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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 12 Mar 1931

Vol. 37 No. 12

Land Bill, 1930—Third Stage (Resumed).

The Dáil went into Committee.
Debate resumed on Amendment 35:
Before Section 17 to insert a new section as follows:—
"Where part of a holding has at any time prior to the passing of this Act been sub-divided or sub-let without the consent of the landlord in breach of a statutory condition affecting the holding or of any covenant or condition in the lease or agreement for letting of the said holding and any person is in actual possession pursuant to such sub-division or sub-letting, the sub-division or sub-letting, the sub-division or sub-letting shall be deemed valid."
—Mr. Derrig.

The amendment deals with the question of sub-tenancies or sub-lettings which are in existence, where the consent of the landlord is not available and the tenants' or sub-tenants' title may be called into question. The Parliamentary Secretary stated yesterday evening that the absence of the landlord's consent did not render a sub-tenancy invalid. I do not know whether he adheres to that view or not. If that is so, and if the landlord's consent is not necessary, then there ought to be no objection at all to the amendment; obviously, it should be accepted. On the other hand, if the landlord's consent is necessary, as I understand it is, under the Land Purchase Code, I ask the House to accept the amendment, because there are large numbers of cases in the West of Ireland where persons in occupation of sub-lettings or sub-divisions have been there for generations, and it would be a great hardship if, through a technicality, that they had not got the title from the landlords, they were excluded from the benefits of Section 15 of the Bill dealing with sub-tenants.

Section 3, sub-section (1), of the Act of 1927 reads as follows:—

The tenant of a holding to which the Land Act, 1923, applies shall not, without the consent in writing of the Land Commission, sub-divide the holding, or sub-let the same or any part thereof, but it shall not be necessary for such tenants to procure the consent of the landlord to any sub-division or sub-letting or to any assignment of the holding.

It is perfectly clear from the wording of that sub-section that since 1927 the landlord has no power whatever to refuse his consent to a sub-division. That is entirely a matter for the Land Commission. If this amendment were accepted it would really mean the perpetuation of uneconomic holdings without any power in the Land Commission to prevent it. One of the primary objects of the Land Act of 1923 was the relief of congestion. This amendment, in my opinion, is in conflict with the object of the 1923 Act. It would mean, if passed, that the Land Commission would be obliged to recognise sub-letting in any part of the country. In other words, the Land Commission would be obliged to recognise all sub-lettings, and, as a result, uneconomic holdings created in any part of the country without their consent. The Land Commission have always exercised discretionary power, and I think Deputies will recognise that the Land Commission should exercise this power to prevent sub-letting, and thereby prevent the establishment of uneconomic holdings.

I think that statement does not meet the case. I think the argument that this amendment seeks to perpetuate uneconomic holdings is preposterous. What Section 3 of the Act says in sub-section (1) is:—

... the tenant of a holding to which the Land Act, 1923, applies shall not without the consent in writing of the Land Commission sub-divide the holding or sub-let the holding ... but it shall not be necessary for such tenant to procure the consent of the landlord to any sub-division" and so on.

But suppose that a holding has been sub-let or sub-divided for generations is this axe which fell when the 1927 Act was passed saying that such sub-division is not to take place, to rule out those people who have been in occupation of these sub-divisions for years antecedent to the Land Act of 1927 and of the Act of 1923? If Section 3 of the Land Act of 1927 means anything it means that after the passing of the 1927 Act proposed sub-tenancies will not be recognised unless the Land Commission has given its consent in writing. But to say that it shall hold in all cases even before the passing of the Act is extraordinary. Besides, I am not concerned with the aspect that the Parliamentary Secretary laid down. I have it from lawyers who have been dealing with these cases that the position is that in the court these people cannot take advantage of the Act without the landlord's consent. It is not that the landlords have refused their consent, but it is because the consent is not available, and as a result these tenants are excluded. If the Parliamentary Secretary is interested in these people and wants to abolish uneconomic holdings surely to goodness he cannot object to bringing them in under the present Bill now. This present Bill keeps them out altogether. Is the present attitude to keep them out altogether?

It does not matter when the sub-division was arranged. The Land Commission have still power to deal with sub-lettings, and it is clear that under the Bill no sub-letting can be created without the consent of the Land Commission. The Deputy knows that in this Bill sub-letting is dealt with in one section. It is perfectly apparent that the Land Commission must exercise discretion on this question of sub-letting because if the Land Commission have not discretion in this particular matter this sub-letting would go on to such an extent that this country would be confronted with another problem of congestion in the next 20 years. There must be discretion exercised by somebody, whether statutory or not, for the purpose of regularising this matter. The amendment proposed by the Deputy really makes it obligatory on the State to recognise sub-letting whenever it took place. It does not matter under what Act it took place. The Land Commission at present has power to deal with that problem, and I think the Deputy will admit that it is necessary that the Land Commission should continue to exercise that power.

This amendment is not like some of the other amendments. It deals with a particular case where a large number of persons are affected. The Parliamentary Secretary, as was pointed out yesterday evening, instead of showing any desire to meet these people or to try to keep them inside the Act, wants to avail himself of every opportunity to exclude them. That is simply what it amounts to. I cannot see that the difficulty of the Parliamentary Secretary cannot be got over by putting some limit as regards time. The landlord, of course, is not the Land Commission, and if the Parliamentary Secretary would like to look into the matter, it should be possible to arrange, while safeguarding the rights of the Land Commission, to meet the particular case we have in mind. I am not hide-bound in this matter at all. We have simply brought forward these amendments to deal with particular cases, and if the Parliamentary Secretary is prepared to discuss them and to meet us we are quite prepared to give way, but if the attitude is going to be taken up when a reasonable grievance is shown up here, where a large number of poor people are affected, that no effort is going to be made by the Department to meet us, then we shall only press the amendment to a division.

That is not the attitude of the Department. It is putting a false construction on the attitude of the Department. The Parliamentary Secretary has definitely stated that whether there were sub-lettings with or without the consent of the landlord it does not affect the right of the tenant. The only thing is whether the Land Commission will be forced in every case, whether it is desirable or not, to recognise sub-lettings as separate lettings. That is necessary, except we are going to change radically our policy of putting an end to congestion as far as possible. That principle must be upheld and discretion given to the Land Commission, except you want to revert to the old system and have congestion worse than ever. There is no proposal here to take away in any way rights from the tenants that they have. They have a perfect right to purchase except in some exceptional cases where sub-letting was brought down to a point of dividing three or four acres into two parts. It is necessary to leave the Land Commission some right. We need not assume that they will use their veto in every case of sub-letting, but they must be left a discretion.

I could not quite follow the Parliamentary Secretary's arguments in regard to this matter. In the first place, I would like to say that I am in thorough agreement with him on the question of the sub-division of holdings. I think there is no question at all about that, nor about what Deputy Gorey says, in regard to the inadvisability of having sub-divisions of holdings. I take it that this amendment refers to a particular kind of case where there was a sub-letting made years ago by the landlord. The amendment seeks to provide that that sub-letting should be recognised as valid, even though there was some provision in the original lease between the landlord and the particular tenant to say that there could be no sub-letting. Sub-letting has taken place without the cognisance of the landlord. As I understand the amendment, it only proposes that that sub-letting shall be deemed to be valid. If the Parliamentary Secretary says there is no question about it if the tenant can show that that is the case, of course that is a different matter, but Deputy Derrig has stated quite definitely that advantage has been taken of that to the detriment of the sub-tenant. It is a question of whether or not such sub-tenant can be dealt with under the Act. I cannot read into this that it forces the Land Commission to deal with the tenant if it does not wish to deal with him. It only goes to show that he is in fact a valid sub-tenant for the purposes of the Act if the Land Commission wishes to deal with him. In that case it should be looked into to see that such a case would be covered, and that a sub-tenant who would be a proper person to deal with under the Act would not be ruled out from the advantages of the Act by a mere technicality, by the fact that the sub-letting took place without the consent of the landlord, even though it was provided in the original agreement between the landlord and the tenant that he could not sub-let.

The difficulty in the mind of Deputy Gorey seems to be that it does not give the Land Commission sufficient powers to deal with sub-tenants of this kind who would also be tenants of uneconomic holdings. What it really does is to place the sub-tenant in the same position as an ordinary tenant of an economic holding. It gives him something that he can exchange for something else. There are a number of sub-tenants who have economic holdings, and these men would be very unfairly treated if they could not be dealt with as tenants.

I could give a case in point where a holding was sub-divided some thirty or forty years ago. The owner divided it between two sons, but the sub-division was never recognised by the landlord. Only one holding was returned to the Land Commission by the landlord, notwithstanding the fact that there are two separate tenancies. The difficulty arises in the fact that one of these tenants is in arrears of rent to the Land Commission. He is not paying his portion, and the Land Commission have taken proceedings against the tenant who is paying his share. They cannot recover from the other because he is not recognised as a tenant. The brother who is paying would be put in the position of having to take proceedings against his partner, which he does not like doing. Both places are held up. The Land Commission will not take the current rent from the man who is paying without getting the arrears on the other holding. I think it would be possible for the Parliamentary Secretary to look into a case like that and see if he could meet it.

I can assure the Deputy that I do not take any strong view on this matter, and that I only want to be satisfied that the discretionary power of the Land Commission is preserved. If it is not preserved, there would be a danger that promiscuous or wholesale uneconomic holdings would be created, and that we would be faced in the future with a new problem of congestion. Under the circumstances, perhaps, it would be better to leave the amendment over until the Report Stage, and meantime I will have an opportunity of considering it. I want to tell Deputy Derrig, however, that I intend to insist on the discretionary power of the Land Commission being preserved.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move:—

In sub-section (1), after the word "made," both where it occurs in paragraph (a), page 9, line 63, and in paragraph (b), page 10, line 2, to insert in brackets the words "(other than so much of such advance as consists of the contribution of the State)," and in sub-section (2), page 10, line 12, before the word "amount," to insert the word "whole."

This is purely a drafting amendment, and has been introduced in order to ensure that the tenant shall not be called on to pay interest on sinking fund in connection with the State contribution to the purchase-money.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question—"That Section 17, as amended, stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
Question—"That Section 18 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.

Amendment No. 37, Section 19, in the name of Deputy Cole, is out of order.

I do not know whether you understand the idea of the amendment.

I am quite clear that it is out of order.

It has not been put down so much on behalf of the landlord as on behalf of the mortgagee.

I am not concerned with the merits of the amendment, but I know that it is out of order and that it cannot be moved.

Question—"That Section 19 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
(1) Where the purchase money of an estate is distributed before the vesting orders in respect of all the holdings comprised in such estate have been made, the Judicial Commissioner may, on the application of the Land Commission made on such distribution retain in land bonds out of such purchase-money such sum (in this Act referred to as the guarantee deposit) as the Judicial Commissioner shall think proper but not exceeding in any case one-tenth of such purchase-money.
(2) Every guarantee deposit shall be applicable for the purposes hereinafter mentioned and, subject to such application, shall be retained until an order is made under this section for the release thereof and upon such order being made such guarantee deposit or so much thereof as has not been so applied shall be paid out to the person found to be entitled thereto.
(3) The dividends on land bonds for the time being retained as a guarantee deposit shall be paid out as they accrue to the person found to be entitled thereto.
(4) The following moneys, if or so far as they are not otherwise paid, shall be payable to the Land Commission in money out of the appropriate guarantee deposit so far as that deposit will extend, that is to say:—
(a) moneys payable under this Act to the Land Commission in repayment of moneys paid into the land bond fund by the Land Commission to redeem land bonds; and
(b) moneys payable under this Act to the Land Commission in repayment of moneys paid by the Land Commission to a tenant by way of refund of excess payments by such tenant; and
(c) so much of moneys expended by the Land Commission on the repair or maintenance of embankments or other works as the Judicial Commissioner shall under this Act order to be repayable to the Land Commission by a person to whom the purchase-money or any part thereof has been paid.
(5) The Judicial Commissioner, on being satisfied that all moneys for the payment of which a guarantee deposit may be resorted to under this section, have been duly paid out of such guarantee deposit or otherwise, may make an order releasing (as the case may require) such guarantee deposit or so much thereof as has not been applied in or towards making such payments.

I move in sub-section (1), after the word "case," line 8, to delete the word "one-tenth," and insert therefor the word "one-fifth."

Section 20 proposes to set up a system of guarantee deposits whereby the Judicial Commissioner on the application of the Land Commission may retain in land bonds out of the purchase-money such sum as he shall think proper, but not exceeding in any case one-tenth of such purchase-money. My amendment proposes to change one-tenth into one-fifth. A similar provision to this in regard to the guarantee deposit is found in the Land Act of 1885, the Ashbourne Act, Section 3. The amount retained there was one-fifth of the advance. I think that in view of the fact that there is a certain discretionary power and that there is no proof, so far as we can see, that one-tenth of the money will cover the items mentioned in sub-section 4, one-fifth ought to be put in. That does not necessarily mean that one-fifth will be retained, but that an amount up to one-fifth may be retained. In the case of small estates it is doubtful whether one-tenth would be sufficient. In any case, as regards estates which have been held over and not dealt with under previous Acts, I think that the House should have the safeguarding of the State in view and should not scruple to hold as large a guarantee deposit as would seem to be reasonable to cover all outstanding adjustments.

It is quite true, as Deputy Derrig has stated, that one-fourth of the purchase money was retained as a guarantee deposit under the Ashbourne Act of 1885, but it was retained for an entirely different purpose, namely, as security for the payment of the tenants' annuities. In this Bill the deposit is retained only for the purposes mentioned in Section 20. The Deputy is aware that the payment of annuities is secured under the guarantee fund. I am satisfied that 10 per cent. is adequate for our purpose. The matter has been investigated with the greatest possible care, and an exhaustive examination made of a large number of typical estates revealed the fact that the percentage varies in some cases from one to seven per cent., and that in others there is no variation, and the average percentage of error is 4. Thus we are allowing ourselves a wide margin when we give the Judicial Commissioner discretion to retain one-tenth of the purchase money. I am satisfied that it is quite adequate for our purpose.

I agree with Deputy Derrig that it should be one-fifth. Take, for instance, the cases which I brought forward here last night, and in which a refund will have to be given to the tenants if they succeed in their claim before the Judicial Commissioner. I do not think that in those cases their rights would be covered by one-tenth, seeing that one-tenth, at any rate, would only be the amount due to them from this time forward and that they would have no guarantee from 1923 to 1931. They have been overpaying 10 per cent. from 1923 to 1931, and they would not be covered by one-tenth.

Surely the Deputy is not pressing the amendment?

Amendment put and negatived.

I move:—

"In sub-section (2), after the word `thereof,' line 12, to insert the words `in whole or in part.' "

It seems to me that there is a slight omission in sub-section (2) as it stands. The sub-section says that the guarantee deposit may be paid out. I want to make it quite clear that it may be paid out in part or in whole. I do not think that the sub-section as it stands covers that point, namely, that it may be paid out from time to time in part.

I do not think that the Deputy's amendment will really make the section any clearer, but would rather prevent the guarantee deposit being made available if any part of it were released. The section provides that the guarantee deposit shall be paid to the person entitled thereto less the amount retained for the specific purposes mentioned in the Bill. The amendment really means that the guarantee deposit may be paid out in part. That really to a certain extent defeats the object of the section— namely, that the deposit shall be retained in whole until such time as the Land Commission is satisfied that no claims will be made against it.

I agree with the Parliamentary Secretary's statement and withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move:—

To add at the end of sub-section (2) the words "no such deposit shall be retained for more than two years after the appointed day."

We have all heard a lot about the slowness of the Land Commission, and it is hardly fair to allow them unlimited time to retain these deposits. I think they should be bound by some time, either two or five years, so that we may know exactly where we are.

I do not think that the amendment can be accepted in view of the fact that the Land Commission is so slow in dealing with these cases. It would rule out those who would be entitled to the 10 per cent. Very few cases have been heard. Owing to the fact that the Judicial Commissioner is all-powerful, I do not see how they can deal with those cases at all. If Deputy Cole is anxious to get this amendment inserted he should support me in eliminating the powers of the Judicial Commissioner.

Is it not the position that although the guarantee deposit is retained, the people whom Deputy Cole has in mind will be getting interest on their money, so that there will not be any real injustice done to them?

That is not Deputy Cole's object. His object is to fix a time limit.

It is better to have some time limit.

I disagree altogether with the terms of the amendment. There would be no necessity for having a guarantee fund if it was not required to meet some risk, and a period of two years is too short to get over any risks there may be. I quite agree that there should be some period but, side by side with that there should be a period fixed after which no claims to the estate would be legal. The two periods should be the same. I would say that a ten year period would be reasonable. I would also suggest that a clause should be inserted providing that after that time no other claims to this estate would be entertained. It might be, perhaps, necessary to prolong the period further than ten years, inasmuch as there may be minors who are only just born now who would not be able to make a claim until they reached the age of twenty-one. It is a joke to suggest, if there is to be a guarantee fund at all, that the guarantee fund should be distributed after three years. The State and the ratepayers want to be protected. I quite agree that people do not come into the possession of an estate as, for instance, you would rob a bank or rob a heifer and sell it at a fair somewhere at a distance. Deputy Corry will bear me out in the statement that you could not do it as you could rob a bank.

The Deputy can address his own late Party. They know more about it than we do. A member of their Party was tried for it.

I think Deputy Gorey should keep to the section.

I was alluding to a member of Deputy Gorey's Party who was tried and convicted for robbery.

I think it would be quite admitted, even by Deputy Cole, that the State would have no protection at all if this guarantee fund were distributed after two years. There is no use in having a guarantee deposit if it is going to be distributed at the end of two years. Another point is that there will have to be a separate fund in respect of each estate. It is not a common fund. Each fund will have to be a separate fund dealing with a particular estate, and it is not the amount of money that is in question. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary not to accept the amendment.

Deputy Cole in this and other amendments has shown his anxiety for the landlords. I wonder is he representing the views of the people who have elected him? Nobody has shown keener interest in the vesting of estates than the people in his constituency, the small farmers in the North. He is apparently more concerned with the welfare of the landlord. I wonder has he consulted his constituents before doing that?

My constituents will be able to look after me for anything I do here, if it is any information to the Deputy. I think if the time were extended to five years it would meet the case, but there should be some limit so that we would know exactly where we are.

Deputy Nolan apparently is suffering from an antijudicial commissioner complex, like some Deputies on the Fianna Fáil Benches who are suffering from an anti-landlord complex and who will avail of every opportunity to show it.

You have them on both sides.

I think Deputy Cole does not press the amendment seriously. It would be quite impossible to fix a time limit. In any event the landlords are treated very well under this section. They are getting interest, as Deputy Derrig stated, on the moneys retained as a guarantee deposit, a privilege which they never enjoyed before. I do not think that the landlords would be prepared to press for a time limit in cases of this kind.

Amendment by leave withdrawn.

I move:

In sub-section (4), page 11, after paragraph (b), to insert a new paragraph as follows:—

"(c) moneys payable under this Act to the Land Commission in repayment of moneys paid by the Land Commission for interest and sinking fund on so much of the land bonds redeemed as were issued for the contribution of the State to the standard price of a holding."

This is purely a drafting amendment; it provides for the recoupment to the Land Commission Vote of certain moneys paid out.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary say if he could deal with such cases as embankments broken by tidal waves, embankments such as are found on the Sheehy minor estate?

The amendment relating to embankments comes in later on.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary tell us exactly what amendment 43 means? "On so much of the land bonds redeemed." How "redeemed"?

Redeemed by the Land Commission.

In what connection?

Certain payments in connection with interest on sinking fund.

Why is it necessary for the Land Commission to utilise the deposit for this purpose?

It is in respect of embankments. These are land bonds only in respect of a State contribution to the standard price.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment 44:

In sub-section (4) paragraph (c), page 11, line 31, after the word "on" to insert the words "or to be retained by the Land Commission for."

I think this covers Deputy Derrig's amendment.

Will that amendment be absolute?

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment 45 not moved.

With reference to amendment 46, in the name of Deputy Derrig, the matter contained in it was raised yesterday on an amendment to Section 9, and the amendment to Section 9 was postponed pending a decision on amendment 46. The point involved is whether amendment 46 will create a charge on public funds. I have given a good deal of consideration to the amendment, and I am not satisfied that it would create a charge on public funds. I have decided that the amendment can be moved to enable the House to come to a decision on it.

I move amendment 46:

In sub-section (4) to add a new paragraph as follows:—

"Any moneys paid by the tenant of a holding as payment in lieu of rent in excess of the standard purchase annuity of the holding which said moneys shall be paid to the tenant or deducted from any standard purchase annuity due by him."

We had a long discussion on a previous amendment to Section 9, namely Amendment No. 5, to which this was stated to be consequential. This amendment simply asks that part of the guarantee deposit fund as well as meeting the moneys that are to be payable under sub-section (4) of Section 20, as it now stands, should also be available for repayment to the tenant in whatever manner may be determined of whatever sum he has paid as payment in lieu of rent in excess of his standard purchase annuity. If this provision is accepted I think it is quite clear that it will not impose a charge upon the State. It provides the moneys which will have to be found to recoup the tenant for what he has overpaid. The money will be found in the guarantee deposit fund. We simply want to have a provision by which the Land Commission would be enabled to fix the appointed day in August, 1928, for example, a period which we consider very reasonable, allowing five years during which the work of vesting should have been done, and then recouping the tenant for the work he has done.

The only way in which it is suggested that this amendment was out of order was that the State would have to find the money. As Deputy de Valera pointed out yesterday if the House thinks that there would be an injustice, and that the State to some extent has profited—or, at any rate, has been responsible for the unfair treatment tenants have been subjected to—the State should come in. Of course, that is chiefly a matter for the Government. From our point of view our amendment is quite clear, and I think nobody can contend that it imposes a charge on public funds. In drafting the amendment we had to put it in its present form, to put it in order, but in moving it I may say we were quite aware of the fact that the State had its responsibility in the matter. That is a matter we, in opposition, are not competent to deal with, and we ask the House to take steps, since the machinery is there, to see that sufficient money is withheld until this restitution is made.

I understand from the Deputy's argument that a sum of £269,000 was the sum that the tenants paid in excess. I think Deputy Derrig in moving the amendment now suggests that this money should be supplied out of the Deposit Guarantee Fund, which to my mind, is simply saying this. He asks the Government to repudiate a bargain that was made with regard to the land bonds. That is the usual way of Fianna Fáil in recovering or finding money.

We are glad to see unmasked here by degrees the landlords' party in the Dáil. Deputy Mathews is very anxious that the tenants should bear the losses. He is definitely agreed that during the past three years the sum of £260,000 odd has been taken out of the pockets of the tenants by a combination of circumstances for which the tenant was not responsible, the combination of circumstances being the abnormal delay on the part of the Land Commission in vesting the holdings, and the fact that a large number of landlords whose rights have been so well protected by the Government have, in fact, no title to the land or at least could not prove sufficient title to enable vesting. We have a special protection party here for the landlords consisting of Deputy Mathews, Deputy Cole and their able assistant Deputy Gorey.

Let the dead rest; if you do not you will be sorry.

If Deputy Gorey or his new leaders in this matter think it fair for the tenants of the Free State to be robbed out of £130,000 practically per annum in the past two years, I am glad that there is at least some party in the House which is prepared to protect the tenants, and I look to the Parliamentary Secretary and his leader, the Minister, to see that the tenants are protected in this House against individuals who here form a very small minority and who after all should not be allowed to force legislation here to rob the unfortunate tenants of the Free State. It is time it ended. We are only looking for bare justice. The Minister when introducing his Bill said that the last of these tenants would be vested within five years. If anyone doubts that statement let them go and prove it for their edification. We are aware that those statements are not made on "spec," but why should the tenants be the only individuals to suffer for a landlord having a bad title? I am sure that the Land Commission even on that bad title have seized cattle, and evicted tenants throughout the country.

The Deputy ought to talk about the amendment.

I am confining myself solely to the argument that the tenants are entitled to the 10 per cent. They are entitled to their just rights and no more. What we want is to get back for them what was stolen by a combination consisting of Land Commission officials and landlords with bad titles. That is all there is in the amendment. I am glad that at length the landlord party in this House have been unmasked, and that we see who is responsible for the robbery committed on the unfortunate tenants in the Free State during the last five or six years. That party are unmasked now, and we know the gentlemen who came here in the guise of leaders of the Farmers' Party, who brought in amendments that even the Minister in charge of the Bill could not tolerate. The amendments were to the effect that in every single case, going back for five years, the tenants were not to be entitled to the reductions they got prior to the introduction of the Bill. Deputies who came here as leaders of the Farmers' Party came forward with amendments to rob the unfortunate tenants whom they were supposed to represent. I am glad that the whole situation has been opened up, and that the farmers of the Free State will be able to see these people in their true colours.

On a point of explanation, I would like to be allowed to correct the Deputy, as I do not want my position to be misunderstood. I am a tenant, and my sympathies are with the tenants. Deputy Corry stated that there was a party here for the protection of landlords. I think that is a wrong description. If the Deputy had stated that there was a party in this House against the repudiation of contracts it would be a truer definition of anything I said.

Reference has been made to the Land Act passed here and to the amendments that were put up.

I will hear the Deputy on amendment 46 now.

I have a distinct recollection of what occurred although I have not the Official Report here now. Amendments were put up specifying that any abated rent operating up to a certain date should be the basis of purchase. Anything to the contrary is a falsehood. That must be known to anyone with sufficient intelligence to know the meaning of plain words.

The Deputy will have to keep to the amendment.

I hope so. I never had any sympathy with anybody occupying the position of a landlord. The record of my life proves that. Every word I utter and every action I took goes to prove it. There are no tenants alive in Kilkenny, and no people dead, who shuddered at the name of Gorey as they did at the name of Corry in Cork. They all remember the name Gorey, but when Deputy Corry makes these statements he must be seeing the ghosts of two generations, his father's and his own.

The Deputy must be seeing the ghosts of dogs, the only things he has ever been associated with.

This is a serious matter and we ought to keep clear of personalities.

I suggest that a snaffle should be procured.

You would want to cure your own bagún first. The delay in vesting in the past was not the fault of the tenants. Neither can it be said that it was the fault of the vendors. If there was any fault at all it was the fault of the machinery that was set up by the State for which we, and the people, are responsible, and no one else. I am not going to discuss whether the period that has elapsed was a reasonable period or not, or whether the vesting should have taken place earlier, considering the magnitude of the problem. The promises that were made in 1923 were not the promises of the landlords. It must be remembered that the promises were made to the landlords and the tenants alike. The landlords were guaranteed certain payments, which they are entitled to recover and which cannot be taken from them. They are entitled to these payments by law.

It is now proposed to set up a fund for another purpose out of which to pay for the delay that took place in vesting. No court would sustain a claim like that. If such a claim were made in the law courts the verdict would be against it. I say that although I am not a lawyer. If the tenant is to be asked for recoupment, it would be necessary to look elsewhere than to the vendor for the money. The vendor has been fixed in his rights by an Act of this House, and if there is any liability at all it is a liability of the State. I would be delighted with this proposal, as I would be one of those who would benefit considerably. I have no objection to it if it can be done legally. At present I see no possibility of its being done at all. The landlords' rights are there, and they are guaranteed in the Constitution, so that it is futile to talk about this amendment, or to suggest that the money could be recovered from another source. Unless public funds are provided it cannot be done otherwise.

President Cosgrave and Deputy Gorey may get behind little points of order in this House and say that they cannot do anything for the people who were promised vesting within a short time. Those to whom these fair promises were made will want to get some other reasons than points of order as to why the tenants are going to be robbed of the excess payment they made.

That is what I said, that this is a liability of the State.

We are prevented by points of order, which President Cosgrave pleaded yesterday, from putting in amendments that the State and the landlords should bear their share, but that the tenant should not be asked to pay for the robbery that has been practised upon him. Deputy Mathews talked about the repudiation of bargains. What about the bargains that Cumann na nGaedheal made with the people in the different elections? Are they going to repudiate these bargains? When the Minister for Agriculture was putting through the 1923 Act he promised the people that vesting would be complete within a year. Then they came along in the 1927 election and they made a bargain with the people that if they got in they would complete the bargain. There is no talk from Deputy Mathews about the repudiation of that and other bargains which Cumann na nGaedheal made with the people.

"He hoped."

"He hoped."

Your guarantees are hopeless.

Deputy Mathews to-day has pious hopes and sympathy, as he said, for the tenants, but the Cumann na nGaedheal interests are with the landlords. That is the secret of the points of order being raised to prevent us making restitution to the tenants who are being robbed. We are prevented by points of order from asking that the State should bear portion of the charge. If it comes to this, that we are prevented by points of order from making efforts to solve the question, if it all boils down to the question whether the landlords are going to pay this £269,000 or whether the tenants are going to pay it, we have to ask ourselves which of the two is best able to bear it. We believe that the landlords are best able to bear it, and as we have to make up our minds on this issue, we are prepared to say that the landlords should pay, and that the tenants who have been robbed of this £269,000 should have restitution made to them by the House. The President and Deputy Gorey and the others cannot get away from this, that the tenants for the last few years have made excess payments amounting to £269,000. We want that paid back to the tenants. We believe the Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies and most of the Deputies who represent the farming community have made a bargain with their constituents that they will stand for fair play for them, and that is a bargain they should not repudiate.

Deputy Mathews contended, in his opposition to this amendment, that he spoke for the tenants. There are tenants and tenants. I contend that he spoke for the tenant that goes over the £3,000 valuation, the particular type of tenant we have in County Meath who has reduced the county to a wilderness; the tenant with 1,000 or 2,000 acres who, in some cases, has a landlord over him. Deputy Mathews speaks for that kind of tenant, for the people who have made County Meath the El Dorado of the Minister for Agriculture, the place on which he models the rest of Ireland, and his policy is to bring every county in Ireland to the condition where prosperity is counted in heads of cattle and not in human beings. That is the particular type that Deputy Mathews speaks for, the particular type of tenant who "hobnobs" with the aristocracy, moryah, at races and other social events. He does not speak for the small uneconomic holder in North Meath, to whom a shilling is more than one hundred pounds to the particular type he represents. I hope Deputy Mathews when he goes to North Meath will explain his opposition to this amendment to the small tenants there.

Mr. P. Hogan (Clare):

I should like to hear the Parliamentary Secretary make a case against the amendment. This state of affairs is entirely due to the failure of the legislative machinery, to the failure of the vesting clause in the Act of 1923. Because of that certain wrong has been done which is very widespread. The Parliamentary Secretary thinks no wrong has been done, but if there are people who have been paying in excess of what they should pay if the legislative machinery worked properly, there is clearly a wrong done to somebody. If there is a wrong done to somebody, somebody has gained. I do not presume to follow the intricacies of the minds of lawyers who shake their heads when I say that. I am merely a layman. Nobody can say that I am endeavouring to discuss this on Party lines or on anything but lines of common sense and fair play, when I say that if the legislative machinery was working properly people would have got a reduction of ten per cent., and if they have not got that reduction there is a wrong done. It is the duty of this Assembly to remedy wrongs of that kind. The tenant who has been paying this for a number of years has had to stand his ground against many things that occurred in that period, such as the disorganisation of markets, and so on. He had to meet these demands while the landlord's income was certain during that period, and did not fluctuate. If there is no legislation at present to remedy that wrong, I suggest it is the duty of this Assembly to remedy it and pass legislation that will empower the Government to withhold this from whoever has got away with the spoil, and to compensate the people who have suffered. A good many people have suffered during that period who could not afford to suffer and who cannot afford to suffer now, and there should be some remedy by which they would be compensated for this loss.

I have been listening to this debate with a very open mind. When a moment ago Deputy Hogan saw me shaking my head at one of his remarks it was not, I assure him, in any excessive subtlety. What I was dissenting from was merely this proposition, which was put forward I am certain in perfectly good faith, and which was put forward yesterday by Deputy de Valera and others, what at first sight does seem a perfectly obvious thing, that when there is a loss there must also be a gain; that certain people lost, therefore, that somebody else—either the State or the landlord or both—must have gained. That was the position put forward by Deputy de Valera yesterday.

Mr. Hogan

Does the Deputy admit that there was a loss?

In this sense there is a loss, that the tenants whose vesting has been delayed have no doubt paid more than they would have paid if they had been vested before now. That is not an admission on my part. It is a perfectly obvious fact, a small piece of arithmetical fact. Unfortunately the corollary which the Deputy draws is really not sound. It is, unfortunately, true in this wicked world that one man's loss is not always another man's gain. The world is so situated that it is quite possible to have a state of affairs in which everybody is losing. That sounds curious, but I think it is true. I am not sufficiently acquainted with the working of the finances of this Act to know whether it is true that in any sense the State gained through the delay. I do not personally think that it can have. I suppose it may have gained to some small extent indirectly in income tax, but I cannot think of any other way. It certainly must have lost at least a corresponding amount in the lengthening of the land purchase processes and the consequent continuous expenditure on the Land Commission itself. I am quite sure from what I have heard that the landlords as a class have not gained. It is quite true, as Deputy Hogan pointed out, that the landlords have presumably got the difference of ten per cent. between the amount paid in lieu of rent and the amount of land bonds would have brought in, whatever that may be. It is a little difficult to calculate, because it is a question of what you can sell and invest your land bonds for.

I assume for the moment that there was a certain gain there, but this should by no means be considered a net gain. In many cases, in consequence of the delay, owners were put to very great expenses; they had to take legal advice of various kinds and they were put to the cost of agent services, rental rate and estate offices, and in a thousand and one other ways they incurred expense. I speak neither as a tenant's nor a landlord's advocate, but I am quite sure that balanced against the difference in the money they receive the balance would be, for most of them, on the wrong side. I know this is a fact, and it is probably within the knowledge of other Deputies in the House that the owners have been complaining bitterly quite as much as the tenants of the delay. Cases have come to my own knowledge where people came to me and said: "Can you not try and get my estate through. I want to get finished with it and to pay off all my charges and to invest my money and be done with the business." I think these are considerations that the House ought to bear in mind when it comes to sum up on this matter.

If it was true that there was anybody who got away with the loot, then I say by all means let us see if we cannot get after it and recover it. My own belief is that there is no such thing. So far as the law is concerned, whatever Act has been passed can be changed by this House. But if there are questions of justice and equity, even at the risk of being called a landlords' man I say that we ought to do justice to all categories of our citizens and we ought not to do injustice under any misapprehension.

May I ask, as Deputy Law objects to that most grossly improper and unpleasant phrase, "getting away with the loot," where has this £269,000 gone to? Who has got it?

I know nothing of the particular figure, but, taking that figure as given, and assuming for a moment that such a figure is involved, I presume a large proportion of that undoubtedly has gone to the landlords as representing the 10 per cent. difference between the payment in lieu of rent and the annuity, but it does not follow by any means that the whole of that goes into the landlords' pocket. I do not know how much of it has gone to the landlords, but let me assume that a large part of it has gone to them, say two-thirds, I suggest that as against that you will find that the expenses of one sort or another to which the landlord has been put, and the loss that is entailed upon him by being prevented from winding up his business, clearing off his charges, dispensing with solicitors and agents, has been quite as much as he got, taking the class as a whole and not as individuals.

The plain meaning of that is that in Deputy Law's previous speech he was talking at random and did not know anything about what he was talking of, and did not take the trouble to inquire what the figures were. He just at first took up the phrase to which he objects, "getting away with the loot," and then he starts in and says: "I do not know anything about it."

On the contrary.

If there is this £269,000, then it is the landlords that have got away with the loot.

I do not admit that at all.

I tried to understand the Deputy, but could not understand his first rambling statement, but his explanation that it was a rambling statement I did understand.

There is no doubt but there has been a loss to the tenants. The tenants expected to be vested a long time ago according to the Minister for Agriculture when he said that they would be all vested in about five years. I do not understand this amendment even now; I do not think it could be made good. Take the landlords who got land bonds in the last twelve months, how are you going to get after these? My whole contention is, and I am definite in that, that it is the superiority complex of the individual that is all-powerful in this Bill that is responsible for the delay. He comes into it fourteen times. If this Bill is to go through and become an Act with the same conditions that are in it, then, instead of the Minister being able to delete the words "Judicial Commissioner" where they are found, there is no doubt but that the Judicial Commissioner will delete from Deputy Roddy the words "Parliamentary Secretary."

The words "Judicial Commissioner" do not occur in this amendment.

In Section 20.

We are on amendment 46.

Yes, on amendment 46 to Section 20. Who is responsible for all that? I read a letter last night and I may read it again now, or a portion of it.

I maintain I am in order.

The Deputy will have to address himself to what is contained in amendment 46, and will have to confine himself to that amendment.

I bow to your ruling absolutely, but if I was out of order Deputy Morrissey was a good deal more out of order last Friday in discussing the butter tariff.

The Deputy should not make comparisons. He is out of order now.

I shall get into order on the next section.

I confess I could not exactly see the force of Deputy Law's argument. He seemed to imply that the money vanished into thin air. £269,000 is not a sum that will go into nowhere without anyone trying to get after it, if I may put it that way. Undoubtedly the one thing the tenant purchasers are aware of, particularly those who are not vested, is that it has gone out of their pockets. If it has gone out of their pockets somebody has reaped the benefit. The landlord has reaped the benefit to the extent of £7 5s. 3d. per £100 of the standard price—no inconsiderable benefit to the landlord. In addition to that, arising out of the Land Act of 1923, he has had other indirect gains. If it was not for the Act of 1923 I wonder how many landlords would be able to collect their rents even at the cost of 25 per cent. of their gross income. If the landlord had to use that 25 per cent. in order to secure his rents, at any rate he secured his rents. They were collected for him by the State, not only rents for the current year but also the arrears. I think he was very lucky to get away with the small loss of 25 per cent. of the nominal loss.

The real point is whether the tenant who, either because the State has been dilatory or that the landlord has been dilatory in clearing up matters of title, has had to bear the cost of the present arrangement should be compelled to bear it any longer. No members of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party are prepared to say that the landlords are in fault. Then they must admit that it was the Land Commission that was in fault. If it was the Land Commission that was in fault then we submit from these benches that it is the duty of the Government to make good to the unvested tenants the amounts they have lost. The State has been the gainer, because if the land had been vested it would have issued land bonds earlier, and it would have to pay interest on the ten per cent. bonus every year since 1923.

In view of that, it appears to us that there is a clear case in equity for compensating the tenants for the losses they have endured during the past five years. For that reason we are putting the amendment to the House, and we hope the Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies who would like to do justice to the unvested tenants, if they cannot see their way to follow us into the division lobby, that at least they will bring private pressure to bear on the Parliamentary Secretary to have the principle of this amendment accepted.

The main objection urged by certain Deputies to this amendment is that Fianna Fáil are pursuing their evil course of repudiating contracts. Assuming that there is a contract between the State and the people on the one side, and the landlord on the other, in 1923, which I entirely deny, I think it is a most fallacious idea. But granting, for the sake of argument, that there was a contract in 1923 by which the land of this country was to be acquired on certain terms, a breach of that contract was committed, not by the mover of this amendment but by the draftsman and the introducer of this Bill. One would think that, on listening to Deputy Gorey or Deputy Law or Deputy Mathews, that it was we suggested that there should be an inroad on the landlords' purchase money. The Land Act of 1923 did not say that one-tenth of the landlords' purchase money could be withheld, but this Bill, as introduced here, by this Section 20 breaks that contract, if such a contract ever existed, because it provides that there is to be docked off the landlord's purchase money ten per cent. It provides how that ten per cent. is to be expended: It says, for instance, that part of it is to be expended—I am now reading the Bill as printed and not some fantastic Fianna Fáil amendment —Section 20 provides that part of this is to be spent or so much of it "on the repair or maintenance of embankments or other works as the Judicial Commissioner shall under this Act order to be repayable to the Land Commission by a person to whom the purchase money or any part thereof has been paid." No such right as that was conferred by the Act of 1923——

[Professor Thrift took the Chair.]

There was such a right.

It is a curious thing that when something wild has to be said it is always said on the other side by an irresponsible person.

Irresponsible to the extent of having put the provision into the 1923 Act.

I suppose I might be pardoned if I were to adopt a slightly aggressive or offensive tone towards the Parliamentary Secretary, who is responsible for this Bill. But I would not be so grossly offensive to the Parliamentary Secretary as to make the suggestion that has been made from his own benches by Deputy Gorey —that the Parliamentary Secretary has foolishly introduced into this Bill a provision conferring power that already exists. Surely we must impute some talent to the Parliamentary Secretary and to the staff who assisted him. Yet it is suggested by Deputy Gorey that he solemnly puts in a section merely for the fun of printing it, giving a power that already existed in the Act of 1923.

I do not think I need waste very much time in trying to convince the House that the Parliamentary Secretary has not introduced a mere redundant provision. This guaranteed deposit created under the Minister's Bill is something new. One-tenth has been taken off. Destinations are found for that one-tenth other than the landlords' pockets. If there is this contract, this money should go into the landlords' coffers, but it is now provided that one-tenth comes off. This amendment proposes that in addition to the three destinations provided for under the sub-sections (a), (b), (c) of this section, there is to be a fourth one, making some sort of recompense to the tenants. We are told: "Oh, we should do justice." After all, is that doing more than begging the question? We are trying to do justice. It has been fairly well established now that a sum of £269,000 has left the pockets of the tenants of Ireland that would have remained in those pockets if the promise that was given in 1923 to have the tenants vested by 1928 had been carried out. The tenants have lost that sum of money. Tears are shed by Deputy Mathews about the landlords, the terrible thing it would be to go to the landlords for this money. Deputy Law says that the landlords are moaning because of this delay. I wonder could Deputy Law state exactly, what I can only state in a rough way, how much would the landlord have lost if he had received his bonds in 1924 or 1925?

The bonds have been constantly appreciating since then. The bonds have almost reached par. The landlord's position, like good wine, seems to have matured with age. The landlord gets his bonds now and he can sell those bonds now on the Stock Exchange on much more favourable terms than the landlords who got those bonds earlier. But what about the tenants? Can anybody suggest that this delay is affecting the tenants otherwise than detrimentally? The question has been raised: Who is to blame? If we try to fix that by a process of elimination, the tenant certainly is not to blame in the legal sense. He may be to blame in a wider sense for his fatuity in putting into office people who treat him like he has been treated, but that is another matter. The tenant could have done nothing to expedite the vesting of the land. Whether the landlord is to blame or not is left a mystery. When it suits the Parliamentary Secretary or whatever Minister speaks from the Government Benches we are told that one of the great causes of the delay is that the landlord did not furnish his title.

Oh, no, you have never been told that.

If I have misrepresented the Parliamentary Secretary I wish unreservedly to withdraw. I did gather, in the course of the debate, that the Parliamentary Secretary or the Minister had suggested that there was difficulty about the titles.

Then I wish to withdraw entirely what I have said in that connection. At all events, I need not withdraw what I have said, that the tenant is in no way to blame. Is the State to blame? If the State is to blame, while we may not have the power here to put the burden on the shoulders of the State, the Minister for Finance has the power to initiate such procedure, and possibly has done so already, because there is a financial resolution in aid of this Bill on the Paper. If that financial resolution, as it stands, is not enough to make reparation to the tenant from the State, if the State is the proper person to make reparation, it is only a matter of draughtsmanship to bring the financial resolution into such shape as will enable that reparation to be made. At first glance, certainly the State would seem to be to blame. What reason was behind that? The method of vesting that is in this Bill now is not even in the Act of 1923. I suggested on the Second Reading debate that the omission of such machinery as we now find in this Bill from the Act of 1923 was absolutely inexcusable. The Government in 1923 passed a compulsory land purchase scheme. They departed from the voluntary method of vesting that was appropriate to the voluntary scheme and necessary when the voluntary scheme was totally out of tune with this scheme. For that reason I would suggest that the State was to blame. Perhaps there may be an indication from the Parliamentary Secretary or from the Minister for Finance that the State, if to blame, will take some steps to remedy the wrong that has been done. However, it is not a question of sympathy or anything like that. We say that the tenants undoubtedly have suffered wrong to the extent of £269,000 when the Government departed from the 1923 arrangement by creating this 10 per cent. fund, and that it is perfectly fair and perfectly defensible to apply that fund towards making this reparation.

A red herring has been pulled across the track by suggesting that there is no pooling. What need is there of pooling? Out of a small estate there will be a small percentage; there will be only a small reparation to make if the estate is small. If the estate is large there will be a large deduction from that particular estate, but quite sufficient to finance the requisites of that large estate. The fact that there is no pooling I think need not give this House a great deal of difficulty. The one thing I do wish to stress is if there is any repudiation of contract here, it lies at the door of the draftsman of that Section 20 and of the Parliamentary Secretary and of the Government who sponsored it.

Deputy Geoghegan, in the course of his speech referred to the contract argument. I would remind the Deputy that there was nothing in the contract setting out that vesting should be completed in one year, two years, or in any specified period of years. On the contrary, the 1923 Act made it clear that vesting would be a matter of time. I stated yesterday, when speaking on another relevant amendment, that delay was inherent in the Act of 1923, and hence it was that the tenants were given the very substantial reduction of 25 per cent. which no tenants were given under any previous Land Act. It was made abundantly clear at the time the 1923 Act was being passed through this Dail that a certain period of time must elapse between the date on which the land would vest in the Land Commission, and the date on which it would finally vest in the tenant. Now it has been suggested that the Minister for Agriculture on one occasion mentioned that vesting might be completed in a period of five years. No Minister was in a position to say that vesting would be completed at the end of a certain number of years, because in 1923 and 1924 no Minister could have known the real difficulties inherent in this whole problem of vesting. As a matter of fact, this Land Bill would not be possible were it not for the experience which the Land Commission has gained during the years since the 1923 Act was passed. It is only as a result of experience that it is possible to devise a machine for the purpose of speeding up the vesting of land. The amendment reads:

"Any moneys paid by the tenant of a holding as payment in lieu of rent in excess of the standard purchase annuity of the holding which said moneys shall be paid to the tenant or deducted from any standard purchase annuity due by him."

Yesterday, Deputy Derrig, Deputy Geoghegan and Deputy de Valera stated that the amendment covered the Congested Districts Board tenants as well as the tenants still to be vested under the Act of 1903. This amendment only deals with tenants under the Act of 1923, and it leaves out of consideration altogether the 20,000 odd tenants on Congested Districts Board estates, tenants who have a very much greater grievance on the score of delay than the 1923 Act tenants, tenants on whose behalf a certain case might be made for some special consideration. These tenants have been left out of consideration altogether in this amendment, just as they were left out of consideration in Deputy Derrig's abortive Land Bill of 1929. If it is proposed to give to the tenants coming under the Act of 1923 special treatment, because of the alleged delay which I deny, why does the Deputy leave out of consideration altogether the tenants on Congested District Board estates and the small number of tenants still to be vested under the Act of 1903?

There is another point. It would appear from the speeches from the Fianna Fáil benches that the landlord was entirely responsible for the delay in vesting. I think I made it abundantly clear yesterday that the vendor has certainly not gained and, as a matter of fact, vesting very frequently has been held up by objections on the part of the tenants. Vesting is frequently held up because a tenant is not satisfied with the parcel of turbary the Land Commission offers him, or because he is not satisfied with the portion of grazing the Land Commission is prepared to allow him, or with certain other arrangements which the Land Commission is making on his behalf. Vesting is often held up for these particular reasons, and I assume the Deputies will recognise in such cases that it would be grossly unfair to deduct any money from the vendors for the purpose of compensating tenants who themselves have delayed vesting for one reason or another. It is quite usual to come across a number of cases where tenants refuse, for one reason or another, to avail themselves of vesting because they allege the Land Commission is not treating them as fairly as they should.

Let us assume that the vendor has been paid his purchase money, less 10 per cent. of the guarantee deposit. That will not be deducted in every case. It will only be deducted when the Judicial Commissioner is satisfied that it is necessary to deduct it. The vendor has been paid his purchase money, and there may be a number of claims against it. There may be half a dozen or a dozen claimants and there may be other charges in respect of it. If this amendment were passed it would mean that the Land Commission would have to demand back from the vendors the difference between the payment in lieu of rent and the annuities in respect of the tenants on the estate. The vendor in return would have to make claims against the particular claimants who have received portion of the money paid out by the Judicial Commissioner. There may be a dozen claims in such cases, as there are all sorts of charges against purchase moneys which are, of course, adjusted by the Judicial Commissioner before the money is distributed. The vendor in order to recoup himself will probably have to follow some of these persons all over the world to get back from them that portion of the money to which he is entitled. The amendment, if passed, would give rise to all sorts of complications and would be absolutely unworkable, as well as inflicting serious hardship on many vendors who are not responsible for the delay in vesting. In many cases, as can be shown by the records, the delay is due entirely to the tenants themselves.

The Parliamentary Secretary has tried to get away from the amendment by pretending that it does not cover the whole ground. Whose fault is it if it does not do so? Certainly not ours, because the scope of the Bill as introduced was such as to preclude the widening of the amendment to meet these cases. The Parliamentary Secretary when introducing the Bill spoke as one obviously conscious that it was a great occasion. He made a long speech on the history of the Land Acts, declared that the coping stone was at last going to be set to all this long legislation, and, in fact, he moved Deputy Sheehy to a state of ecstasy over the work that was going to be completed. We have taken the Bill and have tried to make it a measure that would really remedy a crying injustice. The only reason why anyone should be glad of the introduction of the Bill is the fact that there is a clause in it which proposes to put an end to injustice, the injustice of compelling tenants to pay sums in excess of that which their neighbours were paying, not through any fault of their own, but simply due to the fact that the machinery set up here was so sluggish that it would take forty years to do work which was anticipated to be done in five.

We proposed in several amendments to do real justice, not merely to try to bring this vesting to a head by specifying a certain time within which it would have to be done, but to do justice by attempting to make restitution to those who have been mulcted in a sum of £269,000, as has been admitted. I indicated here, when dealing with the other amendment, consideration of which is postponed for the moment, that were we the majority Party we would deal with this on the grounds of justice, and we would apportion the gain as between the landlord and the State, and make good to those who had to lose this sum from the gains of those who had gained. It was pointed out by Deputy Aiken that the rules of the House prevented us from bringing in an amendment which would deal with the matter on those lines. Therefore, the only choice left to us is this, namely, whether we are to see these tenants continuing to suffer from this injustice or whether we are going to put a burden on the landlord. So far as we are concerned, we are determined that if we can prevent it the tenants will not suffer. If the majority Party think that the other party ought not to suffer, or that we are by this amendment inflitcing hardship, they can introduce a remedy which we are not in a position to introduce. That is their responsibility.

So far as we are concerned, we ask the House not to permit this injustice to be done to the tenant. The only way which private Deputies have of preventing that injustice is to vote for this amendment and then compel the Executive, if they want to safeguard the other party, to bring in an amendment of their own. We cannot do it ourselves. It is ridiculous in reference to a Bill of this kind to speak of it in the laudatory terms in which it has been referred to when it permits this injustice to continue. We are going into the Lobby in favour of the amendment. Even though this is not the sort of remedy which we ourselves would have introduced, the Parliamentary Secretary can bring in a remedy himself. As far as widening the scope of the Bill is concerned, our experience, after listening to the debate, is that there is need for Deputy Derrig or some other Deputy to bring in a further amending Bill.

Why did not the Deputy make his own Bill retrospective?

There was no date concerned in it.

There were two dates.

The Parliamentary Secretary need not try to get away on that. He knows very well that there is no incentive whatever to any private member to do any constructive work in this House, because the moment he attempts to do so and spends the amount of labour which he would have to spend on a detailed Land Bill, it is thrown out. If there was any indication given on any occasion that constructive work on this side of the House would be appreciated, or that it would mean something more than loss of time, the House would have got a good deal more constructive work from this side. No one wants to spend an amount of time and trouble on drafting such a measure as an amending Land Bill if it is going to be immediately thrown out because it does not suit people on the other side of the House, who always pretend that we are bringing in things here for political reasons. Politics have got so much into their own heads that they can see nothing but politics elsewhere, and when an honest attempt is made on this side of the House to do useful constructive work it is always found to be in vain. Here is an attempt on our side to do justice and to give Deputies an opportunity of remedying an injustice, but, instead of seeing what is the fairest way to do it, it is sought to put it aside on the futile pretence that we have not dealt with everyone who has to be dealt with. The Parliamentary Secretary could remedy that by making the Bill sufficiently wide at the start.

It is wide enough.

It is not wide enough. The rules of the House would not permit an amendment to cover all the matter.

They would not. The information we have got is that we could not bring in such an amendment. On the other side we have Deputy Mathews going back to the idea of repudiation of contracts. It was pointed out by Deputy Geoghegan that there was a provision in this Bill for things that were not contemplated under the original Act. If it is possible for the Parliamentary Secretary to recoup the Land Commission for their expenses, I see no reason why provision should not be made for recouping the tenant for sums which he has paid over and above what he should have paid. We ourselves are not satisfied that this is the best way of dealing with it, but we are determined that if an injustice is going to be done, it is not the tenant that will suffer for it.

It is agreed on all sides that there has been an injustice inflicted on tenants who have been paying interest in lieu of rent for the five years after the 1923 Act was passed. That injustice is so glaring that it has been referred to on many occasions in the editorial columns of the "Irish Independent," and I am sure that no Deputy could by the wildest stretch of imagination accuse that paper of being unfriendly to the Government or of trying to place it in an awkward position. Yet that journal has on divers occasions called attention to the great injustice caused to tenants owing to the delay in their vesting, that they have had to pay at least from 5 to 10 per cent. more than their neighbours whose land was vested, had to pay. I think that the Parliamentary Secretary in his speech was rather harsh on his own officials. He gave as a reason for the delay in vesting, the lack of experience of the officials of the Land Commission—the most extraordinary explanation that was ever given by any Parliamentary Secretary. Surely the Land Commission should have and has experience, but perhaps the real explanation of the delay can be found in the expenditure of £8,000 which is necessary for 16 or 18 additional inspectors to inspect these lands with a view to having them vested. Therefore, it seems to me that had the Parliamentary Secretary expended this £8,000 some four or five years ago, he would have saved the tenants the sum of £269,000.

In my opinion there has been no cogent reason put forward by the Parliamentary Secretary for the delay in the vesting of these lands. As I stated on Second Reading, if it was possible to introduce this Bill in 1931, it was equally possible to introduce it in 1927 or 1928. I think that the amendment is a reasonable one. It has been put forward in a very reasonable manner, and is one which should commend itself to the sympathy of everyone in the House. I agree with Deputy de Valera that if instead of treating with contempt everything that comes from the Opposition Benches, whether they be Fianna Fáil or Labour Benches, the Government met them in the proper spirit, much more progress would be made with Bills, and much more beneficial work would be done for the country.

It is agreed on all sides, even on the Government Benches, that this injustice does exist. Why not remove it? Why not try to make some retribution to the tenants who have been paying excessive rents? Everybody knows, judging by the position of the agricultural industry at present, that everything counts, whether in rent, overhead charges, or in local or national taxation. Anything saved in that way means something to the farming community. This in itself would mean a big thing. It would mean, as has been pointed out, five or ten per cent. I see nothing unreasonable in the amendment, and I think it is one to which the Government should give special sympathy. If necessary, it could arrange to deal with the whole position, and an agreed amendment for that purpose could be moved on the Report Stage.

Every Land Bill that was introduced created some sort of problem after it became an Act, but I think the Parliamentary Secretary has succeeded in creating a problem in this case before the Bill becomes an Act at all. This question of compensation for tenants who are not vested will become a serious problem. I think the Parliamentary Secretary has an opportunity now in this amendment, if he would only accept it, of settling this point. If should be to the interest of the Government as well as to the interest of the whole Dáil, when an opportunity occurs like this, to make every endeavour to bring the land problem of Ireland as quickly as possible to a solution. I think we are long enough discussing land problems. The Government, which started in 1923 with an Act which was in five years to solve the problem, should really attempt to make an effort to prevent such a serious problem as this arising by accepting the amendment. The Parliamentary Secretary left no doubts at all in our minds as to who gains in this case. The whole House is unanimous on the point that the unfortunate tenant has lost, but the Parliamentary Secretary was good enough to inform us that the landlord has certainly gained.

Of course the problem of getting after the landlord is, I know, a difficult one. The Parliamentary Secretary made great endeavours to prove that it would be almost an impossible one. At the same time I think that every Government has its responsibilities as far as equity is concerned, and there is a serious responsibility thrown on this Government. The sum is not a small one. It is a quarter of a million of money. A quarter of a million of money spread amongst farmers who are not vested is not to be considered of little importance. Some two years ago I asked a question of the Parliamentary Secretary on this point, and he told me that it was not possible to estimate what the losses were. It seems now quite evident that the losses are £269,000. At that time it was not possible. It can hardly be admitted that the Government did not know that this was going on. I do not see how they can justify themselves. I believe that if they do not take it in hands now that those tenants will compel them, or compel some future Government, to take it in hands.

The result of the whole thing is that instead of the Bill relieving or settling all the problems which the Parliamentary Secretary told us it would settle it is going, to a large extent, I think, to dissatisfy the farmers. No doubt they will get vested, and immediately on vesting they will have the satisfaction of this particular reduction. That is, however, for tenants of the future, and the tenants of the past will have a very serious grievance. I think it would be only justice if the Government would face up to that. If they could not agree to satisfy them by reimbursing them to the amount of £269,000 I do not see any reason why they should shirk the responsibility of satisfying them with some portion of the money. Some proportion of the money should go back to the tenants, because, through economic depression and world influences, they have been placed in a most unfortunate position. Different proposals are being put forward for their relief, so that no Deputy in this House can have any doubt in his mind but that there is great necessity to relieve them. I believe that, for the success of this Land Bill, the Parliamentary Secretary should consider this amendment. It will certainly give some portion of the money which they have lost to satisfy these farmers.

The Parliamentary Secretary, in speaking a few moments ago, referred disparagingly to the amendment, inasmuch as it did not include the wider range of tenancies in the earlier Land Acts, and also the tenancies in the congested districts area.

Could I infer from his reference that he would be inclined to consider an amendment if it included both these classes, or was the point made merely as an argumentative point and not intended to carry with it any suggestion of a practical sort?

Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary would answer that?

Acting Chairman

The Parliamentary Secretary is not obliged to answer a question in debate.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary even listen to a question?

If the Parliamentary Secretary does not answer, his suggestion was nothing more than a cheap point. I would like to remind the Parliamentary Secretary that some years ago in this House a very strong case was put forward as to why his Government should make amends to the tenants, who suffered a much more considerable loss through delay in vesting than the tenants we are dealing with now. To deal with the question would have meant the re-opening of the financial question between this country and England, as the delay in vesting in the earlier Land Act was due to the war. As a result of that, moneys that the British Government had contracted to set aside for the purpose of completing the land purchase were diverted to other purposes. His Government took no action to deal with these tenants, but the Parliamentary Secretary finds it a debating point to refer to them now and to have some regret and to have some doubt about the inequality of dealing with a section of tenants for whom we keep on legislating at present while leaving the major section neglected.

The Parliamentary Secretary said that the Bill was wide enough to include every section of tenants, and wide enough to include every interest of the tenants, notwithstanding the fact that a most important section dealing with the evicted tenants, when introduced by our Party, was ruled out by the Cheann Comhairle as not being within the ambit of the Bill. Dealing with the other section, those in the Congested District areas, I think the Parliamentary Secretary should be the last man to make reference to that section of the community. He is a representative of the Congested District areas, and he knows that the resources and funds left in the Congested District areas were robbed by his Government, and he knows, as Parliamentary Secretary responsible for this Bill, that he has introduced in this Bill a clause that robbed the Congested District areas of the last roost contained in them. Clearly the Parliamentary Secretary is not meeting this amendment in a fair way. His arguments are small points of debate. This is not a proposition that calls for debating qualities, but for administration of justice to a section of the community. We, on this side, have endeavoured to meet them by every step in our power by stating that vesting should be retrospective. We have had a proposition before for tenants who suffered more than those tenants.

Before the House votes on this, I would like to remind it again of the admission which the Parliamentary Secretary made at the beginning of the speech. He said if it had not been for the experience gained in 1923 it would not have been possible to bring in this Bill. I do not think that even Deputy Gorey would dissent from that, but what is the implication? The implication is, that for the past seven years the tenants have been paying 75 per cent. in lieu of rent because the Land Commission was not sufficiently experienced to deal with the problem of vesting. Now, who should pay for that inexperience? We contend that at any rate, it should not be the tenant. It has not been due to any fault of his. If fault there is it lies with the Land Commission upon the Parliamentary Secretary's own admission, and if it lies with the Land Commission then the State ought to bear that extra ten per cent. That is the principle that is at issue in this amendment. I do not know whether the Cumann na nGaedheal Party have given any consideration to it whatsoever. Judging by the number of members who are here in the House, I do not think they have. I do not know whether the Independment Farmers' Party has given it any consideration, but if they did give it a moment's consideration would they not have insisted on the Parliamentary Secretary accepting the principle of the amendment, and if the Bill is drawn in such a way that we could not make our amendments wide enough to cover every case could they not have insisted on a report stage that he would have put down an amendment which would be comprehensive? I suggest that no person can go into the Lobby, in view of the Parliamentary Secretary's own admission, and vote against this amendment without consciously doing a wrong to the tenant. That is the issue that is before the farmer, particularly in the Cumann na nGaedheal Party and that is the issue that will be put before the country.

There is no injustice to anybody. This has been conducted on a sort of plane which bears no relation to the facts. So far as I can understand the matter there has been no blame attributable to anybody. The tenant undoubtedly whose land was not vested had been paying 10 per cent. more than he would if it had been vested. It is not an injustice to the tenant that there were difficulties in the carrying out of the 1923 Act, which caused vesting to be delayed a little longer than had been hoped. There was no guarantee at any time that vesting in any particular estate would be completed by a particular date. The Land Commission is not to be blamed for not bringing in this earlier. What happens now is that as a result of work and experience it is found possible to devise a new scheme which will have the effect that the tenant will get his full 35 per cent. reduction from 1st May next instead of having to wait for a very considerable time longer, if this scheme had not been devised.

There is no reason at all why we should select some particular date and say we wanted retrospectively to give the tenants 35 per cent. reduction as from that date and that other people, who would have to meet their own charges and who find their own charges heavy enough, should have this burden thrust on them. The correct way to look at it is that the tenant had every reason to be satisfied when he got 25 per cent. reduction under the 1923 Act, a thing he would not have got under previous Acts. Now it is found possible to devise a method of amending the 1923 Land Act that will give him the whole 35 per cent. before the ordinary formalities have been carried through and the whole investigations have taken place that would ordinarily be required. There is no question of injustice. There is the ordinary hardship that often occurs inevitably in all sorts of human affairs. To suggest that because there are difficulties in this country which, as the Parliamentary Secretary has pointed out, are often due to the tenant that there is some moral obligation on the ordinary taxpayer to come to his rescue retrospectively seems to me to be fantastic. The obligation that is on the Government and on the State and the public generally is that which is being discharged by this Bill, and that is as soon as it was possible to devise a scheme that would overcome or get around the difficulties which prevented vesting under the 1923 Land Act, a scheme was devised to give the tenants the advantage of the 35 per cent. reduction from the beginning of May next. If this Bill is passed in sufficient time then I think the State has discharged all the liabilities the State can be expected to discharge.

There was injustice by which a tenant who was paying £100 before the passing of the 1923 Act afterwards, if vested, would be only paying £65, but who had to pay £75 during the intervening period as payment in lieu of rent. If you add to the £10 reduction roughly £3 10s. that went in sinking fund, that tenant who had been paying £100 rent before the Act of 1923 was passed lost about £13 10s. a year owing to the inefficiency of the Land Commission or whoever was responsible. Roughly, it amounted to one and a half year's annuity. When we consider that not alone is the tenant purchaser not getting any stay whatever from the Land Commission in respect of his annuity—that ultimately he has to pay all his annuities as they fall due, and furthermore, as a tax-paper has to pay the whole cost of the Land Commission, and that not a single penny is deducted for costs of collection, I think it will be seen that the tenant has been treated unjustly in two ways. In the first place, the deduction to which he was entitled if vested was wrongfully kept from him, and in the second place as a taxpayer he has been paying all the time for maintaining, as Deputy Geoghegan pointed out, an inefficient system. From the first day it was set up it had not in contemplation the new circumstances and did not set out to do the work in the way it should.

On the other hand the landlord about whom there has been so much talk has had a gain of about £7 5s. 3d. yearly as compared with what he will get when the land is vested and the purchase annuity fixed. Besides that, the landlord had his income guaranteed by the State. I would like to see any Deputies getting up and arguing that if this Act had not been passed, and if steps had not been taken by the State to finance land purchase, the landlord would have had any income at all. What is there to show that he would? Not only has the landlord's income been guaranteed but the arrears have been collected. Still the argument was put up that some injustice accrued owing to the fact that he did not get his land bonds. That was shown to be quite fallacious, because the land bonds have appreciated in value and are worth far more now than they were in 1923. Taking all the circumstances together, the landlord has not done badly. He has done very well. On top of that we have paid his legal costs and thrown in a ten per cent. bonus to complete the transaction. Where is the injustice to the landlords? Even if there was injustice —which has not been shown—that is no justification for the wrong that was done to the unvested tenants. A sum of six millions has been paid by them since 1923, but none of it has gone to redeem the purchase price.

As Deputy MacEntee pointed out, we are prepared to support the Parliamentary Secretary or the Minister for Finance if they accept the principle that there should be restitution. We are certainly prepared to extend it to tenants. As a matter of fact, Deputy Maguire was anxious to have an amendment to deal specifically with tenants who purchased under the 1903 Act, and whose cases he had often brought before the House, and who have been paying interest in lieu of rent for seventeen or eighteen years. We take it that a reasonable case can be made for those who have been wrongfully paying for at least five years, cutting out hard cases that we know of and which, it might be pointed out, were exceptional. We took the cases generally and tried to strike a fair average. If we erred we erred by being lenient for the State. We did not err in leniency towards the tenants. We could have gone back further even than the 1923 Act, and could have pointed out the cases of tenants who have been paying, perhaps, for a score of years, and not a single penny of the money has gone to redeem the purchase price.

As far as my information goes, the Minister for Finance was not correct when he said that under the 1923 Act tenants benefited by 25 per cent. of a reduction, and that that had not been the case previously. I understand that under previous Land Acts there was a reduction. That may not have been a statutory reduction, but it was a reduction as interest in lieu of rent, paid during the period before the tenant was vested. As I said yesterday, there was no new principle introduced in the 1923 Act. It was a continuation of the Acts of 1903, 1909, and 1920. I challenge anyone to say in what particular, except in this matter of the speeding up of vesting, this Bill is superior to the English measures. It is not; it is simply a continuation of the process. Deputy MacEntee has rightly called attention to the grotesque argument that we would not have this Bill at all only for the work and the experience of the Land Commission. The people who use that argument get up in this House and abuse the Fianna Fáil Party for the defects in their Bills or proposals, quite oblivious of the fact that the Fianna Fáil Party has no staff, no Land Commission, and no draughtsmen to prepare proposals. As Deputy de Valera said, we would be quite satisfied if the idea were, at least, accepted as a basis for discussion, but if the present state of affairs continues, and if any proposal from this side is automatically ruled out of court, and automatically regarded as a political move, I would like to know what is the use of an Opposition? This is one of the questions where we have honestly tried to improve matters, and I challenge anyone to show where, as far as the Land Commission generally or the Gaeltacht services are concerned, this Party is in any way to be criticised. We try generally to encourage the Land Commission, and we do not try to cut them down in any way. We try to encourage them, and where we feel they are doing a good thing we try to support them. I do not want to prolong the argument any further. The position is that we have got no guarantee whatever or any proposal from the Government to show that this question will even be considered by them. I think it is a nice state of affairs, when Deputies from their own benches have in fact supported the principle of the amendment and have spoken to it so favourably, that the Government have so little cognisance of them or of us or of the general position of the tenants that they are not even prepared to discuss the question and come back with some proposals to meet us at a later stage.

[An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.]

I have listened to a great part of this very long debate. It seems to me that two injustices in particular are being complained of by the Fianna Fáil Party. One is an injustice peculiar to themselves. It is that the Government do not pay sufficient attention to their amendments. Deputy Coburn seems to agree with them in that grievance and thinks it is a terrible injustice that their amendments——

Talk about the Land Bill.

Deputy MacEntee has already made two long and eloquent speeches on the Land Bill.

I cannot say as much for you—about the eloquence anyhow.

I will let the Deputy get up and make six more speeches if he likes.

They will be about the Bill.

They may or they may not.

There is no doubt in your case what it is about.

Two ways of remedying these Fianna Fáil injustices have been put forward, at least by implication. One is Deputy Coburn's suggestion, which is that all amendments of the Fianna Fáil Party to all Bills be automatically accepted by the Government. The other is Deputy Derrig's proposal, by implication, that the Fianna Fáil Party should be provided with a Civil Service, a Land Commission and a draftsman of its own——

The electorate will do that.

——in order to devote that intelligence and that capacity and earnestness to all the work of the Dáil which Deputy Derrig, I understand, said it had been able to devote only to a few Bills up to the present. These two suggestions are really to my mind worthy of the whole debate, because I should like to suggest that there is a third injustice involved in the whole matter, and that is the injustice to the public that we should sit for such a long time discussing what really amounts to one of the silliest amendments ever put forward. I always knew Fianna Fáil had a great opinion of the Minister for Agriculture, but I never thought they had such a terrific opinion of him that they would base, upon what amounts to an obiter dictum passed as far back as 1923, the statement that because that obiter dictum did not turn out to be true, therefore an injustice was being done to the tenants. That is really the Fianna Fáil case. The Minister for Agriculture in 1923 gave it as his opinion that it would probably take five years to complete the vesting of all the holdings in the occupiers.

Deputy Tierney did not believe it.

Deputy Tierney must be allowed to make his speech.

Eight years afterwards it is a terrible injustice to the tenants, according to Fianna Fáil, that the Minister for Agriculture did not prove right. We have a great opinion of the Minister ourselves, but we do not attach such superstitions reverence to his words as to make it a kind of legal injustice worthy of being remedied by an Act of Parliament that words which he happened to use— unfortunately he does not always use as many words as Deputy MacEntee— in the course of a long speech on a complicated Bill did not happen to turn out true in five years' time.

The real injustice would be if this amendment were accepted. The proposal is that an arbitrary date in the year 1928 shall be taken and that all tenants whose land was not vested in them at that period shall have repaid to them the difference between the interest in lieu of rent and the annuity from that period until now. That is the proposal. The date is based not on any legal enactment which would create justice or a notion of justice, or would create a real demand from what Deputy de Valera persists in calling restitution. It is not based on that. It is based on the obiter dictum of the Minister for Agriculture. I want to know what about the case which goes back just a little further in 1928. What about the tenant who was vested only just a month or so before this date? Why should one particular date be selected and all tenants on one side of that date get this advantage and all the tenants on the other side not get the advantage? The Deputies on the Fianna Fáil Benches can say what they please about the Land Commission. The fact is that in these particular cases no right whatever exists to this return or to this restitution, as Deputy de Valera calls it. It has happened by an accident, as it does happen in dozens of other Acts, that certain citizens, because their turn has not come, have had to pay a little more for a little longer than certain other citizens. That is all that has happened. It is proposed to select an arbitrary class out of that number of citizens chosen on a phrase used by the Minister for Agriculture, and to recoup these and to leave all the others alone. Deputy de Valera made a great grievance because the Parliamentary Secretary referred to Deputy Derrig's abortive Bill. Deputy Derrig introduced that Bill, and it was quite within his competence then to deal not only with all tenants who had this alleged grievance under the 1923 Act, but with all tenants who had grievances before that Act, and he did not do it.

Might I suggest to the Deputy to read Standing Order No. 102?

I have not got the Standing Orders, but I do not think it matters, I do not think that I am out of order at present.

I suggest that the Deputy should get it to see how much Deputy Derrig could or could not do.

I think the Deputy suggested that Deputy Derrig was held up by the rules of debate. These big strong rules of this House have a tremendously crippling effect on the vast intelligence of Fianna Fáil. They are tying their hands every moment. Deputy Aiken's grievance is not so big against the Ministry, which he hates so much, as against the very fact that there exists an institution here, and that that institution has rules, and that Deputies Aiken, Lemass and Derrig are not able to get round these rules in some way.

The Deputy knows nothing about them—as much as he knows about the Land Bill.

We have heard enough about these rules. I shall hear the Deputy on the Land Bill.

I suggest that real injustice would be done if this amendment was carried, whereby a small number of arbitrarily-selected tenants would get benefits from some source. There again Deputy Derrig, says that the tenant has been paying for the Land Commission, and that it is a terrific injustice to make him pay the Land Commission because it is so inefficient. I say that it would be equally an injustice to make the tenant pay under this amendment for what Deputy Derrig terms the inefficiency of the Land Commission, because that apparently is what the amendment means. Either the landlord will pay this sum or the State will pay. If the State pays it, it will have to be paid again by the tenant farmer, with whom Deputy Derrig is so sympathetic, because he has been paying for the inefficient Land Commission for a number of years. The whole amendment seems to me to be really nothing short of a fatuous one, and if carried would do far more injustice than the injustice it purports to remove.

The Minister for Finance has told us that there is no blame attaching to anybody. One specific sum of £269,000 is covered by a neglect or a defect, and no blame is attaching to anyone? In other words the existence of the Cumann na nGaedhael Government during that particular time was a visitation of God. That seems to be the whole argument. Due to the experience and work—that is the phrase—recently, apparently of the Land Commission they have now succeeded in being able to device something which during the lapsed period of the visitation of God they were unable to do. What has been the experience and what has been the work that so stimulated the grey matter in our Government of duds, that they can at a specific moment, at a critical and psychological moment, deliver the goods which they could not deliver before? What has been the experience, what stimulated them? What got them going? Then we have been told that this Bill, the only good part of which is the Derrig clause, is not to be compared to the abortive Bill of Deputy Derrig. Abortion is of two kinds—natural and artificial, and Deputy Derrig's Bill was abortive. The core, centre and purpose were all in that Bill, but the grey matter of the Land Commission, and the grey matter of the visitation of God was not stimulated by the imminent presence of a general election. I believe that general elections are good if we had enough of them. If we had to submit to a continuance of this Government, I would have a general election every week in the hope that its grey matter would be stimulated into the delivery of the goods, into getting the experience of doing work which, unless and until they have that selfish stimulation, they will not do and never have done.

The Minister for Finance told us how horrified he was at the suggestion of retrospectively dealing with these matters. Now the Minister for Finance complaining of retrospective legislation is a case of Satan rebuking sin. It has been what the Government has lived on. I have warned this House in relation to a specific clause of the Finance Bill that was retrospective, that under the same principle of that Bill, every contract of every sort and kind which has been entered into in this State, either between the State itself and individuals, or individuals in the State was at risk. That did not worry the Minister for Finance. It is only when retrospective legislation interferes with his particular policy at a particular moment that he has any objection to it.

There is retrospective provision already in the Bill. The date concerned is already to be retrospectively arranged. What difference is there in principle? There is an old saying, and it is a legal saying, that every wrong has a remedy. There has been a wrong in this case, and the mere fact that this Ministry have not wakened up to it until a general election was on their heels does not alter the fact that there was a wrong. Are they going to remedy it or not? That is a simple question. Right through this debate, and I have listened to a great deal of it, when amendments have been put forward, the Parliamentary Secretary has got up and made his prepared speechette —a little thing written down for him, and which frankly he read with amazing ingenuity. He sometimes deceived even me. The prepared asides even had been marked on the wide margin, but when he was faced by discussion and detailed knowledge of the matter that he was supposed to discuss, he got up and mumbled like Deputy Law did. He has not been able to meet reasoned detailed discussion upon this Bill. He has been able to deliver the little excellently prepared speeches, and I want to bear tribute to those who prepared them, but he was hopeless afterwards.

And why? Because he got his orders; because the Land Commission, which has had experience of having injected into this House a body of people representing opinion which is determined to have things done; because the Land Commission, which has got its notice to get on or get out, has naturally given him just that amount of rope. He is not allowed to go any further. Therefore, there is no blame attaching to anybody. There is certainly no blame attaching to any member on that Bench of duds, not a demi-semi quaver to a Minister upon that Bench of duds as long as they have behind them a body which will let them be treated as the office boys of their departments instead of Ministers of this House.

If this 1923 Act had been a voluntary measure there would have been some ground for the statement of the Minister for Finance. It was not a voluntary measure. It was a measure forced upon the tenants of the Free State at the bidding apparently of a certain number of landlords whose votes were necessary to turn the scale.

I would remind the Deputy that we are discussing amendment 46. This is not a second stage Debate. We are on amendment 46.

The position is that the tenants were forced into this agreement. They were told at that time that in five years they would get the extra ten per cent. reduction. That contract is just as binding as any contract made with the landlords. In a House like this we ought at least to pay as much attention to the position of the tenants as to the position of the landlords in every case. That is the whole situation we have to deal with— whether it is the tenants' interests or the landlords' interests are to be considered here. It has been admitted by the Parliamentary Secretary that it has been taken out of the pockets of the tenants. It is not a matter for us to consider who has got this £269,000, whether it has gone to the Land Commission for the collection of the rents or the interest in lieu of rent or whether it has gone into the pockets of the Minister for Finance in the shape of income Tax or whether it has gone into the pockets of the landlord. The position we are faced with is that this money has gone out of the pockets of the tenants and it is our duty to see that the money is reinstated there. When I was last speaking on this matter I made a statement in regard to the amendment which had been moved in this House by Deputy Gorey.

On the previous Act, the 1923 Act which this Bill is amending.

The Deputy will please deal with the amendment.

That statement made by me has been denied. If that statement is wrong I am prepared to withdraw it, but if it is right I will prove it.

The Deputy must not go into that now.

Here is an amendment moved to the Land Act of 1923: "For the purpose of this part of the Act and of the Schedules attached to the Act, rent, whether on a judicial holding or otherwise, shall be understood to mean any abated rent accepted by a landlord for a period of at least five years previous to the first gale day of the year 1921."

That is from Volume 4 of the Official Debates, page 1015. It is an amendment proposed by Deputy Gorey in the Dáil. At that time Mr. Hogan, the present Minister for Agriculture, had charge of the Bill, and his reply to this amendment was that Deputy Gorey's amendment would rule out hundreds of genuine cases. He did not accept it. Deputy Gorey withdrew the amendment, and the amendment proposed by Deputy Hennessy was accepted. Apparently owing to this, and acting on the knowledge that here in this House there had been in existence a Party led by Deputy Gorey who were prepared to ignore the tenants' claims to get abated rents recognised from 1915 onwards these men are at the present day unfortunately paying ten per cent. rent more than they were paying in 1923. The Minister for Agriculture cannot see any injustice in this. Can he see any injustice in the fact that the 1923 Land Act in several of these cases increased the rents by ten per cent., and that these tenants had since been paying ten per cent. increase on their own rents prior to 1923, and that no provision is made in this Bill to meet their case or to remedy that injustice? This Bill has been described as a Bill which is to put the coping stone on all Land Bills. But there is no remedy whatever for this injustice in this great Bill. We had here a definite denial from Deputy Gorey. Does the Deputy still persist in that denial in the face of his own amendment that I have just read?

Certainly; that amendment introduced and got accepted what was never in a previous Land Act. The abated rent would have to be the basis of purchase.

That amendment has been finished with. Deputy Corry will have to deal with the amendment we are now discussing or discontinue his speech.

I am quite satisfied to leave the issue of that amendment stand now. I hope to have an opportunity of dealing with it again next week when we will be introducing a new Land Bill, a Bill to deal with the deficiencies in this Land Bill. This is the best that can be offered to the tenants when we have the Minister for Finance and the Parliamentary Secretary for Lands telling us here baldly that we have collected £269,000 through the Land Commission from the unfortunate tenants.

The Ministers have done worse than that. In 1923 they brought in a compulsory Land Bill which increased the rents of the tenants by ten per cent. Even when that injustice had been pointed out—and it was pointed out repeatedly time and again from 1927 onwards—the Parliamentary Secretary did not propose one single section in this coping stone of all Land Bills, to rectify the injustice. Why, if this is the coping stone of all Land Bills, should we have this special vesting section? A man at present paying £9 a year rent will find that the moment this vesting section will be in operation he will pay, not £9 a year but £13. That is the sort of Bill the Parliamentary Secretary has brought in here to show the ignorant Deputies what his Land Bill really is. Deputy Hennessy introduced an amendment here, and we had a statement here yesterday from the Parliamentary Secretary in which he alluded to agile lawyers. Is Deputy Hennessy now satisfied with the portion of his amendment which hands these things over to the Judicial Commissioner? The Parliamentary Secretary refers to agile lawyers. What about wily judges?

I want to tell Deputy Corry that he will have to keep strictly to order. The Deputy has been trying to abuse the privileges of the House.

I just wish in conclusion to ask Deputies opposite to stand by the unfortunate tenants who have admittedly been robbed of this money. So far as their contracts are concerned, the contracts bound the Land Commission or the Minister who introduced the Bill or the Executive Council who are responsible for its introduction—

I must ask the Deputy to resume his seat.

The object of this amendment is to give the Government an opportunity of whitewashing itself, an opportunity of fulfilling and realising the promise made in 1923. One would have imagined that the present President, with his nimble wits and sense of politics, would have jumped at this amendment and accepted it because it gave him the opportunity of fulfilling that promise made in 1923, that the vesting of lands would be completed in five years. Instead of that, we find that he and his colleagues are putting up all sorts of subterfuges for not accepting that amendment. We have the subterfuge, first of all, on a point of order, that we could not deal with the thing because it involves a question of public finance, thereby clearly writing it down that the Government is not going to budge in this matter, and not going to take any step to facilitate the carrying out of this amendment. We have all sorts of amazing reasons given for the non-acceptance of this amendment by the Parliamentary Secretary. One of those was that the landlord would have to follow various persons who had received portions of the land bonds or the money which they had received on payment of the land bonds, a reason and excuse which, on the face of it, is absurd when we consider the nature of this section, because in this we are dealing purely with estates which have not yet been vested and, therefore, with bonds which have not yet been given to the landlord. He said that we did not deal with tenants in congested areas. We could not deal with them under this section except in the most strictly limited way within the terms of reference set out in the Title of the Bill.

It is a pathetic thing to find the Parliamentary Secretary using as a means of protecting himself against our arguments a Land Bill introduced from this side of the House. It is the precedent he goes on, the standard of his judgement now, the Bill which he repudiated some time ago. He does not seem to have realised that if he had allowed the Second Reading of that Bill to have taken place he could have brought in amendments in the Committee Stage implementing the principle in the Bill. It was a matter for further discussion, but he puts the blame on us for not having completed the thing when he himself was a party to throwing out the Bill before it could be properly considered in detail.

Some of the Deputies upon the Government Benches, however well intentioned they may be, are doing their own Party a great injury. I think it is unconscious on their part. They suffer from what one might call the landlord complex. They know this landlord and that landlord who were decent fellows, and they do not see why after all landlords should not get the benefit of £269,000. After all, what is it? It is only a fleabite if you like, a small thing, which does not matter, but they are bringing their own Party into grave disrepute by taking that line of conduct. How many of the Deputies on the other side depend for their votes upon the small farmers of Ireland? How far does the Government itself depend for its existence upon the farmers of Ireland? Remember it was at a very crucial period in her history that they introduced the Land Bill in 1923. The Government had at that time come through a very terrible period of crisis in the country. They were looking about for something by which they could placate the people and hold on to power, and the most effective measure for holding the Irish people, they knew from experience, was a Land Bill which would complete land purchase. The promise which the then Minister for Lands, who is now Minister for Agriculture, made was a very vital part in the contract between the Government and the people, because the people would not have sustained them in power if they had not received that promise from the Government, that the Land Commission was going to be very speedily settled. And what are we doing? We are merely trying to fulfil and realise a promise made by our enemies to the people. What hardships are the landlords suffering by this amendment? They have gained, if you like, by a windfall. It may not have been their fault that land purchase has not been completed, though probably in a great many cases it was delay on their part in supplying particulars and so on that delayed the vesting of estates. But in no case, let us suppose, they were to blame for it. It was for them a windfall that they received over the last four or five years payment in lieu of rent instead of receiving their land bonds. What grievance have they got if that which was really a windfall should be returned to the people from whom it was taken and people living in a condition of poverty to whom a pound would mean for more than £100 would have meant to the landlord? As Deputy MacEntee has already pointed out, it was an immense boon to the landlords, over a period when the country was so disturbed, that their rents should have been collected for them and collected almost free of cost.

They paid the full cost of collection.

Of course they paid. It is deducted from their rent.

The Deputy suggests that they only paid part of it. They paid the full cost.

I know, but the landlords know very well that they could not have collected their rents at the same cost at which they were collected in that disturbed period. As Lord Birkenhead said in the House of Lords in 1923, the English landlords would have been very glad to have 70 per cent of their gross rental collected on the same basis as the Irish Land Act provided for. Then again, by windfall, the landlords are getting their bonds now at a premium. Surely those who are representing the interests of the landlords in this House are overstating the case. They are blackening the characters of the landlords much in the same way as the old land agents did with the old landlords long ago. They are going beyond the limit that any decent minded landlord himself would go. But, unfortunately, this House is controlled by a Party which is tied, bound and spancelled, by a certain section of the landlord influence in this country. They have to look to those interests for their funds in fighting the Irish people. They have to look for their support in keeping out the terrible Fianna Fáil Party. The struggle in Ireland is becoming clearer and clearer every day, and nothing has cleared up the situation better than the way in which the Government stood pat against this amendment, because it is becoming clearer that they are bound by those who supply money to their funds, and that they cannot depart by one iota from what they think the landlords are demanding from them.

Question put. The Committee divided: Tá, 55; Níl, 71.

Aiken, Frank.Allen, Denis.Anthony, Richard.Blaney, Neal.Boland, Gerald.Boland, Patrick.Bourke, Daniel.Brady, Seán.Briscoe, Robert.Broderick, Henry.Buckley, Daniel.Carney, Frank.Carty, Frank.Clancy, Patrick.Clery, Michael.Coburn, James.Colbert, James.Colohan, Hugh.Corkery, Dan.Corish, Richard.Corry, Martin John.Crowley, Fred. Hugh.Crowley, Tadhg.Davin, William.Derrig, Thomas.De Valera, Eamon.Everett, James.Fahy, Frank.

Flinn, Hugo.Fogarty, Andrew.Geoghegan, James.Gorry, Patrick J.Goulding, John.Hogan, Patrick (Clare).Houlihan, Patrick.Jordan, Stephen.Kennedy, Michael Joseph.Kent, William R.Killilea, Mark.Kilroy, Michael.Lemass, Seán F.Little, Patrick John.Maguire, Ben.McEllistrim, Thomas.MacEntee, Seán.Moore, Séamus.O'Connell, Thomas J.O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.O'Reilly, Matthew.Ruttledge, Patrick J.Ryan, James.Sexton, Martin.Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).Smith, Patrick.Walsh, Richard.


Aird, William P.Alton, Ernest Henry.Beckett, James Walter.Bennett, George Cecil.Blythe, Ernest.Bourke, Séamus A.Brennan, Michael.Brodrick, Seán. Crowley, James.Daly, John.Davis, Michael.Doherty, Eugene.Dolan, James N.Doyle, Peadar Seán.Duggan, Edmund John.Dwyer, James.Egan, Barry M.Finlay, Thomas A.Fitzgerald, Desmond.Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.Good, John.Gorey, Denis J.Haslett, Alexander.Hassett, John J.Heffernan, Michael R.Hennessy, Michael Joseph.Hennessy, Thomas.Henry, Mark.Jordan, Michael.Kelly, Patrick Michael.Keogh, Myles.Law, Hugh Alexander.Leonard, Patrick.Lynch, Finian.Mathews, Arthur Patrick.McDonogh, Martin.

Byrne, John Joseph.Carey, Edmund.Cole, John James.Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.Conlon, Martin.Connolly, Michael P.Cosgrave, William T.Craig, Sir James. McFadden, Michael Og.McGilligan, Patrick.Mongan, Joseph W.Mulcahy, Richard.Murphy, James E.Murphy, Joseph Xavier.Myles, James Sproule.Nally, Martin Michael.Nolan, John Thomas.O'Connell, Richard.O'Connor, Bartholomew.O'Hanlon, John F.O'Higgins, Thomas.O'Leary, Daniel.O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.O'Reilly, John J.O'Sullivan, John Marcus.Reynolds, Patrick.Rice, Vincent.Roddy, Martin.Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork)Thrift, William Edward.Tierney, Michael.Vaughan, Daniel.White, John.White, Vincent Joseph.Wolfe, George.

Tellers:—Tá, Deputies G. Boland and Allen; Níl, Deputies Duggan and P. Doyle.
Question—"That Section 20, as amended, stand part of the Bill"— put and agreed to.
Question—"That Sections 21 and 22 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
(1) The Land Commission may from time to time publish lists (in this Act referred to as lists of holdings on untenanted land) of holdings on untenanted land vested in the Land Commission otherwise than by transfer from the late Congested Districts Board or by purchase under powers transferred from that Board.
(2) Every list of holdings on untenanted land shall specify separately every holding comprised therein and shall state in respect of every such holding the name of the person appearing to the Land Commission to be the tenant thereof, the amount of the purchase annuity subject to which the Land Commission is prepared to sell such holding, and such other matters (if any) as the Land Commission shall in any particular case consider to be necessary or desirable.

I move:—

In sub-section (2), after the word "any" in line 23 to insert the words "including the fishing, sporting or other such rights appurtenant to such holding."

This amendment is put down to get information as to the position of sporting, fishing and other rights. Are the particulars of the rights appurtenant to these holdings to be included in the lists, or what is the position exactly? The particular matter in which we are interested, as well as the sporting and the fishing rights, is the question of mountain grazing. In the West of Ireland, I understand, there are large tracts of land where the landlord has got a lease for sporting purposes and the tenants consider that this is a deprivation and that an arrangement should be made to transfer these rights to them through local trustees. It is a matter with which I am not very conversant, and I put down this amendment in order to elicit information from the Parliamentary Secretary as to what exactly is the position in regard to fishing, sporting and grazing rights.

The amendment as it is drafted would give to the allottees of untenanted land which has been sold the fishing, sporting, or other such rights appurtenant to such holdings. If this amendment were accepted it would deprive the Land Commission of any discretion whatsoever in regard to the disposal of these rights. In some cases these rights have not been acquired by the Land Commission at all. For instance, if the Land Commission is acquiring an estate under the Act of 1923, the Land Commission may not consider it advisable to acquire the sporting rights for the reason that their acquisition would cost the State too much, and if they acquired these rights they could not expect to re-sell to the tenants at an economic annuity. This amendment deals entirely with untenanted land. There is another point, that the word "appurtenant" is really a difficult word to interpret. A fishing right cannot be interpreted as appurtenant to a holding. A fishing right may be appurtenant to an estate or to three or four different estates, but you cannot say that a fishing right is appurtenant to a particular parcel of land given to a tenant on a particular estate. It is a matter entirely for the discretion of the Land Commission to dispose of the sporting rights in what they consider to be the best interests of the State.

What is the objection to the Land Commission dealing with local trustees on behalf of the tenants for these rights?

None at all. As a matter of fact they have no objection. The Land Commission dispose of these rights in various ways. There is no fixed rule or fixed method of disposing of the sporting rights. The Land Commission try to preserve them as far as possible and use them in the interests of the State. In some cases they let them to people for a season, or they may lease them for two, three, four, or five years at a certain figure. The money realised goes into the Land Commission exchequer.

The Parliamentary Secretary has really touched on what is the kernel of the amendment—the fact that there is no fixed rule which regulates the procedure of the Land Commission in relation to the rights once they have been acquired by the Land Commission. I am not very familiar with the question, but I do believe that the matter has been brought to my notice by people in the West of Ireland. I have noticed Deputies putting down questions in this House from time to time relating to the manner in which these rights have been disposed of by the Land Commission, and I believe sometimes that has been the occasion of a good deal of ill-feeling and dissatisfaction in particular localities. We think that it would be to the advantage of the Land Commission, and certainly to the advantage of the tenants, that these fishing and sporting rights should be disposed of in some pre-determined way, and that possibly the best way would be to vest them. Where they do exist and are taken over with the estate they should be vested in trustees for the benefit of the estate as a whole. It has been ascertained on one or two occasions as a result of a question put down in the House that the rights in some cases have been let to officials even in the Land Commission or ex-officials. I do not want the thing carried too far, but in connection with intimate personal friends of officials I remember Deputy Boland raising questions here of sporting rights on two estates.

That sporting letting was not made by the Land Commission. It was acquired from a private individual.

Was not the case that in some indirect way the Land Commission came into the negotiations?

I thought that the question was that these officials by virtue of their official position had been able to get those rights on particularly favourable terms and that there was intense dissatisfaction in the district.

I recollect the case perfectly well. The Land Commission did not make that letting at all. The sporting rights belonged to a private individual. There was a certain misunderstanding about the whole question, and I think that if Deputy Boland had understood the position properly he would not have asked the question; at least the Deputy confessed that to me in a conversation afterwards. The Land Commission have taken over the sporting lettings on wide tracts of mountains, and in disposing of these rights the Land Commission must be given a wide discretion.

Sometimes the sporting rights will be of no value after a few years, because the tenants will not conserve these rights and it will be impossible to make any fixed rule with regard to them. We must leave it to the Land Commission to dispose of these rights in the best interests of the State. We are disposing of them to make the highest revenue we can of the lettings. At the moment there is a very keen demand for them and we are realising a very substantial revenue as a result. They are advertised extensively on this side and the other side, in the sporting papers.

Take the mountains, say in Kerry, where the tenants would claim that they had rough grazing. What would be the position if the landlord had sporting rights on the same land? Would the fact that the landlord preserved his sporting rights deprive tenants of the grazing rights?

Not necessarily. I assume the Deputy is referring to the sporting rights purchased by the late Congested Districts Board. We ourselves are the landlords. We are responsible for the letting of these sporting rights, and as I told the Deputy we always let these sporting rights to the best possible advantage. These lettings do not interfere with the grazing lettings in any way.

Are there any sporting or fishing rights at present in the possession of the landlords?

Yes. In some cases the Congested Districts Board re-sold sporting and fishing rights to the landlords.

The big principle is under what form can the sporting and fishing rights be developed. There are three aspects of the case. Where the population is thick in the country, on tenanted land, say, or untenanted land divided up, you cannot have sporting rights without the co-operation of the people living on the land. At the same time I realise that it is very hard to get a combination of tenants that would make it effective with regard to the preservation or propagation. I had hoped that the new Bill drafted last year which, incidentally, was badly managed in the Ministry of Justice, would have been of some assistance. I also thought the Land Commission asked power to clear all the interests of the landlord with regard to sporting and fishing rights. I thought they were accepted under the 1929 Bill.

The Deputy should know that under the Act of 1903 where there was a voluntary sale between the landlord and the tenants in the majority of cases the tenants allowed the landlord to retain the sporting and fishing rights.

I thought we passed a Bill giving you power to purchase.

No. I only took power to purchase certain ancillary fishing rights to enable an entire fishery to be preserved as an entity.

That is if certain fishing rights fell into the hands of the Land Commission under the 1923 Act they would have the right to buy out the ancillary rights.

Under the 1923 Act sporting rights are all transferred to the tenants, and considerable use has been made of the privilege, because all over the country game has increased immensely since it became the property of the tenants. Certainly hares have—winged game has not—but you will never get sporting rights in the country unless you have the co-operation of the people living there.

A case is at present being investigated by the Land Commission with a view to vesting where the landlord had returned 1,262 acres of untenanted land. The tenants deny that the land is untenanted; they claim that it has always been part of their individual holdings. The question at issue concerns the sporting rights. If the claim of the landlord is admitted the tenants believe that they will be deprived of the sporting rights, and they are determined that they will not lose these rights. As far as I know, the Land Commission cannot give an opinion on the matter. I think the Land Commission stated that the matter would have to go before Mr. Justice Wylie. How will such cases be affected by this Bill?

I would want to know something more about the history of this case before I could answer that question. If the Deputy wishes I will discuss the case with him privately.

There are other cases where tenants refused to purchase fishing rights because they were not handed over to them by the landlord under the 1903 Act. These tenants are now being compelled to purchase the fishing rights under the 1923 Act. A body of tenants purchased in 1906, but other tenants refused to purchase, and continued to pay rent up to 1923. They find now under the compulsory landlord Bill of 1923 that the fishing rights are handed over to the landlord.

They are not.

The tenants have to pay for the bed of the river, which is measured on the acreage of their land. The case was tried in the High Court.

There is not a word in this Bill about the fishing rights.

A Judge in the High Court held that the fishing rights remained with the landlord, but that the tenant had a claim on the bed of the river. Which is right? We want to see these things rectified in this coping-stone of all Land Bills which is to be the final word on land purchase. Surely when putting the finishing touches to it land purchase cases of definite injustice to tenants should be dealt with. Deputations have been with the Parliamentary Secretary and with the Minister in regard to these matters, but they are not rectified. Now, when we expect that they would be rectified we find that they are not. We want to know why. These tenants came to Dublin at their own expense to interview the Minister for Fisheries about the matter. After fighting the landlord from 1906 to 1923 they find that they are compelled under this landlords' Bill.

As a matter of fact, the Act of 1929 was introduced largely to meet the grievances of tenants in which Deputy Corry is interested.

I would like to know from the Parliamentary Secretary if we could have the cases of riparian owners in Wexford dealt with under this Bill. Originally they had equal rights to the fishing with the landlord. Since the passing of the 1923 Land Act their claim has been contested by the landlord. The land is not yet vested. I would like if something could be inserted in this Bill to define the rights of these riparian owners, from whom we have had complaints. When the Act of 1929 was going through it was stated by the Minister for Fisheries or the Parliamentary Secretary that a certain section would define their rights. No section has been found to do so. The landlord contests their rights, and one of the riparian owners was imprisoned. It is hard on the riparian owners, who pay rent and rates, not to have the right to fish on the river. The Land Act of 1923 vested the fishing rights in the Land Commission, and in the Act of 1929 power was taken to give back the fishing rights to the landlord. The tenants' rights were not safeguarded.

It seems to me that it is only a matter of defining the tenants' rights. Surely that is a matter for a statutory tribunal like the Land Commission. It seems to me that there are ample tribunals to deal with the question.

There was a right prior to the 1923 Act?

And it was never contested.

It was just an arrangement between the landlord and tenants.

The tenants had the right to fish in the river, but since the passing of the 1923 Act the landlord has contested that right and has prosecuted them.

In many cases since the passing of the 1923 Act the landlords in certain cases did vest the fishing rights in the riparian owners. Normally speaking, from the official and we would be against splitting up a river amongst riparian owners because of the fact that it would ruin the fishing in the area, unless you had a cooperative association of riparian owners to use the river as a whole. If, for instance, you had A., B., C. and D. along the banks of a river, the person nearest the mouth would fish as far as he could, leaving nothing for the man above him, and so on. As you went higher up the river the riparian rights would not be worth the paper they were written on. Normally speaking, it would be better for the Land Commission to conserve the rights pending the establishment of a co-operative association which the tenants might get up amongst themselves to set the river. Take a case where a man has purchased his holding under a former Land Act and got the fishing rights. B., his next-door neighbour, has also purchased, but the fishing rights on his land have been reserved for the landlord, while C. has the same rights as A. The case of B. comes under the 1923 Act and the fishing rights would vest in the Land Commission. The Land Commission would then vest them back to B., because they would be useless to the Land Commission, and they would trust to Heaven for some arrangement amongst the riparian owners not to ruin the river.

I am referring to the Slaney, on which the fishing is so valuable that last year it brought in £5,000 a mile. Certain tenants there have complained time after time that their right to fish was not contested until after the passing of the 1923 Act. Since then they have been prosecuted, some being fined and some imprisoned. Can anything be done to define their rights now? There appears to be no law to show that they have the same rights as the landlord.

The case I mentioned is one where the landlord sold an estate which is bordering on the river to the tenants. One tenant refused to purchase when he did not get the fishing rights. The quarrel went on from 1906 to 1923, when the Government stepped in and compelled the tenant to purchase. At that time the landlord began to set the river each year, although the tenant is paying for the river and also for part of the land that is flooded for part of the year. In this case I think the Minister was furnished with photographs showing three-fourths of the farm under water. The Parliamentary Secretary has so many cases to deal with that he has probably forgotten this one. I want to know why provision is not made in this coping-stone of all Land Bills for dealing with cases of this kind. Why have they not finished with the landlords for good? Why should the tenant pay rent for land over which the river flows? Why should he be paying rent for it while the landlord has the fishing rights? He is not alone paying the landlord for the land, but the landlord is selling the fish. Why should a tenant have to pay on the double? That is something that should be dealt with on the Report Stage if the usage of this House will allow it. It is a case in which we should have a definite statement from the Minister. Why should a tenant have to pay extra from 1906, after fighting the case with the landlord, until 1923, and then have a home Government come in and cut his throat, so to speak?

The amendment only deals with untenanted land, and this discussion relates to tenanted land and land vested under all the previous Land Acts.

It is only right that the sporting and fishing rights should, as far as possible, be transferred to the tenants. Very often grave injustice is done by allowing the sporting rights to remain in the hands of the former owner. I have in mind vast stretches of rough mountain land, to which turbary is attached, that has been used perhaps fairly usefully in the matter of game in the past, when the landlord resided in the district and maintained a staff on the bogs in the form of gamekeepers to protect the property. After the sale of the property, however, the landlord in many cases left the district, with the result that while he retains the sporting rights they are of no value to him. There is practically no letting value attaching to them. The game has been left unprotected, and there is very little left. What I have found is that a few unscrupulous people in the locality took over the game rights for a nominal sum and very often set fire to the heather.

That is outside the scope of the amendment. The Land Commission have no control over it. The sporting rights do not belong to the Land Commission.

This section asks for power to include them.

I am afraid some Deputies have not read this amendment. Deputy Corry certainly must not have read it, because he did not address himself to it.

This section says that the Land Commission may from time to time publish lists (in this Act referred to as lists of holdings on untenanted land) of holdings on untenanted lands vested in the Land Commission otherwise than by transfer from the late Congested Districts Board or by purchase under powers transferred from that Board. That would refer to untenanted land.

We are discussing amendment 49 (a) to sub-section (2). We are not on the section at present. The Deputy could perhaps make his point on the section.

I think this amendment would include what I have in mind, if you allow me to make the case. It is intended to deal with the inclusion of sporting rights and the vesting of them with the untenanted land.

If the Deputy will read sub-section (2) and also the amendment he will see that the amendment only deals with what is specified in the list.

See line 23.

The amendment deals only with what is specified in the list under sub-section (2).

Including fishing, sporting, or other such rights, which might be grazing rights.

Is that not included?

I shall hear the Deputy on the amendment.

I am anxious to give Deputies as much information as possible, but this is an amendment to a section which deals with the publication of the lists of holdings of untenanted land; in other words, land acquired under the Act of 1923. I have listened very carefully to the Deputy's statement, and he is obviously dealing with a sale under the Act of 1903 where the tenants allowed the landlord to retain all the sporting rights.

I am referring to sporting rights retained by the owner or landlord where an estate has been sold.

He has the sporting rights, because the tenants left him the sporting rights, as they did in the majority of these sales. It has nothing to do with the section.

I hold that the amendment will deal with the class of property I am referring to.

Will the Deputy connect that case with the Land Commission? Will he point out where the Land Commission comes into that case?

I hold that if this amendment is accepted the Land Commission will have power to acquire this property and the sporting rights in the same way as they had power to take over the land.

This deals only with untenanted land. The Deputy should read sub-section (2).

And also the amendment.

This has no relation to the case quoted by the Deputy.

If the amendment is accepted, I hold that it will include the right of the Land Commission to take over this property.

As a matter of fact, Deputy Derrig did not ask me to accept the amendment. He simply put it down to get an explanation as to the policy of the Land Commission with regard to the sale of sporting and fishing rights on untenanted land.

Might I ask would the amendment help to prevent the recurrence in future of a case such as that mentioned by Deputy Maguire?

No. The amendment only relates to untenanted land, in other words, land acquired under the Act of 1923. The case cited was evidently the case of an estate sold under the Act of 1903. It was obviously an agreed sale between the tenants and the landlord, and the tenants evidently agreed to allow the landlord to retain the sporting and fishing rights.

That is a different case, but is it clear now that if untenanted land is being scheduled and acquired by the Land Commission they will include particulars of the sporting rights?

Yes. The sporting rights vest.

In all cases of untenanted land?

Except in the case of the voluntary purchase of untenanted land. It may be that in certain cases the Land Commission, as I explained earlier, because of the very high price which they might have to pay for the rights, do not deem it advisable to acquire them.

I think the Parliamentary Secretary said that in certain cases the Land Commission do not consider it good business to acquire the sporting rights.

At the present time have they in their returns particulars of these sporting rights?

And other incorporeal rights, such as grazing?

I think in regard to sporting rights on rivers, unless fairly long stretches on both sides are under one common control, not much good can be obtained. If there are a lot of different riparian owners, as there are in the upper portions of the Liffey, the fishing amounts to practically nothing, because while one man likes to conserve, his neighbour does not, and you find a hopeless state of affairs for the most part. I think where there is such a variety of ownership and no control, there is nothing for it but for the Land Commission to take over control of the river if the fishing is ever going to be any good, or is going to be an asset to the country. As I say, speaking for a river on which I own a certain amount of fishing, I know there are certain portions of it that are practically useless because my opposite neighbour would not bother taking charge of his share, and so it becomes perfectly useless although it might be quite good if there was general agreement. If the Land Commission could assume control in such cases—I do not know whether they could or not—good would result, otherwise each tract of the river becomes practically useless. With regard to shooting rights, under the 1923 Act, very few tenants got the sporting rights, with the result that there is practically no game at all. Since 1923 there has been a great improvement. The land that has been vested is now producing game which it did not do before, and there is a chance now of game being preserved through the formation of clubs. Before that, the thing was practically hopeless.

[Professor Thrift took the Chair.]

It is quite a good thing to give the tenant the right over the shooting where they combine in protecting these rights, but to retain it from them for that kind of thing is perfectly useless and has proved so in the past.

I feel that I am in agreement with the principle enunciated in this particular amendment. I also feel that this is a matter that could be easily arranged between the Parliamentary Secretary and the mover of the amendment. The Minister for Fisheries put his finger on the whole trouble when he gave the very apt illustration of three riparian owners, A, B and C. I am quite conversant with the details surrounding these cases or similar cases, where the Minister pointed out that. A. might have the fishing rights vested in him through an agreement between landlord and tenant; B. might have no interest whatever in the river, and their neighbour C. might have an interest by being a riparian owner or lessee. The Minister would have us infer, and he would be right, that that was a very difficult problem. There is, number one, the question of policing the river. The whole thing seems to be very much involved. But as I view this matter I think it is one the Minister might take into consideration, because we all hope that, one of those days, the tenant farmers of this country will have the full fishing and game rights vested in them.

The thing becomes more involved when you look up some existing agreements. In many instances you have the tenant who has purchased and got his vesting order and who, by agreement with the landlord, has practically given away his rights in so far as they relate to winged game and ground game and so far as they relate to fishing. In other cases we have the fishing rights retained by the former landlord, and the ground and the winged game rights the property of the tenant, and vice versa. The Minister will agree that that obtains in many districts. But I feel that when Deputy Derrig put down this amendment he had more in his mind than the mere discussion of it in an academic manner here in this Dáil. It would be a very useful thing in cases where the tenant was rather indifferent as to whether he would have the riparian or the game right vested in him if the Land Commission would take over these rights with a view to holding them either for the future tenant, or for the Land Commission solely, as they have done in many cases.

I think confusion has arisen in the minds of many persons in dealing with this amendment. We are dealing with untenanted land, not with land that has been purchased, land that is vested in the Land Commission, I suppose, in all cases. I would like to ask the Minister would it not be possible for the Land Commission in those cases to have those rights vested in themselves, that is, where no other arrangement is made with the landlord or the person from whom these lands were purchased. I think this is preeminently a case in which if the full letter of the amendment mentioned here is not accepted at least the spirit of it might be embodied in the Bill. I think that would meet any objections that might be present in the mind of anybody. I have frequently found, going through the country—and this must be the experience of many other Deputies who either fish or shoot— that the tenant farmer who has the game rights reserved to him either comes to an agreement with his previous landlord, or, because he may have had these rights before, gives permission to shoot over his land. It is frequently found, however, that by stepping over the boundary fence you would be entering a tract of land where the sporting rights are reserved to the landlord. That has caused any amount of trouble in various parts of the country, and the same thing is true in regard to riparian rights. As I have indicated, I think the Minister might accept the spirit of this amendment and embody it in some way in its proper place in the Bill: whether that should be done in Section 23 or in some other section I am not capable of judging.

I do feel that the Minister for Lands and Fisheries put his finger on the whole trouble. I have experience of this myself, for I have been up against it on some occasions. I again repeat that it would be a useful thing to have embodied in this Act in some section the spirit which is indicated in the amendment put down by Deputy Derrig.

Deputy Anthony is under a misapprehension with regard to the whole matter. In fact, under the Land Act of 1923 the fishing and sporting rights do pass automatically to the Land Commission. They exercise a discretion over them. In one of the cases that I mentioned A purchased under the 1923 Act and he had the fishing rights in the river, and B purchased and had no fishing rights; C purchased and had the fishing rights, and D had not the fishing rights, and so on. In that particular case the fishing rights in B's holding vested in the Land Commission, just as in the other cases of purchase under the 1923 Act. But because of the fact that the fishing would be practically useless to the Land Commission, or for any other purpose, they probably hand it over to the tenant, since his neighbours adjoining him have the fishing rights. In a case where the river basin was mostly in one estate the rights would vest in the Land Commission. The Land Commission was able to deal with the whole river. In that case the Land Commission would hold the fishing rights, utilising them for the development of the fisheries there.

What happens in such a case if prior to the vesting the landlord has leased the sporting rights of the estate? Supposing that last year, in the case of an estate not yet vested, the landlord leased the sporting rights for five years, will that right given by the lease hold after the vesting?

I cannot imagine any letting that a landlord made or any lease that he would give that would not be governed by that Act of 1923. You have an estate, say, which comes under the 1923 Act, and during the period between the passing of the Act and the actual vesting of the estate any lease that the landlord makes must be subject to the 1923 Act.

The Land Act of 1923 does not prevent the making of such a lease?

Section 45 of the Land Act of 1923 deals with the whole matter. The section reads: "On the vesting of any lands in the Land Commission under this Act all sporting rights as defined in sub-section (2) of Section 13 of the Irish Land Act, 1903, including such sporting rights as may be superior interests, and all fisheries appurtenant to the said lands shall vest in the Land Commission, subject to any lease then existing as if the owner or owners had agreed to sell them at such price as in the absence of agreement shall be fixed by the Land Commission . . ," and so on.

I suggest that the Parliamentary Secretary read Section 4 of the Act of 1929, and he will get quite a different thing.

Taking it that the Parliamentary Secretary is right, this lease will hold after the vesting of the land, and it is not proposed under the present Bill to interfere with this lease in any way——

A prior lease.

Yes, a prior lease. I am not asking this as an academic question. I have in mind a case where the lease was made two years ago, and the vesting is being prepared at the moment.

I take it this amendment was only put down for the purpose of eliciting information.

Yes, a large number of Deputies were anxious about it.


The Deputy is not going to press the amendment?

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I am afraid it will have to come up again on Report Stage.

Section 23 agreed to.
Amendment 50 not moved.
Sections 24 and 25 agreed to.
(1) Every tenant of a holding comprised in a list of congested districts holdings or in a list of holdings on untenanted land shall pay to the Land Commission as from the date of the publication of such list an annual sum equal to the purchase annuity specified in such list in respect of such holding, and such tenant shall continue to pay such sum until whichever of the following dates is applicable, that is to say:—
(a) if the whole of such holding is resold to such tenant, until the gale day next after the date of the vesting order in respect of such holding;
(b) if the whole of such holding is resumed by the Land Commission, until the date of such resumption;
(c) if part only of such holding is resold to such tenant or if part only of such holding is resumed by the Land Commission, until such date as the Land Commission shall appoint, but subject to such apportionment or variation before that date as the Land Commission shall direct.

I move amendment 50a:—

In Sub-section (1), line 54, page 12, after the word "from" to insert the words "the gale day on which his rent is payable next after."

This is put down for the convenience of calculating the annuities. It is desirable that the annuity period should start from the gale day rather than that it should start at some period a week or a month after the gale day. That would mean having to make calculations as to the amount of the annuity from the gale day to the Appointed Day. This amendment really has been introduced for the purpose of making it more convenient for the Land Commission to carry out the operations of this Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendments 51 and 52:—

At the end of sub-section (1), page 13, to insert a new paragraph as follows:—

"(d) if a holding is sold to such tenant in exchange for the holding hereinbefore mentioned, until the gale day next after the date of the vesting order in respect of the said holding so sold."

At the end of the section, page 13, to add a new sub-section as follows:—

"(6) Where a holding is sold to the tenant of a holding comprised in a list of congested districts holdings or in a list of holdings on untenanted land and is so sold in exchange for the said holding comprised in such list, so much as the Land Commission shall direct of the payments made by such tenant to the Land Commission in respect of the said annual sum payable by such tenant under this section in respect of the said holding comprised in such list shall, from and after the date of the vesting order in respect of the first-mentioned holding, be treated as payments in respect of purchase annuity."

These are really drafting amendments. They provide that on the vesting of rearranged holdings the tenant shall get the benefit of all his previous sinking fund payments made since the date of the publication of the list of the holdings. It is in the interests of the tenants.

Amendments agreed to.
Section 26, as amended, agreed to.
Amendment 53, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 27 and 28 agreed to.
(1) Where the Judicial Commissioner is satisfied, on the application of any person interested and after notice to all such persons as he shall direct and upon hearing such evidence as he shall think proper to receive, that a vesting order made under the Land Purchase Acts (including this Act) whether before or after the passing of this Act contains an error within the meaning of this section, the Judicial Commissioner may either amend such vesting order as justice may require or confirm such vesting order without amendment.
(7) Sub-section (3) of Section 32 of the Land Law (Ireland) Act, 1896, and sub-section (6) of Section 58 of the Land Act, 1923, are hereby repealed.

I move amendment 54:—

In sub-section (1), line 29, page 14, before the word "where" to insert the words: "Without prejudice to the powers in that behalf heretofore exercisable by the High Court and the Circuit Court the following provision shall apply, viz.:—"

I do not foresee that there will be very great opposition to this amendment. The amendment merely proposes to retain certain powers that exist already or that may exist—the power to amend these orders by judgment in action or certain powers that exist in the Circuit Court, powers that are not so far-reaching as the powers which Section 29 seek to give, but which may, perhaps, be more conveniently exercised locally. I do not know if it will be said that the section as it stands does not detract from those powers, but it is thought by many Deputies here, even if argument could be put up for that construction of the section, that for greater caution the words which the amendment seeks to introduce are not objectionable. For that reason I commend this amendment to the Deputies opposite. Possibly they are not with out reason for hoping that the Parliamentary Secretary will see his way to accept it or to accept some slight modification of it.

I really have no objection to the introduction of these words, but I do not think they are necessary, because the section does not interfere in any way with the powers of the existing Courts.

I am glad the Parliamentary Secretary does not see objection. Sometimes it is urged that when a particular remedy is provided all other remedies are excluded. It is to prevent the operation of that construction that it is desirable to introduce these words.

As I say, I do not think it is really necessary, because it is not intended to interfere in any way with the jurisdiction of the Courts, and the section as drafted provides a cheaper and more expeditious method of remedying the error.

I think I conceded at the opening that the section, as drafted, does give powers which hitherto have not existed, and does assist in many ways in dealing with vesting orders in which there are omissions or errors. At the same time, we desire to provide a local remedy that is available and may be resorted to in preference. However, we will be satisfied if the Parliamentary Secretary will consider the effect of the amendment. If the Parliamentary Secretary is quite sure that the amendment as it stands does not take away any existing rights we would probably be satisfied, but we would ask him if he has the slightest doubt that he should for greater caution put in those words or similar words.

I will certainly get the section examined. I have no objection to these words, but I am still of opinion that they are unnecessary.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment 55—Before sub-section (7), page 15, to insert a new sub-section as follows: "There shall be right of appeal to the Supreme Court from any order made by the Judicial Commissioner under this section."

That is a general question that runs through the Bill, and we should leave it open for the present.

As a matter of fact, there is such an appeal already. I think you can rule this amendment out.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 29 put and agreed to.
Sections 30, 31 and 32 put and agreed to.
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Land Purchase Acts, the following provisions shall have effect in relation to the distribution of purchase-money, that is to say:—
(a) the Court may direct payment of a claim in respect of which the Court is of opinion that the title of the claimant, though imperfect, is nevertheless such as to make it improbable that any claim adverse to such first-mentioned claim could be sustained;
(b) the Court shall be entitled to act on the evidence of title submitted by a claimant and it shall not be obligatory on the Court to inquire as to the existence or non-existence of any adverse estate, right, claim, or interest which is not disclosed by such evidence;
(c) where a person, within the time (hereinafter referred to as the time for claiming compensation) allowed in that behalf by this section, proves to the satisfaction of the Court that he or a person from whom he derives title was entitled to participate in the distribution of purchase-money and that his or such person's right so to participate was not disclosed at the time of such distribution and that such non-disclosure was not caused or substantially contributed to by such first-mentioned person or his solicitor or agent or by any person from or through whom he derives title or the solicitor or agent of any such person, such first-mentioned person shall be entitled to claim from and be paid by the Land Commission by way of compensation such sum as the Court shall fix having regard to all the circumstances of the case.
(3) All compensation payable by the Land Commission under this section shall be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas.
(4) The amount of any compensation paid by the Land Commission under this section shall be repaid to the Land Commission by such person as shall be declared by the Court to have received that portion of the purchase-money which would have been applied in discharging the claim in respect of which such compensation was paid if such claim had been disclosed at the time of the distribution of the purchase-money, and the amount so repayable by such person shall be recoverable from him by the Land Commission as a debt due to the State.

I move amendment 56:—To delete sub-section (1) (a).


I may, perhaps, draw attention to a note by the Ceann Comhairle on this point. He suggests that you can raise the same question on the whole section, and it might be desirable to reserve that question until the whole section is being discussed.

As a matter of fact, amendment 47 was to come up on this section also. We postponed it until Section 33 was reached. I would prefer to move the amendment.


I would just point out to you that if you move amendment 56 it will rule out amendment 57, and you may, perhaps, prefer to move amendment 57.

I propose amendment 57:—

In sub-section (1) (a), after the word "may," line 21, to insert the words: "after such notice by advertisement or otherwise as to the Court shall seem sufficient."

Paragraph (a) reads—"The court may direct payment of a claim in respect of which the court is of opinion that the title of the claimant, though imperfect, is nevertheless such as to make it improbable that any claim adverse to such first-mentioned claim could be sustained." The proposal in the amendment is to insert the words, "after such notice by advertisement or otherwise as to the court shall seem sufficient." By doing that, I think that some safeguard is introduced as regards the powers which are given to the court to enable the purchase-money to be paid out on an imperfect claim, which it has been argued is necessary if the Land Bill is to be proceeded with, and if unnecessary obstacles are to be removed. Some safeguard should be inserted, and the safeguard that the court shall issue due notice in respect of the matter to all who may be involved in no way places a real obstacle in the way of the court. They would still have the powers under the paragraph as it now stands. I think it is a very reasonable amendment. I may say here that we are not satisfied with a great many things in this particular Section, but this is a matter I think the parliamentary Secretary could meet us on without any trouble.

I have no objection to accepting this amendment but I am perfectly satisfied that the court would in any event issue an advertisement and it is rather unusual to dictate to a court how it should do its business. However, I am prepared to accept the amendment but it may need re-drafting.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 58:

In sub-section (1) (a), line 24, to delete the words "make it improbable that any" and substitute the words "raise a judicial presump-that no."

The amendment is simply a change of words. The expression in the Bill is "make it improbable that any claim adverse to such first mentioned claim could be sustained." We want to put in what I am advised is a more legal way—"raise a judicial presumption that no," so that instead of its being merely a question of probability it will be a case where the court will have to exercise their judicial intelligence and definitely decide not alone that the thing is improbable but that there is in their judgment a definite presumption that no adverse claim could be sustained. It is simply the same thing in other words.

I do not think the amendment can improve the Section in any way. I do not understand the meaning of the words "raise a judicial presumption." I do not know exactly what the legal meaning of these words is. It appears to me that they have no legal meaning at all.

I withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 58 (a):—

In sub-section (1) (b), line 27, to delete the word "not."

Sub-section (b) as it stands definitely states "it shall not be obligatory on the court to inquire as to the existence or non-existence of any adverse estate, right, claim or interest which is not disclosed by such evidence."

We want to delete the word "not" and to make it definitely obligatory on the court to inquire. We put down the amendment in that form—it is really a direct negative—to elicit information. Why should it be made definitely not obligatory on the court to inquire into the existence of other claims? It seems to me that if there is a real objection to dictating to the courts it is in a matter like this. We definitely order the courts that they shall be entitled to act on the evidence of title of the first claimant and that it is not obligatory on them to make inquiry in the case of adverse claims. I think that we are directing the courts not to do a definite thing which to them may seem right and proper to do.

The clause really means that the court can act on the evidence submitted and that it will not be obligatory on them to look around and ascertain if there are other undisclosed claimants to portions of the purchase money. The deletion of the word "not" would mean that the courts could not accept the title offered by the claimant. The practice as to the examination of titles has worked satisfactorily for the last fifty years since the first Land Act was passed and it is unnecessary to change the procedure in that respect.

Does it not mean that it is obligatory on the vendor to prove his title?

Exactly; it amounts to that.

It is obligatory on the other party to prove title but not obligatory on the Land Commission to do the work they should be doing.

In clause (a) it says that they can accept an imperfect title but then you go on to say in clause (b) that you must prove a correct title.

It does not mean what the Deputy says. An imperfect title may mean a flaw going back a hundred years or more. Title would not be held up for anything you could put your hand on, say, up to fifty years ago. I know a case which has been held up for 20 years in connection with the Land Act of 1903 owing to a flaw existing for over 100 years.

I am only dealing with the statement of Deputy Gorey, that it is obligatory on the claimant to prove his title.

But the previous clause says that an imperfect title is sufficient.

Even though it may be imperfect, if they are satisfied that there are no other claimants they can go ahead.

But it is not obligatory on them to find out.

Deputy Gorey means that the section does not relieve the Land Commission of the responsibility of inquiring into the title.

What Deputy Gorey said was rather misleading. This amendment was put down to elicit information, and that information, as vouchsafed by the Parliamentary Secretary, convinced a number of Deputies, but Deputy Gorey intervenes and makes a statement which is indefensible. I understand from the Parliamentary Secretary that it is intended to empower the Land Commission to take a risk, provided it is, in the opinion of the judicial officer, negligible or remote. We are satisfied with that. We merely put down the amendment to insure that that risk is remote. If we understand the Parliamentary Secretary to say that the present procedure is to guard against any substantial risk we are satisfied but we would not be satisfied with the gloss which Deputy Gorey puts upon the section.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move:—

In sub-section (1) (c), to delete all the words after the word "as," line 45, to the end of the paragraph and substitute the words, "such person would have been entitled to receive had he claimed within the time for claiming compensation without interest and after deducting such costs and expenses as in the judgment of the court were occasioned by his delay in making his claim."

Sub-section 1 (c) provides for the payment of compensation to persons who subsequently prove to the court that he or they had a claim, even though a previous claimant had been paid, and that compensation should be paid to those subsequent claimants who proved their title. This amendment does not involve a big matter, and perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary will accept it.

I am not sure that the Deputy is quite clear about the amendment. If I were to accept it, it would mean that the court in all cases must pay claims in full, and cannot exercise any discretion in the matter. As the clause is worded at present, there is a certain amount of discretion allowed, and the court may not allow a full claim unless the merits of the case justify it. The amendment makes it obligatory on the court to pay the full amount in all cases. As the section is drafted, it gives the court a certain discretion, and it is not obligatory on them to give the full amount. There may be circumstances in which the court would not be justified in paying the full amount. There is really very little between us. It is only a matter of interpretation.

No doubt the court is better able to deal with cases when they come before it than we are now, but it seems to me the court has complete discretion as matters stand. Would not the Parliamentary Secretary consider making some provision as regards costs and expenses, and the question of interest? They are really only minor matters, but perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary would look into them.

The amendment proposed by the Deputy means that it is obligatory, mandatory, on the court to pay the full amount of compensation. The section, as it is worded, gives the court a certain amount of discretion. There are certain cases where it is not necessary to pay the full amount, where it would be unfair to the State to pay the full amount claimed and the question of expenses will be taken into consideration.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move:—

Before sub-section (3), page 17, to insert a new sub-section as follows:—

"(3) In the foregoing sub-section of this section references to the day on which the purchase-money of an estate is distributed shall be construed as referring to the day on which that portion of the purchase-money of such estate in relation to the distribution of which compensation is claimed is distributed."

This is merely a drafting amendment to define the date on which the money is distributed.

Amendment put, and agreed to.

I move:—

To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

"Any sum which might be paid to an agent under sub-section (8) of Section 40 of the Land Act, 1923, on his ceasing to act as such agent, may, in the event of the allocation of the purchase money occurring before he has ceased to act as such agent, be retained by the Judicial Commissioner out of the purchase money and may be paid to the agent in whole or in part at such time or times as to the court may seem just."

This is a drafting amendment. Under the provisions of the Bill the agent in most cases will not cease to be an agent until the purchase money is allocated. The amendment enables payment to be made to him on account out of the sum coming to him even when he has ceased to be an agent. It is a continuation of the right which agents had under the Act of 1923.

Question proposed: "That Section 33, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

Amendment 47 and the consequential amendments will have to be taken now. Shall I propose them formally?


All the Deputy can do now is to speak on the Section and raise the subject matter of the amendments. If they are not agreed to the Deputy can vote against the section.

Amendment 47 is an amendment to Section 20.


The Deputy can raise the subject matter of that.

Have I not a right to get a decision on amendment 47 as distinct from the other amendments?


I do not know what agreement was come to.

There was an agreement come to that when we reached Section 33 we would go back to Section 20 and discuss amendment 47.

Amendment 47 is relevant to Section 23.

Amendment 47 was not decided when we were discussing the matter.


I think the best way would be to move amendment 47 as an additional clause to Section 33 and then take amendment 56, because voting against the whole Section is the same as deleting part of it. It goes with amendments 62 and 64, which are on Section 33.

Amendment 47 deals specifically with the guarantee deposit in Section 20. I do not see how it can be raised except incidentally in connection with Section 33.


Apparently the arrangement was to postpone it until the Deputy came to Section 33.

That was merely to save time because many of the arguments adduced in favour of amendment 47 would apply to many of the amendments in connection with Section 33. Of course amendment No. 47 cannot be made a sub-clause of Section 33. If it is to be adopted at all it must form part of Section 20.


Cannot the Deputy raise the whole matter and get a definite decision on it on this section?

I would be quite willing to raise the whole matter but I would like to have a decision on amendment 47 as a distinct matter from Section 33.


If the Deputy wants to get a separate decision I am afraid he will have to get it on the Report Stage.

On other Bills this has been the practice. For instance, in the Betting Bill when a certain definition in that Bill was connected up with a clause in a subsequent section, the Ceann Comhairle postponed the taking of that definition until we came to the particular clause. Then he took the definition and placed it in its own niche, and read it with the other clause. The understanding about this particular amendment was that when we arrived at this part of the Bill we would go back and amend the previous section by either adding that particular clause——


That has never been done before.

That was the understanding.


The Deputy can get exactly the same point discussed on the Report Stage, and I have no doubt that he can get permission to deal with it in a committee way on that Stage.

If, in fact, the arrangement was that outlined by Deputy Little, ought not that arrangement be carried out?


I began by giving Deputy Derrig the option of moving the amendment, but he did not seem willing to do it.

He is prepared to do it.

I am quite prepared to move the amendment.

[An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.]

What is the Deputy's point?

The point is when we came to amendments 56, 62 and 64, the Acting-Chairman, Deputy Thrift, said they would have to be discussed on Section 33, and I called his attention to amendment 47. He said the best thing would be to discuss the whole matter as the same principle underlies the three amendments. I am not clear what the position then would be. Can we have a vote, if necessary, on these amendments separately, or is the position that if we had a vote on them and were defeated, we could not again raise the matter?

The Deputy, if he wanted a decision on Section 33, could get a decision on the section. The Deputy cannot move 47 now, because the Committee passed the section. That does not rule the Deputy out. He can bring amendment 47 up on the Report Stage.

Irrespective of the fate of 62 and 64 now, I had better discuss the general question.

The Deputy did not move 62 or 64 or 47. Therefore, the Deputy has the right to move these or similar ones on the Report Stage.

On the section, Section 33, as the House is aware, sets up machinery for expediting the distribution of the purchase money, first, by permitting or directing the Court that the purchase money should be paid out even where the title is imperfect, and secondly, without having to inquire into the existence of any adverse claims. This section provides compensation for subsequent claimants who prove to the satisfaction of the Court that they had a title. Compensation is, however, to be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas. Now, it seems to us that there is no valid reason for paying this compensation out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas, and the scheme of our amendments was to have compensation met out of a special fund of 2 per cent. which would form part of the guarantee deposit. In that way the money which would go to meet compensation would be provided from the purchase money which is being withheld. As has been now stressed, the guarantee deposit is being set up for a specific purpose to provide adjustments. If the principle of the guarantee deposit is admitted for adjustments later on, I certainly think it should be an equitable and a fair thing that the guarantee deposit should also apply to this provision for compensation. I do not see why the taxpayer should be made amenable. The amount of money involved, I understand from the Parliamentary Secretary, is not expected to be very large. It is undoubtedly a hypothetical question. We have no idea whatever of the extent to which we will commit the State if we pass the section as it stands. I would like to hear from the Parliamentary Secretary why the State should provide the money and why the guarantee deposit should not be made responsible.

I do not think there is any necessity for a guarantee deposit in this case. The Land Commission for the last twenty or thirty years acted as if this section had been the law, and no single claim has been made against the Land Commission in respect of any purchase money paid out. This section is taken from the Northern Ireland Land Act of 1928. I understand in Northern Ireland they have investigated a certain number of cases and no claims have been made against the Land Commission there. I am perfectly satisfied that no claim will be made here, but it is better to have this section in this Act, because the Examiners of Title will have to deal with a glut of work during the next few years.

There is another point and it is this, it enables the Land Commission to deal speedily with the investigation of titles to small estates. The titles to the large estates are always clear. The titles are not always so clear in the case of small estates, and this section will enable the Land Commission to deal speedily with the investigation of these titles. It is most unlikely that any claim will arise in connection with the purchase money distributed by the Court under this section. In any event, the Judicial Commissioner, if he is of opinion when distributing purchase money that a claim may be made against it at some later date, has power to withhold a certain portion of the money to meet that claim.

Where has he that power?

Those are his general powers as Judicial Commissioner. He has always enjoyed those powers. They have been conferred on the Judicial Commissioner since the Land Act of 1881.

If that is so what is the necessity of sub-section (3)?

I thought it better to include the section to help the Land Commission to speed up vesting in small cases. I decided it was better to have a section such as this in the Act.

Will this provision for compensation appear on the annual estimates?

If compensation is paid out.

I understand from the Parliamentary Secretary that he is satisfied these things will not occur. There will be no claims because they have never occurred before. That is his argument.

I explained that the Land Commission had acted as if this section had been in operation for the last thirty years in the case of small estates.

There never were any claims of this sort before. Therefore, they will not occur again. Is not the whole atmosphere changed?

I suggest vis a tergo has been applied to the Land Commission and they are going to hurry up. Up to the present they have been at a circumlocution pace. They are prepared to take twenty-five or thirty years or seven generations if necessary to vest land and now they are going to be actually asked to hurry. They are people with two speeds, dead slow and dead stop. We are to assume that the same conditions will occur when they are asked to get into high gear.

I do not believe it for a moment. These people have been doing their work in a "dolce far niente," a Kathleen Mavourneen atmosphere, and apparently they have not been educated to hurry. It seems to me that we are introducing into the Land Commission something more than the snail's pace. In the progress of affairs you cannot argue that exactly the same things that happened under the recognition of the snail's pace as the right pace is going to happen again. It seems to me that the whole argument of the Parliamentary Secretary was due to sluggishness to almost go-astern, dead stoppedness. They have always been able to take long enough not to have these things arising. Now, when they are asked to vest land, it looks as if such questions will arise. If they do arise, it looks reasonable that the State should take an insurance premium of two per cent. to meet these cases. That is a reasonable proposition, and as a preliminary, I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that it is the first indication of his intention of running the Land Commission as a businesslike department, and that he will insure his risk in this matter.

I think this is the most ridiculous section that was ever introduced into any Bill when the greater portion of the money has been spent. The Parliamentary Secretary then started to prevent the tenants by every means in his power getting back any of the money that was robbed from them during the last few years. We have this special section inserted, first to provide the purchase money for landlords with bad titles, and secondly, to pay compensation to other claimants who may come in subsequently and establish a claim. The money is to be provided out of State funds—out of taxes—and probably is to be provided by tenants who have been already mulcted. It is the most ridiculous section I have ever seen in any Bill. Sub-section (4) is the most combative part of the Bill. It provides that when the thief is gone with the loot, perhaps for five or six years, and the money spent in Monte Carlo, the Land Commission is going to go after him and make him return the money. What is the idea underlying that sub-section? Provision is made in the Bill whereby a landlord with bad title is paid the purchase money. What is to prevent the Land Commission from withholding the purchase money until the title is made perfect. What is the need for the sub-section? Is it not bad enough to have a National Government collecting rents for the landlords of estates, where the title is bad? That is a thing that tenants in their wildest dreams never expected to see taking place in this country.

As if that were not bad enough we have a special sub-section to provide compensation for any gentleman who comes along after the original purchase price has been paid to another man. That compensation is to be paid by the State. It seems most ridiculous after purchase money has been paid to a gentleman with bad title, that compensation is to be paid to another gentleman who may come along three or four years later with a better title. The Free State Government is then going to search the four winds of the world for the man who went away with the loot in order to make him disgorge. The section indicates the frame of mind of those who brought in this loot for landlords Bill—which is the appropriate name for it. I understood the Parliamentary Secretary to say that he got the idea for this section from the Land Act passed in the Northern Parliament where no claim had been made under a similar section. He went to the landlords of Ulster, who have formed a Parliament there, and brought down this section to be put into a Bill here, in a so-called National Parliament. The Parliamentary Secretary expects Deputies on the opposite Benches to vote for this section. Surely we are not going to have that state of affairs. Surely Deputies opposite are not going to let themselves to be led by the nose, so to speak, into voting for this section, fearing that they would be thrown out of office by thirteen or fourteen Deputies here who represent the landlords. I ask Deputies to consider whether their constituents would stand for it.

Let them look at it in the light that it provides for nothing else but for wholesale robbery by a Government which refused to return to the unfortunate tenants £269,000 that was taken from them. Deputies voted against returning that money to the tenants and now they are going to vote money to landlords to which they have no claim. Surely we are not going to have that state of affairs in this so-called National Parliament, no matter how low national ideals may have fallen amongst those on the opposite benches. I hope this section will be eliminated, seeing that there is nothing to prevent the Land Commission when they are not satisfied with the title from withholding the money until the title is proved.

There is a remarkable contrast between the attitude of the Minister in this section and in the section that has been referred to by Deputy Corry. There is the meticulous care which the Parliamentary Secretary exercises in protecting rights which he pleads are almost non-existent. The grounds on which he advocates acceptance of the section almost amount to this, that the section is unneccessary because so far no claim has ever arisen. But out of the abundance of care he wishes to protect any possible chance of such a claiming arising in the future. Contrast that attitude with his attitude towards the tenants, who have a real grievance, because they have had to make payments in lieu of rents over a long period.

Although the case made by the Parliamentary Secretary may be correct, that it is only a small matter, at the same time, it involves a very invidious and vicious principle. The very fact that it is such a small matter should induce the Parliamentary Secretary to drop it altogether. For the very reasons which he has put forward before so often, that amendments from this side of the House were unnecessary, I think that he should withdraw the section, especially as it embodies a principle which is invidious and may be the subject of abuse, and which is going to take money out of the pockets of the taxpayer. If there is to be a fund reserved for such a purpose, it should be the reserve fund taken from the purchase money and it should not be taken out of the moneys of the State.

I should like to appeal to members of Cumann na nGaedheal who express sympathy with the small farmer to consider well what they are going to do here. They are proposing to guarantee payment to landlord claimants, no matter when they turn up. It may be this year or it may be in 20 years, but they are going to secure that these claimants, whenever they turn up, will get their full pound of flesh. They are going to repay them for something that their ancestors seized from the people. Just compare the treatment that is going to be meted out to the landlords with the treatment given to the subscribers to the Dáil Eireann Loan. A definite arrangement was made by the Minister for Finance that claims for repayment of subscriptions to the Dáil Eireann Loan could only be made within two years. After that they were to get nothing, although they had come forward in a time of national stress and subscribed voluntarily to national funds. Very different treatment is being meted out to the subscribers to that loan from that which it is proposed to mete out to the landlords. I think it would be quite a reasonable thing to ask the landlords to give the 2 per cent. insurance premium that Deputy Flinn has suggested. If after a certain number of years no claim comes forward, then the principal and whatever interest may have accrued can be distributed amongst the landlords in proportion to the sums they put into the insurance fund. We have the greatest possible objection to giving the landlords the right to come forward for a great number of years and make their claims, seeing that the subscribers to the Dáil Eireann Loan have only got a few months to put in theirs.

This section is one of the most reactionary in the Bill. It will compare very badly with the attitude adopted towards the tenants. The tenants, in order to get assistance from the State to purchase their holdings must become co-operators, and everyone of them is a security for payment by the others. That is the condition that is applied as a test to the tenants. Whether they like it or not the farmers are jointly responsible for the payment of each other. Now we come to deal with the position of the landlord. If there is any question of security for him, the State is asked to bear it. If any faulty title is passed over on the Land Commission in the new rush that is coming, the tenants must bear that. The landlord must be paid his money and it must be done quickly. Would it not be reasonable to put the same responsibility on the landlords as on the tenants? If the State is going to pay the money over to the landlords, why not make the landlords co-operators in this to the same extent as the tenants? If through misjudgment or over anxiety to speed up matters money passes out of the hands of the Land Commission to some claimant to property who ultimately turns out not to be the proper claimant, let the landlords be responsible by creating a fund in advance to meet such a contingency. Clearly that is only common sense. This section proposes to make the State responsible all the time, to make the State responsible, first for each tenant co-operator to the extent he is responsible for the payment, and, secondly, to make the State responsible for the payment to the landlord; and, in the event of a mistake being made by paying the wrong owner, the State is again responsible for the payment of the second, and perhaps the third, fourth and fifth claimant. There is no limit to where this thing may lead us. So that instead of buying out the landlords' interest once, as we assume we are doing under these Land Acts, we may in reality have to buy it out oftener. There should be some guarantee here but that guarantee should not be the security of the State. It is quite enough for the State to buy out the interest of the landlords once and the State should seek guarantees that they will not be asked to repeat that again. The security suggested against that is, that the landlords should take their share of responsibility, and if payment is to be made to them as a class and risks are to be taken as a result of immediate payment, then they must take the risk of any mistake that may happen through paying the wrong person.

The discussion on this section has revealed an anti-landlord complex. This is not designed to facilitate the landlords.

It is purely accidental.

It is designed to facilitate the investigation of the tenant's title primarily, particularly tenants whose lands we propose to resume. It is also designed to save the taxpayer and the State, because in the case of a resumed holding it is obligatory on the Land Commission to make a rigid investigation into the tenant's title, and it may mean that the tenant will have to carry out such an investigation in countries outside this State. In some cases he may have to carry out that investigation in Australia, New Zealand, America, or some European country. In that case the expenses have to be borne by the State out of the Costs Fund, and these expenses are very heavy, so that this section is really designed to save the taxpayer and the State, and to facilitate the investigation of title, to facilitate the Land Commission in dealing with the resumption of land, and in distributing it amongst those for whom it is intended.

Deputies misunderstand the scope of the whole section. In reply to Deputy Flinn, who obviously does not understand the aim and scope of this Land Act, I must say that I have not time to deal with all the inaccuracies in his statement. I am satisfied that our Examiners will not increase the pace in their investigation of title by one tittle. The investigation of title is very difficult, intricate and detailed work, and it cannot be carried out at a fast pace. We propose to increase the rate of progress by increasing the staff of Examiners, which is the only way that we can do it.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary say what single word he has offered against the question of whether or not he should take an insurance premium for the risk?

That is absurd.

It is all very well for the Parliamentary Secretary to snarl, but snarling is not an answer to my argument. I have suggested that when this Department started to be a business Department it should do what an ordinary business would do, namely, insure against risk. Snarling is not an answer to that.

This is a rather serious matter in which the State and the community as a whole may have to pay the piper. Suggestions were made to the Parliamentary Secretary that he should safeguard the community in this respect and that a limit of time at any rate should be put in. There is nothing as far as I can see to indicate the period after which no further claims could be put forward.

As a matter of fact the whole section is full of limitations of that kind.

But in this particular case there is none.

There is.

After what period can a claimant be ruled out?

If the Deputy will read sub-section 2——

27 years. Is that a reasonable period?

No. Read the sub-section, 27 years is not mentioned.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary tell us?

It is in the section. Six years is mentioned.

Six years plus twenty-one.

In another one 30 years is mentioned.

Is the Deputy referring to clause B, sub-section 2?

The section fixes 30 years.

What is the Parliamentary Secretary's interpretation of his own Bill? What period is fixed after which claims cannot be heard but will be ruled out by a statute of limitation of some kind besides the ordinary one? Is there any definite limitation provided here, and if so what is the period?

Read the Bill.

That is not an answer. There have been several interpretations put forward and I want to know what is the Parliamentary Secretary's interpretation of his own Bill.

My interpretation is that which is contained in sub-section (2) (b) of this section.

I am not at all satisfied with the Parliamentary Secretary's explanation. This is a bigger matter than the Dáil realises. Most of these cases are held up in the Land Commission's Department for five or six years owing to the fact that the titles were not perfect. They are all to be dealt with now. We have a most extraordinary provision made here as to the length of time which can elapse before a payment is paid. We have sub-section (2) which the Parliamentary Secretary alluded to. The sub-section says that the time for claiming compensation shall be whichever of the following times is applicable, that is to say: "Where the person claiming compensation was under the age of 21 years on the day on which the purchase-money was distributed within six years after such person attains the age of 21 years." A boy might be 12 years now and in 9 years time he will be 21 years and six years after that he could claim the money. That is one case. The second case is: "Where the compensation is claimed in respect of mortgage, charge, or other incumbrance, within whichever of the following periods is the shorter, that is to say, six years from the day on which the last payment in respect of the principal of or the interest on such incumbrance was made before the making of the claim for compensation or thirty years from the day on which the purchase-money was distributed." Thirty years time, and two years was all that was allowed for claimants on the Dáil Eireann loan. And "where the compensation is claimed in respect of a superior interest within whichever of the following periods is the shorter, that is to say six years from the day on which the last payment of rent, interest or other income from such superior interest was made before the making of the claim for compensation or 30 years from the day on which the purchase-money was distributed."

This appeared to me to be the most ridiculous section that was ever brought in in any Bill, and Deputy Gorey will tell us later on that it cannot be interfered with. He told us that when we were looking for money for the tenants. We now know that this Act is going to bind this State for 30 years time to pay compensation to somebody who comes up with a claim and this special section is designed to enable us to look after the fellow who wants to get the money. I do not know who drafted this section, but it is the most ridiculous affair I ever saw brought into the Dáil. I do not know who the draftsman is or what salary he is paid, but I hope we will have the opportunity of dealing with him in his proper place. The idea of this special section is that it is brought in here to safeguard the landlords.

This is all repetition.

It is not repetition.

It is repetition for at least six times both on the amendment and on the section. The Deputy is making the same speech. It is mere repetition.

I am trying to get this section understood by Deputies who, apparently, are very anxious not to understand it.

The Deputy cannot continue to indulge in this repetition.

I had to go into the matter, sub-section by sub-section, in view of the Parliamentary Secretary's reply to Deputy de Valera.

The Deputy must not keep on repeating statements he has already made.

I do not want to keep on repeating statements.

That is what the Deputy is doing.

I said this is the biggest scandal ever brought in to a so-called National Parliament which rules the 26 counties at the present time.

Order, order. We heard all that before. The Deputy will please resume his seat.

The Parliamentary Secretary has indicated that by the appointment of a few extra examiners in the Land Commission the investigation of the title will be hastened. Does the Parliamentary Secretary seriously contend that the appointment of a few extra officials to this work-shy Department—a Department which is the greatest scandal in the State, whose officials do not work three hours, and spend most of those three hours per day dodging the clock and swinging the lead——

That is a matter for the Estimates.

The Parliamentary Secretary contended that investigation of title would be hastened by the appointment of a few extra officials. We have this Department, where there is no supervision, where there is no coordination, and where everything is haphazard and——

That is a matter for the Land Commission Estimate. It is a question of the administration of a Department. The Deputy can discuss that on the Estimate.

The Parliamentary Secretary, under the procedure under this Bill, is going to appoint extra examiners, and by that deed he is going to speed up, he says, the investigation of title. But we are told that the slowness in the investigation of leases heretofore was due to the delay in what he calls this delicate operation, the investigation of title. We seriously contend, from our observation of this Department, that the delay in that office is the greatest scandal in the State. The Parliamentary Secretary is not going to meet the case that has been made here. He has not answered any of the arguments put up here; he simply sticks his heels in the ground and says to the Deputies "read the Bill and try to understand it. You do not know anything about it. Nobody knows anything about land tenure and the land code except myself, and I know so much about it and am so full of it that I cannot explain it."

Question:—That Section 33 stand part of the Bill—put.

The Committee divided: Tá, 70; Níl, 53.

  • Aird, William P.
  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamús A.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Cole, John James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Crowley, James.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Murphy, James E.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Hanlon, John E.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • Egan, Barry M.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Kelly, Patrick Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Leonard, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • Vaughan, Daniel.
  • White, John.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, George.


  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Clancy, Patrick.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Colohan, Hugh.
  • Corkery, Dan.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Flinn, Hugo.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Walsh, Richard.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle; Níl, Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Motion declared carried.
Section 34 put and agreed to.
(1) Where land is vested in the Land Commission under the Land Act, 1923, or any Act amending or extending that Act, the Judicial Commissioner may, on the application of any person interested order that the dividends (less income tax) then accrued and thereafter to accrue on the land bonds representing the purchase-money of such land shall until the distribution of such purchase-money be paid as they accrue to the vendor or to such other person as shall appear to the Judicial Commissioner to be entitled to receive the same.

I move amendment 66:—

"In sub-section (1), page 18, line 21, to add after the word `vendor' the words `or his agent."'

As is well known a good deal of the money that goes to the agent is dispensed by him and very often the landlord does not get anything. The money goes to certain people who have mortgages on the estate and consequently it would be only fair that this protection should be given to the agent.

It seems to me that this amendment is really not necessary as payment to the vendors implies power to pay the agent. The amendment is not necessary at all.

Perhaps the parliamentary Secretary would amend the section in this way. "Such purchase money be paid as they accrue to the agent of vendor or such other person who has been in receipt of payment on behalf of the vendor."

Well, of course, the agent can always be paid by the direction of the Judicial Commissioner.

He cannot be paid without that direction.

That would be quite all right; there is no necessity for including the agent there.

Is this the case where a landlord has no title at all and where some thief has been collecting the money and pretending to represent the landlord?

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Question proposed—"That Section 35 stand part of the Bill."

I would like if some information were given by the Parliamentary Secretary as to what period of time is likely to elapse during which dividends on land bonds will be paid. Furthermore, will the interest on the land bonds which are held as a guarantee deposit be paid in the same way to the person entitled to receive it?

The interest on the land bonds held as a guarantee deposit will be paid exactly in the same way as interest on the purchase-money to the person entitled to receive it.

What period is likely to elapse between the order made that the dividends are to be paid and the distribution of the purchase-money? How long is this payment of the dividends on the bonds pending the distribution of the purchase-money likely to last?

Until the purchase-money has been distributed.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary, state what time it will take?

I could not say. Under this Bill it is proposed to speed up the investigation of title with the object of getting the purchase-money distributed as soon as possible.

It will be only a short time.

As short as possible.

May I take it that the position with reference to the last section means that this State will not even protect itself to the extent of keeping a certain fund undistributed whilst paying the interest and the dividends on it? Surely that is a very natural form of insurance, and should be the one that should be adopted with all fairness to the State on the one hand, and would not be a severe hardship on the vendor on the other. It seems to me that the Parliamentary Secretary has provided even for the child unborn in this previous section. So careful was he in protecting minors that it would be but a short step further to provide for those who will be born a century hence. Is the community to get no protection whatever? An obvious way of protecting the community is there, namely, not to distribute a percentage of these bonds, but to reserve that percentage as an insurance fund to meet possible claims where mistakes may have been made, and to fix a definite period after which claims will not be considered.

It seems to me that there is no attention whatever being paid to the interests of the community by the Parliamentary Secretary, while, as somebody said, he is meticulous in his care to preserve the rights of the vendor. Here is a section under which it would be possible for him to protect the community by keeping a certain reserve and paying the dividends on it to those who are entitled to them. This whole Bill is almost scandalous in its disregard of the rights of the community. I admit that in some cases it is very difficult to meet the difficulties that arise, but when an obvious solution is there I see no reason why the Parliamentary Secretary will not adopt it.

The Deputy seems to have forgotten Section 20. Under that section the Land Commission retain 10 per cent. of the purchase money as a guarantee against loss.

For how long?

Until the Land Commission is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for them to retain such deposits. In addition, the Land Commission has always power to apply to the Judicial Commissioner to retain a certain amount of the purchase money in special cases where it is necessary to retain money to cover a certain charge or liability.

Why not make it compulsory? Why should it be left altogether to his discretion?

Why do a thing that is not necessary?

Because we are the custodians of the interests of the community as a whole and we ought to safeguard their interests. I might as well ask what is the meaning of any limitation imposed by statutes. Why not leave it all to the administration? Why not completely trust the Executive, trust the Land Commission, and every administrative body? It seems to me that there is no sense at all in representatives coming here. They must be willing to trust the Executive. Our purpose here is to provide by statute for the interests of the community.

I will ask the Deputy one question. How are the rights of the community involved in this particular section?

There is the question of the distribution of the purchase money.

Not on this particular section.

I quite admit that in a sense I am going back to the previous section, but the reason I am doing so is that here is a further opportunity to safeguard the situation if the Parliamentary Secretary cares to avail of it. The moment the bonds are distributed the money is gone and there is no chance of getting any recoupment whatever. Is not that so?

That is so, but this section only deals with the payment of interest on land bonds.

I admit that, but it is an extension of a principle that seems to me to provide the safeguard I indicated.

The Deputy will get an opportunity of dealing with that on the Report Stage.

The Parliamentary Secretary has not answered my question, namely, how long is the guarantee deposit to remain?

I could not say.

It seems to me that it cannot hold after the distribution of the purchase money which is to take place almost immediately.

It will.

After the purchase money is distributed does the guarantee deposit disappear?

No, it will remain until such time as the Land Commission are satisfied that there are no further claims against it.

Surely, as Deputy de Valera said, there should be some statutory provision governing the distribution of the guarantee deposit.

Deputies will get an opportunity of dealing with that on Report. The section which deals with that has already been passed.

I am endeavouring to deal with the remarks of the Parliamentary Secretary. Surely I am entitled to reply to them.

I am afraid that this is one of the prices which we have to pay for allowing Deputies to go outside the section.

On Section 35, I notice that the Judicial Commissioner is getting another job under this section. I want to know whether it is intended to have more than one Judicial Commissioner. As has been pointed out, the Judicial Commissioner has already held up cases for three or four years, even without any new work being piled upon him by this Bill. Is there to be more than one Judicial Commissioner, or is this work to be piled on him in addition to that which he already has?

That does not arise on this section.

I think it is absolutely ridiculous. Deputy Nolan has called attention to the fact that the Judicial Commissioner is already overworked. Is it a fact that no individual in the State will be allowed to act as Judicial Commissioner except this particular individual? Is there some special clause in the Treaty under which no one else is allowed to have the last word on a matter for which the unfortunate tenants of the Free State have to pay except Mr. Justice Wylie?

May I point out that I never said that the Judicial Commissioner was over-worked. What I did say was that he had not worked at all.

Question—"That Section 35 stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
So much of Section 33 of the Land Act, 1927, as requires that the notice mentioned in that section shall be published in the "Iris Oifigiúil," a leading Dublin daily paper, and if there be a local paper, such local paper shall cease to have effect and in lieu thereof it is hereby enacted that the notice required by the said Section 33 shall be published as follows, that is to say:—
(a) where the holding to which such notice relates is a holding for the purchase of which an advance not exceeding three hundred pounds was made under the Land Purchase Acts, by posting copies of such notice in the prescribed manner in suitable places in the district in which such holding is situate; or
(b) where the holding to which such notice relates is either a holding for the purchase of which an advance exceeding three hundred pounds was made under the Land Purchase Acts or is a holding in respect of which no advance was made under the Land Purchase Acts, by advertisement in the "Iris Oifigiúil," and in at least one issue of either a newspaper published and circulating in the locality in which such holding is situate or, if there is no such newspaper, in a daily newspaper published in Dublin and circulating in the said locality.

I move Amendment No. 67 which is as follows:—

In paragraph (a), page 19, line 2, to add after the word "situate" the words "and if there be a local paper one insertion in such local paper at least ten days before the sale."

It is probable that notice would appear in the official paper it might not be seen by those interested. If there was a local paper I think that at least one insertion a week or ten days previous to the sale would be in order.

This clause has been designed to save expense in cases where only small amounts are due and publication in newspapers, either local or daily, has been omitted for that reason.

The expense of one insertion in the local weekly paper would not be very much.

But it will have to be borne by the unfortunate defaulter. It seems to me that there is no justification for such publication where only a small sum is involved.

The advertisement may not be seen in the official paper.

The Land Commission will see to it that the defaulter is made aware of the fact that the sale of his holding is about to take place.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 68:

In paragraph (b), page 19, to delete the word "locality" where it occurs in line 10, and in line 12, and to substitute the word "county" in both places.

This is merely a drafting amendment. I do not think that the word "locality" has a definite meaning whereas the word "county" has. It is therefore proposed to substitute one for the other.

I hope, when the Parliamentary Secretary is putting in these advertisements in newspapers published and circulated in the locality in which such holding is situated, that he will insert them in newspapers which circulate in the locality. I cannot speak with much knowledge about the practice in the Land Commission, but I know that in other Government departments the habit has been to carry out the practice of the old regime in regard to such advertisements. For instance, where there was an old Unionist paper with a circulation of about 200 copies these advertisements were inserted. That practice has been continued with the result that practically no one in the county has seen them, I am not saying that because they happen to be Unionist newspapers, but because their circulation is so small. These advertisements should be inserted in newspapers which circulate in the county and which are generally read by the people.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move Amendment (68) (a) as follows:—

"In line 12, page 19, to delete the word `Dublin' and substitute the words `Saorstát Eireann.' "

There is a daily newspaper in Cork and I was afraid that Cork Deputies might take offence if the publication of these advertisements was confined to newspapers published in Dublin.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question—"That Section 36 as amended stand part of the Bill"—put and agreed to.
(1) Where there is any land sold or agreed to be sold under the Land Purchase Acts a well, stream, lake, or other water (hereinafter referred to as a water-source) the Land Commission may, if in their opinion it is necessary or expedient so to do for the benefit of other lands so sold or agreed to be sold, make orders—
(a) granting to and conferring on such persons for the benefit of such lands as the Land Commission shall think fit rights (hereinafter referred to as water-rights) to take water from such water-source for use on such lands for domestic or farming purposes; and
(b) providing for persons to whom such water-rights are so granted, rights of access to such water source for the purpose of exercising such water-rights; and
(c) providing for the payment by persons to whom such water-rights are granted of compensation for such water-rights to the owner of such water-source and fixing the amount of such compensation.
(2) Where the compensation payable under this section to the owner of a water-source does not exceed fifty pounds, such compensation may be paid to the person who satisfies the Land Commission that for not less than six years immediately preceding the date of the order fixing the amount of such compensation he and his predecessors in title (if any) have been in actual occupation of the land on which such water-source is situate or in receipt of the rents and profits of such land.
(3) In making an order under this section the Land Commission shall have due regard to the reasonable requirements of the owner of the water-source to which such order relates and of other persons having rights in respect of such water-source.

I move amendments 69, 70 and 71:—

In sub-section (1) (c), after the word "water-source," line 29, to insert the words "or of the land over which such right of access is granted."

In sub-section (2), after the word "water-source," line 32, to insert the words "or of the land over which such right of access is granted."

In sub-section (2), after the word "situate," line 37, to insert the words "or such right of access granted."

These are only minor amendments. I am told that these amendments would clarify matters, that the right of access may be in question, and that it is not clear that the right of access is covered as the section stands.

I will accept these amendments. The point was undoubtedly overlooked when the section was being drafted.

Amendments put and agreed to.

I am also moving the following amendments, 72 and 73, to the same section:—

In sub-section (3), after the word "water-source," line 41, to insert the words "or of the land over which such right of access is granted."

To add at the end of sub-section (3) the words "or land."

The first amendment is not applicable to the owner of the land over which right of way is given.

Why not?

He gets it by way of compensation. He is entitled to compensation under this Bill. These amendments are not necessary.

Amendments, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 74:—

To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

"There shall be a right of appeal to the Judicial Commissioner from such order or any portion of same by any person affected thereby."

It is well known to the legal fraternity in this House that water rights have been a more fruitful cause of litigation than any other subject. For this reason I think that means should be allowed to those interested to have an appeal.

I really do not think it is necessary to provide an appeal to the Judicial Commissioner in such cases as this. After all it is a matter that can be easily settled by the Land Commissioners. Of course, if a point of law is involved there is already a right of appeal to the Judicial Commissioner.

It is not said so here. There is no loophole allowed at all. You cannot appeal to the Judicial Commissioner unless you accept my amendment.

There is a right of appeal on a point of law. I am not prepared to accept the amendment as I do not think it is necessary. It is very unlikely that any occasion will arise which would justify such an appeal.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary not aware that cases like this have gone to the High Court?

Perhaps so, but only on questions of law.

We have not got the right at all here.

There is a right of appeal to the Judicial Commissioner on a question of law.

This is a very important question which affects farmers in various districts and they should have the right of appeal. It is a very big question as the Parliamentary Secretary and Deputies here are aware and it causes a great deal of trouble.

As I say there is undoubtedly a right of appeal on a question of law. If the Deputy thinks it right that the section should be extended I am prepared to consider it. As a matter of fact there is a right of appeal on a question of law and I do not think it is necessary to have a right of appeal for any other purpose.

It would be no harm to have it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 37, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
(1) The powers of the Land Commission to make regulations with respect to turbary on bogs as extended by Section 42 of the Land Act, 1923, are hereby further extended so as to include power to make regulations conferring on the Land Commission and their licensees and defining rights of access over any land to a bog for the purpose of turbary whether such rights of access are or are not made by such regulations appurtenant to any land.
(2) The powers of the Land Commission to expend money on the improvement of land sold or agreed to be sold under the Land Purchase Acts shall, in addition to the matters mentioned in Section 43 of the Land Act, 1923, include power to confer on the Land Commission and their licensees and to define rights of way over any land to any land sold or agreed to be sold under the Land Purchase Acts, whether such rights of way are or are not so conferred as to be appurtenant to any land.

I move amendment 75:

Before Section 38 to insert a new section as follows:—

"Any tenant who or whose predecessors have in fact enjoyed any grazing or turbary on the lands of his landlord for a period of 6 years or upwards whether by permission of his landlord or otherwise shall be deemed to have acquired an easement or profit a prendre appurtenant to such tenant's holding."

This is to cover cases where tenants had been in occupation of grazing or turbary, chiefly, I think, in the West of Ireland. When the vesting of the holdings came about it transpired that they had no title to the grazing or turbary on account of the fact of the landlord's consent being missing. The circumstances are somewhat similar, I suppose, as in regard to the question of the sub-tenancies which we have already discussed. I would like to have some information from the Parliamentary Secretary on the matter.

What is the meaning of "otherwise" in the second last line?

With his permission or without his permission.

Surely Deputy Gorey knows the meaning of "otherwise"?

I do not think this amendment is necessary. In practice I do not feel it is required at all. Any easements the tenants have enjoyed before vesting are converted by the existing Land Acts into rights and never in my experience has any question arisen as to the length of time the tenants have enjoyed such rights. If such easements were claimed by the tenant and disputed by the landlord, it would be found that the landlord's case was that they were not intended to be enjoyed each year, that they were given for one year or given for some special reason for a limited period. In any event I could not accept the amendment as it appears on the Order Paper because it seeks to convert a six years' user of a grazing or a turbary easement into a prescriptive right for which the law requires twenty years. I am afraid that is far too fundamental a change in law to introduce in a Bill of this character. In practice at the moment no question of the period of years arises. The rights enjoyed by the tenants are vested in them without any question of the length of time during which they have enjoyed these rights.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary be kind enough to be perhaps a little more precise in regard to this matter? The Parliamentary Secretary states that the law requires twenty years to make a title to an easement. Surely the Parliamentary Secretary does not suggest that any number of years will enable a tenant to acquire an easement against his own landlord? I would be very glad to hear if it is suggested that a tenant can by user as against his own landlord, not against somebody else, acquire an easement. The Parliamentary Secretary then seems to suggest that in some magical way what we seek to have done by force of law is done already.

The House might perhaps be interested to know how the tenant can get the benefit, which this amendment would confer upon him under the existing law, unless with the concurrence of the landlord. Of course, if a landlord, for convenience or prompted by any other motive, cares to concede to a purchasing tenant the right that is sought for here, the purchasing tenant need not avail of the power in the amendment, but we desire to provide for a tenant whose landlord is hostile. The landlord who hitherto may have been resident in a mansion, surrounded by a large tenanted estate, may have desired to live on terms of friendship with his tenants. There may have been a good deal of give and take. Now that the relationship of landlord and tenant has been put an end to, what reason is there to think that the landlord in future will be able to extend to people who are not his tenants the facilities he extended to them in the past when they were his tenants? When the Parliamentary Secretary said that this already could be done he did not state how it could be done. If the Parliamentary Secretary is referring to the Act of 1896, I think Section 34 is on lines akin to the lines on which this is drawn, but, of course, you have only to glance at the section of the Act of 1896 to see that while it went a certain distance in aid of the tenant it did not cover all the cases that might be covered by this amendment.

This amendment here is intended to get rid of cases that were not foreseen by the draftsman of the Act of 1896; exception is taken to the period of six years. Six years after all is a long time. It is one year longer than the time that was expected to be sufficient to vest all the land in the Irish Free State in the tenant. Of course, sometimes the view is taken that a period of eight years was all too short. At other times it is suggested that perhaps a period of one year, if you want to antedate something, is too long. What is the objection to six years? Is it the suggestion that it be seven years or that it be seven quarantines? Will the superman of the Party indicate what is the suggestion about the six years? Up to the moment exception is taken to the six years, but we are not told why.

The Parliamentary Secretary, in speaking, seemed to conclude that there was not a great necessity for this amendment, as all this amendment proposes has been already done for the tenants. I know a section of tenants who would be very much interested in this amendment, and unless this amendment is accepted nothing has been done or will be done to give them the facilities they enjoyed for perhaps twenty years prior to the passing of the Land Act of 1923. Tenants had enjoyed the right of common grazing over a rough mountain, also the right to turbary. They have been notified by the Land Commission during last year that that right will probably be allowed to continue, as the Land Commission are taking over that portion of property upon which they had been grazing. But it will mean to these tenants that they will have to pay an additional rent for that right, an additional annuity for the privilege they have enjoyed free for over thirty years. Clearly there should be some interest taken in the tenants. The class of tenants I am speaking of are a section that at least should receive consideration, the congested areas tenants and the holders of uneconomic holdings. To add on an additional annuity to the rent they are at present paying will leave them perhaps in no better position than they were in prior to the passing of the Land Act. This is a state of things which clearly is not fair to these tenants, and it is going very much out of the way to confer a privilege on the landlord. The landlords have given over any rights to this property in so far as they have allowed it to be used by the tenants without interference. From that the House will understand that on this property they have been making nothing for over twenty years. Now the Land Commission is making it an asset for the landlord, and charging an additional annuity to the tenant, thereby removing any advantage the tenant derives from the Land Act. That is clearly not fair to the tenant.

On the matter of turbary there is a strong case that can be made for it. Where the landlord has been letting turbary and property of this sort, perhaps at a charge of 2 shillings a year, the tenants have gone to considerable expense, and have expended considerable labour in draining bogs and making roads for passing to and fro. If the Land Commission purchases this property from the owner unmindful of the fact that there has been a lien of grazing on it for over twenty years and deprives the tenants who have been getting it of turbary, they will deprive them of a considerable amount of money which they put into that property in draining their turf banks. That is the reason why I urge in the interests of justice that the amendment should be accepted in its entirety.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary deny that there have been cases under the 1923 Act where turbary existed before the Act and the Land Commission paid a price for the bog to the landlord and the redemption of the price plus the improvement of the bog have been consolidated with the tenants' annuity. Where free turbary has existed heretofore, is it right that any price, no matter how small, should be paid for the bog, and is it right that improvements on the bog should be also charged to the tenant? Should the improvement of the bog not come under the annual grant given to the improvement of estates? I hope that the mistake that was made under previous Land Acts, where only portion of the turbary was taken over, is not going to be made under the 1923 Act.

Deputy Geoghegan said that a tenant could not get an easement against his landlord. Under Section 34 of the Act of 1896 the tenant can get an easement.

I think I alluded to the section in the Act of 1896, which seemed to have in mind the fact that under the ordinary law a tenant can never prescribe against his landlord, never can get an easement against his landlord by mere user. The Act of 1896 went a certain way in the direction we are going.

In the particular section the Deputy quoted the fact is the tenant can get an easement against the landlord. Perhaps it might not go quite as far as Deputy Derrig has gone in his amendment. I do not consider this amendment necessary at all; in practice it is not required. Any easements which tenants have enjoyed before vesting are by existing Land Acts on purchase converted into rights. No question is ever raised as to the length of time tenants have enjoyed such easements. These cases are dealt with quite frequently, and no such question is ever raised by the Land Commission. I think the amendment proposes a fundamental change in the law, and I could not accept it as it stands. In any event I do not consider it necessary. With regard to Deputy Maguire's remarks the Land Commission, on his own statement, could not possibly deprive the tenants of rights that they enjoyed. Consequently I do not see that the tenants have any grievance whatever against the Land Commission. Under the existing law they cannot deprive them of these rights.

I had occasion to visit the Land Commission last year with regard to property in my constituency. I pointed out that the tenants on it had enjoyed certain privileges for a number of years. After investigation I was informed by the Chief Inspector that he was surprised to find that these rights were given away. He said that notice was being served on the landlord as the Land Commission was about to acquire the property, which was untenanted, for distribution amongst the tenants. When asked if there would be any charge, he stated that there would be, and that the people would get the privilege of grazing at an additional annuity.

That is a matter I know nothing about now. It does not affect the amendment.

It is a very important detail, and this amendment will cover it.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary admit that it is possible to fix an increased rent in respect of grazing rights on such land?

In the absence of particulars, I could not answer that question.

Is that not being done everywhere?

I do not think so.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary not see any substantial reason for converting a mere privilege into a right, because if the tenant has a right against the landlord he has nothing to thank him for? We are dealing with cases where it was given by the express permission of the landlord, where no right could grow up or where it was a mere privilege, and we want to convert that as part of the final land settlement into a right. What is the practical objection to that? Is it expected that the landlord who, for a period of six years has stood by and allowed the tenants to exercise a right like this, intends to go back on it, so as to embarrass the tenant or as a mere matter of spite? Would Deputy Gorey, with his wide experience of the country, suggest any case where he feels it would be unreasonable that a landlord who has allowed something to be exercised as a privilege for a period of six years or upwards by tenants, should have that privilege converted into a legal right as part of the final settlement? The Deputy is probably the warmest supporter of the land owning community on these benches. It is a slight advance on the Act of 1896. It is now 35 years since that Act was passed, and I am sure that Deputy Gorey would be prepared on behalf of the landlords to go a little further than they went in the bad old days.

These are really amendments that were put up to previous Acts except for the words "or otherwise." I do not accept Deputy Geoghegan's suggestion that I am a friend of the landlords.

The landlords ought to be friends of the Deputy's after his performances to-day and yesterday.

On what particular section? This is the usual lawyer's trick. The Deputy will not put his finger on anything. Apart from that I think this amendment has merits where the tenant has been in the possession of certain privileges for a specified period. It should be considered as part of the assets. That privilege would not be given except for certain considerations. It is the same as a voluntary reduction of rent. In the 1923 Act, where a voluntary reduction was given, that was accepted as the basis of right. If it is not in same section already I do not see any reason why it should not be included now.

The representatives of the landlords and the tenants are agreed on the point.

It is only fair to say in all seriousness that Deputy Gorey has put forward the best argument for this amendment. As the Deputy pointed out, it is similar in principle to the abated rent. Instead of payment in cash he is getting it in kind by a sort of concession. I urge on the House that the principle as enunciated by Deputy Gorey is necessary.

I think if the words "or otherwise" were left out the amendment could be accepted.

The Parliamentary Secretary says it is usual in the Land Commission to recognise rights in these cases. What is the objection then to the amendment being made law? No case has been made against it.

Especially in view of the fact that the principle, as pointed out by Deputy Geoghegan and by the Parliamentary Secretary, has already been established by the Act of 1896.

I am prepared to consider this amendment further before the Report Stage.

I think we should pass a vote of thanks to Deputy Gorey.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 75a:—

In sub-section (1), line 49, after the word "turbary" to insert the words "including the right to acquire compulsorily such land or bog from tenants for the purpose of resale."

The object is to give the greatest possible facilities to those people requiring turbary. We very often find that tenants have to travel four or five miles for turbary and in doing so actually pass by a large quantity of turbary lying waste in the same or the next town-land. I also know cases where tenants have been supplied with turbary at a distance from their homes, but owing to want of drainage or convenience of access to this turbary these tenants have to pay a substantial rent for a more convenient supply. This amendment is put down in order to make available for such tenants the most convenient bog. It does not inflict a hardship upon anybody because when a person has a surplus supply of turbary it should be made available for those who want it. Turbary is a very vital matter in the life of every such person and it should be made available for him in the most convenient place.

This amendment is not necessary because the Land Commission already have the widest possible powers under certain sections of the Land Act of 1923 to acquire any bog anywhere particularly under Section 37 where the Land Commission are given very wide powers for the purpose of acquiring bogs. The section reads:

"The powers of the Land Commission under this Act to acquire any untenanted land shall include power so to acquire any bog for the purpose of providing turbary for the occupiers of land in the neighbourhood thereof, whether the said bog is or is not subject to any right of turbary of other persons than the owner, and whether or not an advance under the Land Purchase Acts has been made for the purchase of lands including such bog and if made, whether redeemed or not."

There are other sections also which give the Land Commission very wide powers for the purpose of acquiring bogs, so that the amendment is unnecessary.

I am satisfied that the matter is fairly well covered.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment 76:—

In sub-section (2), after the word "define," line 56, to insert the words "and extend or improve ways and."

The position as regards roads and ways which have fallen into disrepair seems to a number of Deputies on this side of the House to call for attention, and I put down the amendment in order to get a statement from the Parliamentary Secretary on the question. I notice that under Section 22 of the Land Act of 1927 the Land Commission have powers to expend moneys, even after vesting, on improvements, except that the expenditure in that case is generally to be recovered as an annuity from the tenants who benefit. There are a great many complaints from all parts of the country about roads, long lanes, or boreens, or perhaps roads which might be link roads, which are of a semi-public character. Whatever class of roads they are, the Land Commission had a responsibility for them at one time. They have now fallen into disrepair. The number of tenants who use these roads is generally very small. You may have only one tenant, or perhaps six tenants, at the end of a long boreen of one or two miles. Unless some steps are taken to put these roads into repair it is beyond the power of the tenants to do it. I understand from Deputy O'Reilly that in his constituency there are cases of ways, which might not be described as boreens, leading to villages, but which are semi-public ways. We want to press the question of the repair of these roads and of putting them into a proper condition. Where they have fallen into disrepair owing to circumstances over which the tenants have no control, if the Land Commission now put them in a satisfactory condition I think the tenants would undertake to maintain them. The trouble is that they are not in a position to undertake the entire expenditure necessary.

I am not quite clear what the Deputy means by his amendment, but if he wants me to accept it I can tell him here and now that I will, with the possible exception of the word "extend," which is not required.

The point as to the word "extend" is that where you had carts, for example, on these boreens you may now, in some cases, have machinery, and the idea is that you will have to extend.

I am willing to accept the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 38, as amended, agreed to.
(1) Where untenanted land has or shall hereafter become vested in the Land Commission on the appointed day under the Land Act, 1923, and such untenanted land was or is then rated in conjunction with other land to poor rate or any other rate, the Land Commission may apportion between such untenanted land and such other land all poor rate and other rate made or assessed in respect of all such land for the local financial year current on the appointed day, and in making such apportionment the Land Commission shall have regard to the respective values of such untenanted land and such other land and to all other relevant circumstances.
(2) Where rates are apportioned by the Land Commission under this section between untenanted land and other land, the proportion of such rates so apportioned to such untenanted land shall alone be deemed to have been made or assessed in respect of such untenanted land within the meaning of sub-section (1) of Section 18 of the Land Act, 1927, and that section shall be construed and have effect accordingly.

I move amendment 77:—

In sub-section (1), page 20, lines 21 and 22, to delete all from the words "the Land" in line 21, to the words "other Land" in line 22, and in line 24, after the words "appointed day" to insert the words "shall be apportioned between such untenanted land and such other land", and to delete all from the word "and" in line 24 to the end of the sub-section.

This is a drafting amendment. The apportionment of rates has to be made at the request of the Land Commission and it is not by them as is provided in the section. It requires an alteration of the wording to make the meaning quite clear.

Amendment agreed to.
The following amendment was also agreed to:—
In sub-section (2), page 20, line 28, to delete the words "by the Land Commission" and in line 29, after the words "untenanted land" to insert the words "vested in the Land Commission."—(Mr. Roddy.)
Question put: "That Section 39, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

There does not seem to be any principle laid down in this section as to how the apportionment is to be made. It is an extraordinary thing that the Parliamentary Secretary has made no provision for an appeal on behalf of the occupier of the untenanted land.

This really follows the ordinary law. The apportionment of the rates is not a matter for the Land Commission but for the valuation authorities. There are certain laws relating to the fixation of rates.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 40 stand part of the Bill."

May I ask on a point of information what is the meaning of the words in line 36 in brackets "other than a holding to which the Land Act, 1923, applies"?

They are already covered, of course. This section only applies to the resumption of either a portion or the whole of a holding on a Congested Districts Board estate.

Question put and agreed to.
(3) Where a parcel of untenanted land becomes vested in the Land Commission by virtue of an order made under this section, the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say:—
(a) the owner of such parcel shall be deemed to have entered on the appointed day into a subsequent purchase agreement for the purchase of such parcel as if it were a holding held by such owner at the rent payable by him in respect of such parcel;
(b) arrears of the rent payable by such owner in respect of such parcel which accrued due on or before the first gale day in the year 1927 and are unpaid on the appointed day shall not be payable by such owner;
(c) arrears of the said rent which accrued due after the first gale day in the year 1927 and before the appointed day and are unpaid on the appointed day together with an apportioned gale of such rent from the last gale day before the appointed day up to the appointed day shall be compounded by the addition of compounded arrears of rent (calculated as hereinafter mentioned) to the purchase money of such parcel;
(d) the amount of the compounded arrears of rent so to be added to such purchase money shall be seventy-five per cent. of the arrears of rent and apportioned gale of rent so to be compounded.
(4) Applications to the Land Commission for an order under sub-section (1) of this section shall be heard and decided by the Land Commissioners other than the Judicial Commissioner and an appeal shall lie to the Judicial Commissioner from the decision of the other Commissioners on any such application (including any apportionment or exclusive charge of a rent) and the decision of the Judicial Commissioner on such appeal shall be final.

I move amendment 80:—

In page 20, before Section 41, to insert a new section as follows:—

"Where, in the opinion of the Court, it would be inequitable that the Land Commission should resume a holding or part of a holding on payment to the tenant of compensation fixed on the basis on which resumption prices have heretofore been fixed, the Court in fixing the compensation in respect of such resumption may include therein compensation to the tenant for disturbance, and also may have regard not only to the value of the land to be resumed, but also to the damage, if any, which will be sustained by the tenant by reason of the resumption of the lands as affecting his user of other lands or otherwise causing injury to such other lands."

Does not this introduce a new principle altogether? Is it contended that the resumption price which now holds for the purchase of land in this case is not sufficient, and that an additional price in the form of compensation for disturbance should be introduced. We must have regard to the fact that in this matter the incoming tenant will, I take it, be responsible, and I think there is no proof that the burden of the incoming tenant is not sufficiently high already. The price that has to be paid for the land when it is resuming is sufficiently high and is in the nature of a competitive price. By the time the tenant has paid for all the improvements and so on in addition to this competitive price, I think he is sufficiently saddled with expenditure. A new principle entirely is now introduced, and it seems to me a principle introduced without any legislation whatsoever, that is the principle of compensation to the tenant for disturbance. Either the State is going to pay or the incoming tenant is going to pay. I take it the incoming tenant will have to pay. I say that on the face of it the amendment does not recommend itself to us.

If we take the case of a farm bought out under previous Acts on which there is already an annuity, the price paid for that brings up the annuity much higher than the annuity on the adjoining land in the same locality. The experience we have had is that on land taken over, say, of five or six hundred acres, on which there is an annuity, the price paid for the redemption of the old purchase money and the compensation to the owner, plus the annuity, is nearly twice as much as the annuities paid on the other side of the ditch, and, perhaps, for better land or land equally as good. If, as Deputy Derrig says, a new principle is to be introduced and there is to be compensation for disturbance and that is added to the annuity the new tenant will not be able to hold the land at all.

This is not a question of compensating the landlord, but a question of compensating the occupying tenant at the time. If we are not going to adopt that principle it is better to be quite candid about it and say that the principle of tenant right shall cease. If a tenant in that position has no right to sell or be compensated, which has always been the custom of the country——

Not for untenanted land.

I am talking about tenanted land.

But this is about untenanted land.

The new sub-section does not deal with untenanted land; it deals with tenanted land. Is there any question about that?

If Deputy Derrig wants to continue his opposition on those lines, well and good——

Is Deputy Gorey not satisfied that the resumption price is sufficient to compensate the tenant? Surely if the resumption price is fixed in the court all these circumstances will be taken into consideration? I see here a new principle which can be carried to limits that would be very undesirable apart from the fact that it is imposing a burden upon the incoming tenant. We are definitely against that.

Any rights the outgoing tenant had are to be done away with. Does the Deputy imply that—that the interest of the outgoing tenant is to be done away with? If that is the policy of the Fianna Fáil Party they had better say so and let there not be any hedging about it. The country is very anxious to know at the moment what is their attitude upon this question. Does anybody suggest that land bearing an annuity is not worth, in the market, a considerable amount of money at the present market value, and that the tenant should not be compensated for disturbance except to the actual value of the holding? If that new principle is to be adopted, let it be adopted in plain words and let the country be told about it. I am quite satisfied to have plain speaking on the matter and no hedging.

I submit that the marginal title of the section is untenanted land.

It is amendment No. 80 we are discussing.

I seriously contend, and the Parliamentary Secretary can explain it, that nobody contemplates taking over a tenanted farm. It is an untenanted farm, with perhaps an annuity on it. It does not deal with a residential farm.

I am not talking of that. Let the Deputy read the sub-section.

It does not refer to a residential farm.

Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary will explain.

First of all, in order to clear Deputy Kennedy's mind, I may say this section relates to tenanted land only.

Does it deal with residential tenanted land?

It deals with tenanted land of all classes.

Is there not provision in the Land Acts that if residential tenanted land is taken over the person who occupied it will get land somewhere else?

This is not residential land at all. It is not subject to Land Commission annuities. It merely empowers a court, in fixing the resumption price of a holding, to allow in such cases, if the justice of the cases require it, some compensation in addition to the market value of the holding. As the law stands at present, the court is constrained to give the market value. The resumption price at present is fixed by the Land Act of 1881.

The court in fixing resumption prices must be guided entirely by that Act. The market value is really what the holdings would fetch in the open market and no more. Owing to various economic circumstances the market value may, at the time the holding is resumed, be unduly low. Prices may be bad, and there may be no demand for holdings of the size that it is proposed to resume. If the owner desired to sell in the ordinary way, if he were a prudent man he would certainly postpone the sale of the holding until such time as the market prices improved. The section really proposes to empower the court, in certain extreme cases, to give additional compensation for disturbance or injury. That additional compensation will be borne by the State. The tenant will not have to bear any portion of it in his annuity.

Is that the law already?

No, that is the proposal in this sub-section.

Surely the argument of the Parliamentary Secretary is that the Land Commission must make provision to give higher prices than the market value for the land that is to be resumed. That is the statement the Parliamentary Secretary has made now. Are we to take it that the new principle that is to be embarked on now, with the support of Deputy Gorey, is that higher prices than the market value are to be given for the land? That is the statement the Parliamentary Secretary has made in defence of this section. Am I to take it that Deputy Gorey is supporting an amendment of that kind?

Yes, when you force a man out of possession.

When it is done in the interests of the community, and the man is forced out of possession, are you to give him the big prices of say 1918 while in 1931 the price has depreciated?

I am not talking about 1918 prices at all.

The argument is that you are to give more than the market prices.

Not more than the market price.

I cannot understand why Deputy Gorey should support an amendment of that kind. I have heard the Deputy pleading for more delay in the purchase of estates until the price of land would depreciate more.

That is right.

Now we find Deputy Gorey supporting an amendment which enables the Land Commission to give higher prices than the market prices. Surely Deputy Gorey will have to admit, if he knows anything at all about the question of the taking over of land, that very much higher prices than the market value of the land are being given at present, with the result that the tenants, when they come into possession afterwards, find it hard to carry on, and many of them have to give it up. I do not think that Deputy Gorey is really serious in supporting this amendment.

He is very serious in it.

If the Deputy is serious I take it I was mistaken as regards his gesture of goodwill, which he made a few moments ago, in forcing the Parliamentary Secretary to accede to the amendment of Deputy Derrig. I thought he did that in the interests of the tenants, but I think now I must have been mistaken.

It is not in the interests of the landlords; it is in the interests of the tenants.

Very well—a tenant who is a landlord much of the Deputy Gorey type. We know very well that if Deputy Gorey were being forced out of his estate by the Land Commission that he would be anxious to get a higher price than the market value. This is an amendment in which he is interested, not that I hope he is going to sell out and leave the State. There would be a vacant space left in after his exit. A very serious case was made for this amendment by the Parliamentary Secretary. The Parliamentary Secretary knows his business. I believe myself that if the Minister who introduced this amendment did not make his debut in this amendment it would be better for it. This is a most unfortunate incursion of the Minister. If the Parliamentary Secretary were left to himself, coming as he does from the West of Ireland and knowing what congestion means, it would be better for the Bill. The Parliamentary Secretary has not become so Dublinised as the Minister for Lands and Fisheries. If the Minister had known the position in the West of Ireland he would never have introduced this amendment here. That amendment is one that the Parliamentary Secretary would not himself have brought in, because his experience in the West of Ireland, time after time, is that complaints of the rents or annuities have been made by the tenants who are put into possession of holdings that have been resumed by the Land Commission. The complaints always are that the annuity fixed on the holding is too high. Are we in this Bill, which is going to put the coping stone on all previous Land Bills, to give power to the Land Commission to raise the price of the land that they are taking over and to raise it above the market price?

It is very poor consolation to Deputy Gorey who is a taxpayer to say that the State is going to pay. It would be even more just to say that the incoming tenant must pay and not the State. I think it is unfair to Deputy Gorey to make him bear part of the burdens of the higher price which is going to be given to some landlord for the disturbance of a lifetime in putting him out of his land. If Deputy Gorey is in earnest he should restrict or take something from this tenant, and see that this incoming tenant would pay, and that it would not fall on Deputy Gorey or the State. If Deputy Gorey is anxious to bear his part of the burden of the extra cost as an act of restitution to the small farmers and to the uneconomic land holders of the West of Ireland, we accept it in the spirit in which it is given, but we do not think it wise. We think there could be a better gesture of restitution made by Deputy Gorey. For instance he could come to this side of the House. That would be accepted as a greater act of restitution than this gesture of forcing the Land Commission to raise the price of land. Besides when it comes to that and the Land Commission or some friend of the gentleman who is being dispossessed, makes the case that he is not getting enough money, but that there is a section in the Act which gives power to give more, how are you to calculate what he is to get for this disturbance? What exactly does disturbance mean? Is it the transportation of the tenant from one holding to a holding in some other part of the State? Is it based on the number of his family? Where are you to draw the line? Is it to be based on his standing with the heads of the Freemason organisation or is it to be based on his standing as a good sterling Catholic? Where and in what manner are you to base the price of that disturbance? I think you are going on very slippery ground in passing or supporting this amendment. If the amendment is what the Parliamentary Secretary said it was, it is a very wrong amendment. We would not like to see Deputy Gorey making restitution in this way by helping to have an amendment of this kind carried.

I think the reason for this amendment would be that it was found in practice that the method previously adopted did not give a fair or equitable price to the tenant of a resumed holding in certain parts of the country. We have come back to the Act of 1881. There was a section in the Act of 1881 which gave the landlord leave to resume if he satisfied the court that he had a good and sufficient reason for resuming the tenant's holding. The section went on further to say that the tenants would get the market price. That meant sale in a free market with unlimited competition— the price he would get in these circumstances. The tenant under the Act had free sale and fixity of tenure. Now we come to the basis of compensation to the tenant under this Bill. There was embodied in the Act of 1923 the section I speak of, Section 6 of the Act of 1881. The only difference was that the words "Judicial Commissioner" were put in instead of "courts." I want to show how that affects certain parts of the country. In certain parts of the country where there would be a number of what are called retained holdings, if a tenant would offer one of these holdings for sale, a vested holder or a tenant who had signed a purchase agreement for £3,000 or over could not buy or, at least if he did buy, he bought at a very considerable risk, for the holding would be resumed within a very short period. The holding may be resumed if he took the risk of buying it. Neither could the tenant of a retained holding make an offer for it because his difficulty is to get an advance from the Land Commission sufficient to buy his own holding. I think that ought to satisfy Deputy Clery that in these circumstances there would be limited competition.

Also it had another blot. If any of these people bought that holding to-morrow or within a year or two after the purchase, that holding might be resumed by the Land Commission, so that the tenant, instead of selling under the advantages he got under the Act of 1881—free sale and fixity of tenure—had to sell with very restricted competition and uncertainty of tenure. I put it to any reasonable person in the House that the market value under the two conditions which I have explained to the House would be very different things; in the one case an auction with free sale and fixity of tenure, on the other an auction with restricted competition and uncertainty of tenure. That is the position. I think the reason I have given is to enable the court under the Act of 1881, and the judge under this Act where these conditions prevail, to give what would be a moderately fair price to the tenant, and not confiscate the tenant's property altogether.

I wonder what class of land is it intended under this section to resume? Am I to take it that it is now the intention of the Parliamentary Secretary to resume the 361 acres they gave to a district justice in Tipperary, and that he is going to be compensated under this section? Is that the special land that is going to be resumed? I can see no portion of this new section which provides that the tenant will not have to bear the burden of the extra money which is going to be paid out. No portion of this section states that the burden is going to be borne by the State. I was wondering what induced the Parliamentary Secretary to put in this special section until I saw Deputy Mathews get up. I am surprised that there was not an amendment down by Deputy Cole, but apparently the landlords' Party decided in this case it would come better from the Parliamentary Secretary himself. The majority of those estates which have been taken over and of the tenanted land which has been taken over by the Land Commission has resulted in rents being placed on the tenants which are entirely beyond the power of the tenants to pay. Those of us who know farming conditions at the present day know that it is very difficult for farmers to pay their annuities and to keep their families. Now it is proposed to pile more charges on to them and make their position impossible. Anxious as we are to get rid of the ranches, getting rid of them at the price is not worth it. I would prefer to see the ranches left there until a Government would come in that would be prepared to deal with them in the way they should be dealt with, not a Government that is going to pay them a price for their land first and then compensation for disturbance. What really happened in regard to this Land Bill is, first, the Parliamentary Secretary did his best to improve on the Land Bill which we brought in in 1929, and when he was finished with it he called in the landlords' party, and they put in extra provisoes, and the whole thing mopped up together was made into a Bill and brought in here.

That is the only thing that I can see about it. I cannot believe that the Parliamentary Secretary in any sane moment believes in some of the section brought in here to-night. The idea of adding to the annuity, first of all, the price that would be paid to the tenant as compensation and, secondly, the extra damage that would be caused to the tenant, will surely raise the annuity on that land to a price which the tenant cannot pay. I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to explain in what portion of this section provision is made for relieving the incoming tenant of his extra burden and what portion of it says that some of it will be borne by the State.

This is altogether an unnecessary section. Deputy Gorey tried to lead us to believe that the Land Commission were about to go around to residential farms like his own and take them.

They would never take mine.

The meaning of this provision is this: take an estate like the Kilwarden estate with 2,000 acres, most of which has been grabbed. Annuities are paid on some of it and more of it is fee farm land. Portion of that is taken from the owner and given back to the people who were evicted from it. Will Deputy Gorey contend that there is hardship on the owner in that case? Does the individual who has portion of his 2,000 acres taken from him in that case suffer hardship where there are only a couple of herds employed?

Is it tenanted land?

Yes. 2,000 acres.

I do not believe it.

Does the Deputy contend that the court in fixing the compensation to be paid to that particular grabber in respect of such resumption may include therein compensation to him for such disturbance? That is the contention which Deputy Gorey puts up. He is to be pitied. The Parliamentary Secretary is making provision for that particular type whether the land is attached or unattached to that particular estate. I take it that it is unattached, that it is dealt with separately. The amendment provides for extra compensation for this particular type of person who is no good to the community whatever and who, as I said in reply to Deputy Mathews, has made a wilderness of County Meath, the finest country in Ireland. Deputy Mathews talks about fixity of tenure and fair sale, but the people who enunciated those principles certainly had not in mind the type of farmer whom Deputy Mathews represents. It would make them turn in their grave if they thought that they fought for those principles for the type of grabber and grazier whom that Deputy represents. The Bill should be concerned with small farmers, working farmers, and farmers who give employment, and not with the grazier and grabber whom the Bill in many of its clauses is intended to facilitate.

There is a certain convention in this House in which one member of a party listens with a good deal of tolerance to what is said on his own side and hears, possibly, speeches with which he disagrees and, unless he is moved by what may be called a vital difference of opinion, hesitates to intervene. Quite frankly, however, I feel that the ordinary bounds of party loyalty in this case have been somewhat overstrained. I have listened to speeches from Deputy Kennedy, Deputy Clery, and Deputy Corry, and I desire to dissociate myself in the strongest possible manner from those speeches. Through those speeches there runs a deliberate and, I think, a conscious ignoring of the supreme achievement represented by the action of the Minister for Fisheries and by the amendment of that Minister. The Minister has achieved the impossible. He has done something which the massed brains and the information of the whole Department behind the Parliamentary Secretary have failed to do. He has done something which the brains of the Parliamentary Secretary have been incapable of doing. He has done something which the massed intelligence of the Farmers' Party has not been able to do—he has made a rotten Bill worse.

This amendment is not very easy to understand, because I have an idea that if it is passed the result will be that the division of land can be held up to a large extent. Towards the end of the amendment it talks about a second farm. There could have been a third farm. The result of the compensation clause would be that it would be impossible for the Land Commission to take land over and divide it at anything that would be like an economic price to-day. Therefore I take it that the whole result would be that the land could not be acquired. I have no idea as to what quantity of land would be in the position which this amendment is intended to cover. I move to report progress.

Progress reported.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m., Friday, March 13th.