níl a fhios agam an bhfuil aon rud sa mBille a chuirfeadh bac ar mhaistir scoile sa nGaeltacht úsáid do bhaint as an mBille le tigh nua do thógáil do féin. An bhfuil aon rud sa mBille a chuirfeadh bac ar an siopadóir sa nGaeltacht £80 d'fháil chun tigh nua do thógáil do féin? Chó fada agus a bhaineas an Bille seo leis na daoine bochta, ba chóir bac do chur ar dhuine ar bith gur féidir leis tigh do thógáil ar chaoi ar bith eile, úsáid do bhaint as. Tá an Bille seo níos fearr ná Act a 1927 agus tá eagla orm go mbeidh daoine atá saidhbhir go leór le tithe do thógáil dóibh féin ag iarraidh cuid den airgead seo d'fháil. Is dó liom go mba mhaith alt do chur sa mBille nach mbeadh cead ag aon duine ag a bhfuil ioncum príobháideach no pinsiún ó'n Stát ná duine ar a bhfuil luacháil níos aoirde ná £15 ar a áit úsáid do bhaint as an mBille seo. Tá Bille eile i gcóir an dreama sin agus ba chóir an ceathrú miliún seo do chiméad ar son na ndoine mbocht.

It cannot be said that the Bill before the House this evening is a very generous one when we consider that it is covering such a large area as the Gaeltacht, which is specified in the Schedule attached to the Bill, and when there is such a meagre sum as £250,000 to meet all that area. When you consider that that money is to be expended on such a vast area it certainly means that the Bill cannot in any way claim to be generous, as far as the districts around the western and southern coasts of the Twenty-six Counties are concerned. Notwithstanding anything that Deputies here may state, I expect that there must be some of the inland Gaeltacht areas also considered. One would imagine in listening to Deputy Tierney speaking that he was almost sorry that the Gaeltacht did extend inland to any extent. At least, he would give one that impression. I am very glad to see that these inland corners of the Gaeltacht are mentioned by the Minister in the Bill. As far as I am concerned I think that a few other localities around the western coast should also be included, more particularly certain localities in the Westport Union which are at present omitted. There is a large tract there which I always understood was considered as being in the Gaeltacht. I fail to see how it can be outside it. As far as Irish speakers are concerned, I know that there are large numbers along the coast and in many townlands extending as far as Castlebar and Kiltimagh inland. I hope that before the Bill assumes its final form that these areas will be included. I would like to help to have this Bill amended on points such as those, and we on this side feel it our duty to support it, but we would like to see it much improved before it passes the Dáil in its final stages. There is to my mind what I personally consider a great weakness in the Bill. It seems to be assumed that no such thing as stabling is required at all in the Gaeltacht. I say that because there is no mention of any improvement in the matter of stabling for cows, horses or donkeys, or anything of that kind, contained in the Bill. I do not see why there should be such a lack as that in this Housing Bill for the Gaeltacht. After all, people in the Gaeltacht districts are not so poor that they cannot afford a cow, and most of them require some stabling of one kind or another. I would like to see included in the Bill a clause that would cover this weakness so that the people in these areas would be able to erect the necessary outhouses near their houses. It would be a great addition to the Bill. I am sorry to have to mention it, but it is a fact that some of those people have to stable their cows in their dwellinghouses. That is a very unfortunate state of affairs. It is perhaps one of those things which calls most for attention in the Gaeltacht. This unsanitary condition requires very special consideration. A sum of £40 is allowed for the repairing or renovating of existing houses. I consider that amount is insufficient and it ought to be increased. Houses may not require to be built from the foundations and yet renovating them may cost as much as double the amount allowed, or almost as much as if they were newly built, because the stonework of a house is the smallest item in its construction. For that reason I consider that £40 is very inadequate, more particularly when the Minister is satisfied to allow a grant of £80 for a new house. I think he should, in certain cases, allow as much as £60 for the renovation of an existing house. I would be very anxious to see that the Minister would consider these points. They are really very important. I expect that at a later stage we will get an opportunity of inserting amendments in the Bill that would cover those points.

I appreciate the effort made to tackle this problem, even though it does not meet with the full requirements or ambitions of those who are out for the improvement of houses in the area known as the Gaeltacht or the congested districts area. Still it is an attempt, and so far as an attempt is honestly made it deserves support. I do entirely disagree with the elimination of certain areas from the administration of this Bill. For instance, mention has already been made by other Deputies of the areas scheduled. In the opinion of some Deputies the area is too extended. In the opinion of others the area is not wide enough. The Bill aims first at improving dwelling-houses, and in the second place it aims at developing industries so as to make the conditions of living in the area somewhat better. The Bill does aim at improving the conditions of life in the area. I fail to see why that limitation that is so patently here outlined in the Schedule should apply. My idea is that this Bill should apply to what were known as the old congested areas. For the life of me, I cannot understand how it could be maintained that the development of poultry and pigs, which it is sought specifically to develop here, would not be as much needed by the people of Sligo and Cavan, which are part of the Gaeltacht, as any other areas in the Gaeltacht. In his speech the Minister referred to the work that his Department had done in the development of industry along the Western seaboard, particularly the development of fishing and kelp.

It is a very good thing that the Minister has succeeded in making some little progress in this direction. However, in the areas that I speak about, that exist in Leitrim and in other counties that have no seaboard, or practically none, those industries cannot be developed and the result is that the economic conditions of the residents are much worse than the conditions existing in the areas to which this is intended to apply. In this Schedule we have two electoral areas included from County Cavan, two electoral areas included from County Leitrim, six from County Limerick, seven from County Roscommon, eleven from County Sligo, and so on. I cannot understand why there is such discrimination in Leitrim. I speak of Leitrim because I know that county best. I do not understand why two electoral areas should be selected and others equally deserving left out. I can say with knowledge that there is just as much Irish spoken in other areas as there is in those two and the same would apply to counties other than Leitrim. The selection of two areas and the leaving out of other places equally entitled to consideration are matters that need explanation.

I remember when practically the whole of County Leitrim was included in the old congested districts. Prior to the war, the Congested Districts Board was carrying out improvements in the way of houses and out-offices. Quite a number of farmers were promised grants for the carrying out of these improvements. As the war developed those grants were withdrawn. The farmers have received no grants since. I anticipated that when this Bill would be introduced the time would come when the promises made some years ago to the farmers would be fulfilled. They were undoubtedly made promises by the C.D.B. prior to the war and I expected that under this Bill they would be made grants to enable them to carry out improvement work. Looking at the matter purely from a humanitarian point of view, the condition of the housing is as bad in Leitrim as in any other part of the country. That has also been stated by Deputy Cooper, who knows the condition of the county fairly well, because he lives in an adjoining county. Nobody can assert that he has any special reason to state the case other than that he speaks from his personal knowledge. The condition of housing in County Leitrim is perhaps even worse than the condition of housing in any other county. Why County Leitrim should be deprived of benefits under this Bill is a very difficult thing to understand. I go so far as to say that if the congested areas in Leitrim are not included in this Bill the poor people there will have to assert themselves in some way in order to get the benefits to which they are entitled. They should be given assistance from the fund set aside for the C.D. Board, and which was taken over by the Dáil in 1923, and has been used since for the general purposes of the Land Commission.

I and other people representing congested areas held our patience to an extent anticipating that money would be set aside and would be made available for all the congested areas. If it is really contemplated to deprive those areas of the benefits to which, in all equity and justice, they are entitled—and it would seem to be the intention in some parts of the House so to deprive them—then I think such an attitude cannot be described otherwise than as most unreasonable and unjust. If the Minister confines himself to the justification that certain areas are not included because they are not Irish-speaking districts, then one could understand the position. But the fact is that he has included areas which were never associated with the Gaeltacht, and by doing so he has opened up an avenue that is likely to lead to a good deal of dissension. It is an attitude that he cannot justify.

With regard to the question of necessity, I assert, and I am sure Deputy Cooper and other Deputies will equally assert, that the conditions in Leitrim require consideration more than any other area in the Saorstát. Housing and other conditions there are so bad that they are deserving of immediate attention on the part of the Government. This matter was, on former occasions, forcibly brought home to the members of the House by reason of the fact that attention was called to distress existing there. On one occasion we had the question of the area flooded in Ballinagleragh. Again, only a few weeks ago, that matter was raised once more and the Minister responsible for the Land Commission had the matter investigated. He expressed himself as satisfied that the conditions in the area were such that they warranted special attention. He said he had made representations to the Minister for Finance with a view to getting more money to enable the people there to provide themselves with houses. As regards the end of the county where Kiltyclogher lies, I have been told by the inspectors from the Land Commission that it is really the worst part of the country they have ever visited, including the worst portions of the western counties. Officials in the Land Commission have told me that the land there is the poorest they have ever had to deal with. These are matters the Minister should have had before his mind when he was framing this Bill. From the humanitarian viewpoint County Leitrim is specially entitled to any of the benefits that are to flow from this Bill. The fact that he has not included County Leitrim is unjustifiable, particularly because he has included only two areas in the county which cannot strictly claim to be situated in the Gaeltacht. Unless, as I say, there is some sinister motive somewhere at the back of this, I am sure the Minister, when these facts have been pointed out, will make such amendments in the Bill as will give at least an equitable distribution of what is at best a very meagre attempt to deal with a very large problem.

Mícheál Mac Phaidín

A Chinn Comhairle, ar shon mhuinntir na Gaeltachta i dTírchonaill cuirim míle fáilte roimh an Bhille seo. Tá dóchas láidir agam go rachaidh sé cun táirbhe do'n Ghaeltacht agus chun sochair do iomlán na tíre sna bliantaí atá rómhainn.

Níl aon locht mhór agam air acht go bhfuil sé ró-leathan. Ba chóir dúinn an fhíor-Ghaeltacht bheith i dtoiseach mar an chéad chúram orrainn. Tigeadh an breac-Ghealtacht agus na h-áiteacha eile 'na dhiaidh sin. Is fáda foidhdeach muinntir na Gaeltachta ag fanacht leis an tárrthail seo. Deirtear go bhfuil foighid iongantach aca agus gurb é an fáth é go bhfuil cineál cuairim aca nach mbéidh purgadóir ar bith rómpa ar an t-saol eile. Os rud é go ndéanfaidh an Bille seo a mbeatha níos fusa fulaingt ar an t-saol seo, bheirim mo bheannacht dó.

Sean Ua Gúilín

Níl mórán agam le rá ar an mBille seo ach ba mhaith liom chur sios ar chupla pointe nach ndearn na Teachtai tagairt do go dti seo. Deputy Murphy made some reference to the demand for labourers' cottages owing to the impossibility of carrying out any further building under the Labourers Acts. I know that in many places plots were acquired years ago by the old rural district councils on which they found it impossible to erect houses. I wonder if it would be possible for the Minister to arrange with the county councils to help the labourers themselves to erect houses on these plots? As the law stands, a labourer cannot himself erect a house on one of these plots. The plots are the property of the county council, and it should be possible in this Bill to make provision for such men to erect houses on them. The idea of having the work done by the people themselves is a very good one. It is not possible, if we wish to solve the housing problem, to erect absolutely perfect houses, and every effort should be made to have the work done as cheaply as possible and to use local material as far as possible. Instead of using imported timber, for instance, in districts where native timber is available, it would be far cheaper to use the native timber. The men themselves are capable of felling the timber and carting it to the site, and with the help of their friends and local tradesmen the work could be done very cheaply.

Reference has been made to the fact that many districts which should be scheduled are not scheduled in the Bill. I am afraid that many of those who spoke forgot that this is a Gaeltacht Bill, and that the idea is to help people in the Gaeltacht area to better their housing conditions. We would all like to see the Bill extended to the whole of the country, because in many places in the Midlands where no Irish is spoken the housing conditions are very bad. But, dealing as we are with the Gaeltacht, we had better confine ourselves to the discussion of the Bill as it applies to the Gaeltacht.

There is another point which I should like to make. Under Section 11 (4) there is just the possibility that some hardship will occur. I have in mind one district which is about the worst from the housing point of view in the County Waterford—that is, the Ring peninsula. There are people living in houses there which are as bad as any houses in the West of Ireland, but if the aggregate of the valuation of the parish is taken, I am afraid it will exclude this particular area—at least it will exclude it from the three-fifths expenditure supposed to be devoted to districts such as this. In that way certain hardship might be done. These people are in need of houses, and they certainly should come under the three-fifths clause, but I am afraid that they will be excluded.

Does the Deputy understand that in a case like that any individual valuation of £20 or over will be taken out in the totting up, and then you divide the valuations left by the population, and if you then get 21/- or less the three-fifths will apply. That may elucidate the matter for the Deputy.

It will mitigate it to a great extent, but in this area practically 90 per cent. of the valuations would be under £20, but near £20, and the danger would be that that might exclude the people who are very urgently in need of houses. This particular district is one of the most Irish-speaking in the country. Some Deputy made reference to the fact that there is no use erecting houses for people who have no work. I do not want to go outside the scope of the Bill. These people are practically all fishermen, not farmers. I think it was Deputy Carney referred to the fact that fishermen in Donegal had to go out fishing without milk for their tea. The Ring people have to do that. They are just as badly off as any people in any part of the Gaeltacht, and I think some attention should be paid to them.

I do not know exactly what is meant by Irish-speaking families. Does it mean that all the children must speak Irish as well as the father and mother, and must use Irish as the home language? Reference is made in the Bill to grants being made for the erection of out-houses such as piggeries and hen-houses, and a point arises in connection with that. In many of these areas there are small tradesmen who have to work in their own kitchens. I hope this clause will be wide enough to help these people to erect workshops outside their houses, so that they will not be compelled to do the work inside.

This Bill will go a long way towards settling the housing problem in the Gaeltacht, but, as Deputy Cooper and others have said, the Gaeltacht area is not properly described. For instance, County Leitrim, which is one of the poorest counties in Ireland, is almost entirely left out and practically not considered at all in this Bill. I should like to ask the Minister if he intends to include Leitrim in the Gaeltacht, or, if not, if he will see that it will get the same treatment as the Irish-speaking districts.

I welcome this Bill. It will do a great deal for the improvement of the sanitary conditions in the West, as the people will be provided with decent houses. It is some years since I made a tour through the West, and on that occasion I was struck by the fact that the people were living in houses in which it was impossible for any sanitary provision to be made for their convenience. Typhus fever is practically extinct as far as the country as a whole is concerned, but occasionally it breaks out in the Western islands or in the Gaeltacht. If the people were provided with better houses, and more air were allowed to get into the houses, the disease would practically disappear.

One of the reasons why one has been so anxious to see improvement in the housing conditions of the poor there is that when typhus fever did break out not only was it liable to carry off people living in the district but there was no disease that carried off so many doctors and nurses as typhus fever at all times of epidemics throughout the West. I am glad to say it is much diminished now, but it is to a certain extent endemic in the West of Ireland. Nothing will get rid of it so quickly in my opinion, as improved conditions of housing so that more air and light will get into the houses of the people.

I need not go into any dissertation as to the cause of typhus fever, but no doubt cleanliness has a great deal to do with it, and not only cleanliness but also fresh air in the houses. During the visits I paid to the West from time to time it was no uncommon sight to see the pig coming from the cottage that the people were occupying. I do not think that that prevails to such an extent at the present time as it did in those days gone by, but it is a pleasure to me to find the Minister is making provision in his Bill for the pig that the cottier wants to feed. Some Deputy has mentioned that it would be a good thing to make some provision where it is necessary for some technical work to be done. Supposing a man were engaged on technical work it would be a desirable thing if there was a structure in connection with his out-house where he could work outside. I merely rose to say that I think this Bill will do a great deal for public health conditions in the Gaeltacht.

I hope the Minister, when replying, will be able to tell us what kind of things he could really put in force within the next six months in the way of matters which are not in the Bill, because otherwise his speech instead of being an encouragement will be a discouragement. It is a speech that could be used against the Minister if it is read in the light of the past promises with complete failure to put those promises into force.

We speak from knowledge that we have of our own district, each one of us. From the slight knowledge that I have of Ring, one of the Irish-speaking districts in the County Waterford, I would say that there are left very few young men or women in that district. They are nearly all gone. I am only repeating now something said frequently before; I suppose hardly a month of the year passes without this being repeated and repeated ad nauseam, that nothing is really done to supply these small industries which are to make this Bill of any use at all. As the Minister has pointed out, and it was the significant thing in his speech, this Bill is going to be an almost futile waste of money unless he is able in a short time to bring in some measures which will build up these small industries.

I do not know whether the Deputy was here when the Minister was ruled out and not allowed to deal with these matters. The Minister was ruled out of order and this matter cannot be dealt with again.

I do not propose to pursue the Minister into his retreat, so to speak, but if I might be allowed to finish what I was about to say, I was going to suggest that bee-keeping might turn out to be a very valuable asset, because the best honey is heather honey.

If the Deputy deals with bee-keeping, other Deputies will want to deal with other things.

Having dealt with it so far I shall leave it with, I suppose, a stinging suggestion. That is all I wish to say about the thing. I hope, in reply, the Minister will be able to tell us what practical things he means to do at once in order to show that this Bill is something more than an ephemeral relief for people without bringing any permanent results.

I welcome this Bill, but I find that there are two or three districts in the County Cork not mentioned that ought to be included. There is one place, Rathcoursey, and the other, Ballycotton, which are very important districts. I would like to see these included in the measure. Other portions of the constituency that I represent will not be affected by the Bill. I must say, however, that we welcome the Bill and will give any encouragement we can to other portions of the country, and we are satisfied to pay our share to provide decent housing for the people.

Mr. Hogan (Clare):

I suppose it would be almost impossible to say anything which has not already been said during the evening, but by way of emphasis I may be allowed to say that I think the main fault of the Bill is that it is too niggardly. There is not sufficient money provided to build sufficient houses and to allow the matter to be dealt with in a proper fashion. I think, as Deputy Kelly pointed out, the amount of money given would amount to something less than £400 for each electoral division. That will only touch the fringe of the problem. Of course, it is a good thing that we are touching the fringe; probably we will get into the heart of the problem later on. I suggest there is not so much irrelevancy in speaking of providing industry when speaking about building houses, because the houses are no use to anybody while you have the young men and women of the country going out of it day after day. There is nothing in the Bill either which enables local authorities to give any help in this matter. That, to me, is somewhat of a flaw also. Further, there is the matter of short tenure. I think there are a good many people very badly in need of housing in the Gaeltacht seaboard who should get some attention in this Bill. It is not altogether, as Deputy Wolfe said, a matter of the compulsory acquisition of land. There are sites purchased already by local authorities which could be utilised. There are various means by which sites can be procured without compulsory acquisition powers. If the Minister would discuss the matter with some other Department he would probably find some way out of the difficulty. Clearly, there are a great many people who want consideration in that direction. It is not altogether the small holder who needs consideration. Fishermen and other small tenants require a good deal of consideration. I am not so much in favour of the elasticity which is given in the Bill. Some people admire elasticity. I would not be against allowing the Minister elasticity in one direction, but there is another in which I would not like to see him use it. There is, however, the provision that whatever he proposes to deal with will be tabled here, so that we can raise a discussion on it, whether we agree or disagree with it. I suggest to Deputy Cooper that before he proceeds to discuss nomenclature he ought to learn the derivation of some of the words which he criticised, and before he suggests that Ballysmith or Ballysomething ought to be cut out he should see that the names of places not a thousand miles from this House should be deleted.

A Deputy


I would like to get from the Minister an explanation of sub-section (3) of Section 6. What is the purpose of making part of the grant applicable to the demolition of a house where it is proposed to give a grant for a new house? If a person is getting a grant to build a new house, would it not be sufficient inducement to demolish the old one? To give part of a grant towards the demolition of a house looks to me like too much coaxing for one thing, and looks unnecessary for another. I think that it is waste of money. The demolition of houses in the Gaeltacht, such as will be condemned, should not take very long. If there is a man or two about the place it should be a very easy matter. Further, it will lead to scores and scores of disputes. The only other matter to which I would like to call attention is in regard to Section 16, where the Minister has power to prescribe regulations in regard to the design and construction of dwelling-houses. I suggest that the policy in connection with the building of these new houses should be to put them in groups, villages as far as possible. That would correspond to present-day conditions a great deal better than if we had more isolated houses. It would mean economy in the building of houses and, if real civilisation can ever be provided for the Gaeltacht, it can be done much easier if the houses are in groups. Again, it will appeal more to the people and will be more likely to keep them content in the Gaeltacht than if you proceed to build isolated houses.

It always seemed to me that the building of labourers' cottages at great distances from each other was a big mistake, and that it would have been far more conducive to keeping labour on the land if those cottages had been built in groups and had been to some extent miniature villages. In the same section the Minister is to prescribe the materials to be used in the construction of houses. He referred to the possibility of buying in bulk economically. I suggest that it would be a good thing to get the materials for building as far as possible within the Gaeltacht. This measure, simple and inadequate as it is, could act as a sort of fertilizer if all the materials required for building were obtained, as far as possible, from the Gaeltacht or districts contiguous to it. In connection with Section 7, I think it would be almost as useful if the Minister went boldly out to impose fines for any abuses that may take place in regard to the new houses by bringing cattle or other animals into them. I take it that the intention of Section 7 is to stop that practice and to prohibit, as far as possible, the use of dwelling-houses for anything but human purposes. It would have been more effective if the Minister proposed to impose penalties for the use of dwelling-houses in that way. As it is, I think that the purpose of the Act could be evaded, and it would be very undesirable if new houses were allowed to deteriorate through any evasion of the measure such as may take place as things are at present.

I think that it is generally agreed that legislation to provide decent houses for people in need of them should be supported, but I confess that I am more or less opposed to the Bill owing to its title, "An Act to facilitate the erection and improvement of dwelling-houses in the Gaeltacht." I want to know whether there is such a thing in this country as a Gaeltacht. In the Schedule certain areas are set out. There are seventy-nine in County Clare, ninety-seven in County Cork, sixty in County Donegal, 151 in County Galway, 87 in County Kerry, 105 in County Mayo, 53 in County Waterford, 3 in County Cavan, 6 in County Limerick, 2 in County Leitrim, 7 in County Roscommon, 12 or 13 in County Sligo, and last, but not least, one in County Louth. Could the Minister conscientiously tell the House that people residing in these areas are proficient in Irish; and why should any person residing in the Free State who happens to speak Irish receive a grant of £80 as against £45 to a person who does not speak Irish, as under the previous Acts? I do not want to be taken as being opposed to preserving the language. I know that it is the official language of the State, and as such must be supported, but I think that the attitude and policy as set out in this Bill of making distinctions between people residing in various areas of the State are such that cannot be commended, and should not be introduced into this House. There reside in the county which I represent large numbers of people along the Eastern coast who are in great need of suitable housing accommodation, but large areas are not included in the Schedule attached to the Bill.

There is a seaport known as Clogherhead which is inhabited by a large number of hardy fishermen who are at the moment in extreme want of housing accommodation. Under this Bill these people are excluded. As the question of the preservation of the language has been mentioned, I would point out that there is established in the immediate vicinity of Clogherhead an Irish College where students attend to gain proficiency in the use of the language. Yet that area is not included in the Schedule of the Bill. There is another fishing village, Blackrock, where there are also large numbers of poor fishermen whose means are not sufficient to enable them to take advantage of the grants given under previous Acts to erect houses. They are very much in need of houses and as Deputy Hogan, of Clare, has stated, many plots of ground were purchased by boards and various councils since dissolved, with the express intention of building labourers' cottages but owing to the high cost of building the erection of these houses could not be proceeded with. Again, the people of that area are excluded and the only district in Louth included in the Schedule is Drummullagh. I would like to ask the Minister does that include the whole area known as Omeath because I know that most of the people of that area have a thorough knowledge of the Irish language. In fact they spoke the language when perhaps it was not so fashionable to speak it as it is to-day. I would like to hear from the Minister if he is prepared to include the whole area as far as Omeath and Carlingford are concerned, because as a result of the flooding that took place there some time in August, a very considerable amount of crops have been ruined. Potatoes and oats have been swept away as a result of the torrential rains which occurred in August.

When we come to the question of the amount of the grant we find that £80 is given as a free grant and that a loan of equal amount is also given. The annual payment necessary to repay the interest and principal of the loan will be somewhere in the vicinity of £4 or £5. I have not very much knowledge of the conditions prevailing in the West of Ireland; perhaps I have not the same knowledge as the Deputies who represent that vast area, but I do know that there must be there at the moment very many holdings which would not yield an annual income of £4. There must be holdings in which the annual turnover would not be more than £2 or £3 and, as a matter of fact, the people have to migrate to Scotland and England during the harvest time to earn sufficient money to keep them for the winter. I do not want to blame the Minister, because he is doing the best he can, but how he expects these people to pay £4 or £5 when, at the moment, in other parts of the country, judging by what has appeared in the Press from time to time, those who occupy labourers' cottages find it impossible to pay elevenpence per week, something less than £2 10s. Od. per annum, I do not know. I think that is a problem the Minister will find it very difficult to solve. In fact, unless these houses are erected free of charge to the occupiers and given to them as a sort of present, the Bill will, as far as that class of person is concerned, be absolutely useless.

There is another very important point to be remembered in connection with the building of houses. It has been stated here that the £80 free grant, plus the £80 raised by a loan, or in all £160, will erect a fairly decent house. Of course, exception was taken to that, but I do not think that very much exception could be taken to it because anybody who has experience of building knows that people who have means of self-help and the help of neighbours, will be in a position to erect these houses fairly cheaply. I have no doubt that it will be possible to erect houses in the west of Ireland at £160. In fact, I know of people who have erected them for less in other parts of the country. The point I want to impress on the Minister is that there is nothing in the Bill which would ensure that houses are constructed in a proper manner. What provision is made in the Bill to ensure that before houses are built, in the foundation of the houses, proper damp courses are put in and that the superstructure of the house is such that it will resist the storms and rains that prevail along the western seaboard? Unless some precaution is taken in the erection of houses I am afraid that the disease of tuberculosis, which has been so prevalent in this country for the last quarter of a century, will increase. Everyone knows that damp houses are one of the ways and means of causing tuberculosis, and I appeal to the Minister, when he comes to make grants to the people of these areas, to see that the houses are erected in a way that will give satisfaction. Unless precaution is taken it will only be a question of time until these damp houses, with damp ceilings and damp walls, will spread the terrible disease of tuberculosis.

I am more or less in agreement with the principle underlying the Bill, but I do not agree with the differentiation that is being made as between people who speak Irish and who do not. I think when one considers the position in this country during the past ten or fifteen years, one has to admit that it is not the fault of the people that they cannot speak Irish. Further, I might point out to the Minister that in his opening speech he referred to the fact that the Schedule was prepared on the census taken in 1926. Since 1926, I am sure that in many areas not mentioned in the Schedule Irish is universally spoken and that there are vast numbers of people who have made themselves proficient in the language since that year. I think it would be well if the Minister would consider that point and if possible extend the provisions of the Bill. That brings me back to my chief objection to the Bill. There is absolutely no such thing as a Gaeltacht, because in all the speeches delivered by Deputies to-day the uppermost idea was to extend the areas as stated in the Schedule. The Minister, I think, should withdraw the Bill altogether and introduce a Housing Bill to cater for people in all areas in the Free State who are in need of housing and whose means at the moment are such that they are not, and can never be, in a position to build houses for themselves.

That, I think, would be a more honest course to adopt than to introduce a Bill here which is supposed to deal with an area which, in my opinion, does not exist. It would be much more honest if the Minister would introduce a Bill or leave it to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health to introduce a Housing Bill that would deal with the Free State as a whole irrespective of the preservation of the language question altogether. There are many other clauses in the Bill that perhaps can be dealt with in Committee, but I hope and trust that when the Minister comes to deal with them in Committee he will make them a little more specific and that his explanation will be a little more lucid. Of course, I quite recognise the fact that some of the sections are almost impossible of explanation; for instance, Section 11, sub-section (4), which reads as follows:—

"So far as may be practicable having regard to the number and local distribution of the cases in which it appears to the Minister to be proper to make grants under this Act and to the foregoing provisions of this section, at least three-fifths of the moneys available for making grants under this Act shall be applied in making grants to occupiers of dwelling-houses situate in district electoral divisions in the Gaeltacht in which the product of the division of the aggregate at the passing of this Act of the valuation under the Valuation Acts of all hereditaments in the district electoral division valued under those Acts at twenty pounds or less by the population of the district electoral division according to the census of 1926 does not exceed the sum of twenty-one shillings."

I will ask any Deputy to parse that; at least I think it will surpass the wit of many Deputies of this House to give a lucid explanation of that section. I am sure the Minister will be able to give that explanation if and when the Committee Stage is arrived at. That is practically all I have to say to the Bill except that I welcome on the whole any Bill that has for its objects the provision of decent houses for the people who are in need of them. My chief objection is the differentiation in this Bill between people who have a knowledge of the language and people who have not.

I look on this Bill not so much as one introduced into this House by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government, to be examined by a Fianna Fáil and a Labour Party, but as a Bill which is being introduced by the non-Gaeltacht body as a discharge, more or less complete, of their responsibility to the Gaeltacht body. If I understand the principle of the Bill, it is a recognition that we have a definite, clear responsibility to the Gaeltacht, to its maintenance and to its development, that we do understand the value to this country and to its national future of having had preserved in it a residuum of an old culture and a place where the native language is still the natural language. In this Bill we say that if the Gaeltacht, if that old national residuum is to be kept as a seed from which is to grow a new Ireland in keeping with the traditions which were interrupted nearly ten centuries ago, that something must be done in that district, which is other than cultural, which is other than spiritual; it is a recognition that we have to build up the physical body of the Gaeltacht.

A nation is a larger man. A nation as a man has a body to be nourished, a heart to be made glad, a soul to be saved alive, but in so far as a nation is a human organism we have to recognise the almost overwhelming importance of the purely physical side of the tabernacle in which that spirit is to be kept. Now, if I understand this Bill carefully it is an open declaration that we who are more prosperous, who belong to portions of the country which are not as poverty-stricken as the Gaeltacht, do recognise that we have a direct financial responsibility to that Gaeltacht to build it up. To the extent to which this Bill is that declaration, and to the extent to which it attempts to do something practical in that direction, it is a discharge by this House of a responsibility which belongs to it. It is not a question of whether it completely discharges the responsibility; it does not. The idea that that Gaeltacht is going to be maintained merely because we put a physical covering over the people in it is not, I think, the opinion of any member of the House, but in tackling the housing question in the Gaeltacht you tackle the economic problem at the point where impact is most essential and likely to be of most immediate effect. It is said that the total contribution under this Bill is insufficient. Of course it is. It has been said that the area is possibly not the right area. Probably it is not, but you have an area and an amount, and unless the Government are in a position to increase the amount corresponding to the area, then they will reduce the efficiency of their blow against the evils in the Gaeltacht if they increase the area of the impact.

The best is always the enemy of the good, and it is no sound policy, in my opinion, to wait for the best and not to do what you can do at the moment, because it is not what is wanted to be done. I am in favour of keeping the area as small and as definitely segregated in relation to the available amount of money as possible. I want to see something actually done, and then I want the Ministry to come back and say: "That has been done. We have spent that money; we want more." For these purposes it is an absolute duty of this House to provide that money so long as it is effectively and efficiently spent, and so long as results can be shown. The Gaeltacht— I am using the word literally—is the glory and the shame of the country; it is the glory in the sense that there has been kept there, in spite of the turmoil and disturbances and all the political changes for the last fifteen hundred years, the residuum of people who, in tradition, in language, in outlook, in inspiration, in hope and in faith, are capable to-day of linking us up with the tradition which has been broken in the rest of Ireland. That portion in which that can be said, of which that high spiritual and national testimony can be given, is at the same time the most poverty-stricken, the most unhappy, the most hard-driven portion of this country.

It is our shame if we do not find the means out of the surplus wealth of the rest of the country to re-build it materially into something better. I do not mind what figures you show of the development of your cities, the development of your towns, of your imports, your exports, or your manufacture. I do not care what amount of prosperity you show in this country if, in the end, you leave those people who have carried on that tradition hungry and hard-driven. That is the test by which we will be known and tested in the world. It is because this Bill does attempt in a small way but with direct intention of impact upon the right point to do something that this House can feel some gratification in the fact that the Bill has been introduced.

I have had from the Minister for Fisheries the figures on which his estimate of a £180 house is built. I find that that includes no allowance whatever for owner's labour, no allowance whatever for quarrying or carting stones or any local material. All this is assumed, in this estimate of £180, to be provided free by the owner. This is a method, as far as I can see, of providing in the Gaeltacht a manufactory of houses by the people who are going to occupy these houses. Here you are not dealing with a little more and a little less. You are not dealing with people among whom there are some whose prosperity is a little greater than somebody else's prosperity. You are dealing with people who are practically below the ordinary level of subsistence, although many of them are infinitely higher than the most prosperous people in their intellectual and spiritual wealth. I do think that to bring to these people as cheaply and as efficiently as possible the material on which they can work is probably the best way in which a limited amount of money can be expended. If that money can be increased and if the Government, having used this money and the machinery in this Bill, will show that it is going into the manufacture of houses by the people for themselves in the West and that that money is exhausted they should have no hesitation whatever or no qualms at all in coming to the House to have that amount increased. I know cases myself—Hare Island is one of them —islands down in West Cork, where quantities of material were brought down—wood, slate, and so on—and the people built good houses at a small amount of money. I believe that in the Gaeltacht and all through the western seaboard districts no revolutionary change can be made. I believe we will have to gather up all the small things and add them together. I certainly would not treat with any suggestion of contempt such a contribution as an increase of £15,000 a year under the head of kelp. It is the little more which makes the difference there, and the little things that you and I in our ordinary life would throw away and not think of any importance that are the difference between human and inhuman conditions of life.

I only take this as an example. Take, for instance, the Arran Islands. The island of which I am speaking at the moment is one in which I have recently been. We had three or four fishing stations in the Arran Islands for many years and we know the people there very well. If you went through one of the Arran Islands and you were only familiar with the farms, say, of Limerick, or even of the less barren portions of West Cork, you would be amazed that any human being could win a livelihood from those rocks, and yet they do. They have made the land themselves. They have carried up sand and seaweed; they built very little fields, sometimes in fifty foot squares, because that was all that could be done for the time being. What I am asking you to do is to envisage this particular place. They are absolutely economic horrors. Yet the people can make a living in the Arran Islands. If there could be added to the Arran Islands what the people in Connemara, for instance, possess—turf—people with their particular training, their experience and their extraordinary methods of industrious husbandry, could change the Arran Islands from being merely a place of existence into something which would be very much more. It is in that spirit, in relation to the Gaeltacht, that I would not have any one treat with disrespect the little things in the West. The fishermen have little curraghs which the ordinary person would regard as impossible, but they are the craft which do enable them to get that little amount of fish which, added to that little amount of farming and that little amount of something else, has enabled that residuum to remain.

It is a question of what we can add to that, and, to the extent that we are adding to it in this Bill, it is to the good. My own personal feeling is that the solution of the problem in the West will be an artificial solution; that there will have to be directly and ad hoc imported into that district industries which are not indigenous to it. We may have to say that in protecting the industries of the country we will deliberately select some industry and protect it in the Gaeltacht districts as against even the rest of the country. Something artificial of that kind will have to be done. But in the meantime, and until we are prepared to take larger steps of that kind, every small effort which is directed to remedy a specific evil, and specifically even in small ways to build up, is to that extent discharging the duty of this House to the Gaeltacht, and in proportion as we find that that work is being effectively done, in proportion as we find that results are being obtained by activities of that kind, in that proportion also will we be the more bound to give more and more out of our comforts, and our luxuries, and even possibly out of our lesser necessities to the help of those to whom we owe a greater debt than any people ever owed to any portion of their own countrymen.

I would not have sufficient time to conclude now and I move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate adjourned until Thursday, 28th November.