Housing (Gaeltacht) (Amendment) Bill, 1948—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. This Bill is being introduced to amend and extend the Housing (Gaeltacht) Acts 1929 and 1934 and to repeal the Housing (Gaeltacht) (Amendment) Act, 1939. The general purpose of this measure is to make more money available for Gaeltacht Housing and to bring the level of the grants available under the Housing (Gaeltacht) Acts into line with the revised grants for which provision has been made under the Housing (Amendment) Act, 1948.

The Housing (Gaeltacht) Act, 1929, which was the first and principal Act passed by the Oireachtas to cater for the special housing requirements of the Gaeltacht, made provision in respect of grants and loans for one quarter of a million pounds (£250,000). Subsequently under the amending Acts of 1931, 1934 and 1939 further moneys were made available which brought the aggregate sum by way of grants and loans for housing in the Gaeltacht to three-quarters of a million pounds (£750,000). Under the present Bill it is proposed to increase this amount by a further sum of one hundred and fifty thousand pounds (£150,000), thus increasing the aggregate amount available under the Acts to nine hundred thousand pounds (£900,000). This is being done under Section 2 of the Bill. The balance remaining from the £750,000 referred to is approximately £90,000. This balance together with the provision of £150,000 proposed under this Bill, will give us a total provision of £240,000 for new grants and loans for housing in the Gaeltacht.

As Deputies are no doubt aware, the grants available under the Housing (Gaeltacht) Acts for persons erecting houses for their own occupation were up to the time of the passing of the Housing (Amendment) Act, 1948, greater than those obtainable under the general Housing Acts. By Section 3 of this Bill I propose to restore the differential in favour of applicants from the Gaeltacht. Under sub-section (1) (a) of Section 3, I propose to increase the grants in respect of dwelling-houses, the erection of which commenced on or after the 1st day of November, 1947, to the sums specified in the First Schedule to this Bill. The maximum grants which could be made heretofore were related to the aggregate rateable value of all the property of the applicant. They were: (a) £90 where the aggregate rateable value did not exceed £5, (b) £85 where the aggregate rateable value exceeded £5 but did not exceed £10 and (c) £80 where the aggregate rateable value exceeded £10. For the future, I propose that the making of grants on a valuation basis shall be discontinued in respect of applications sanctioned under Section 3 of this Bill, and that the grants in respect of dwelling-houses the erection of which commenced on or after 1st November, 1947, will be as follows: Where sewerage and piped water supply are not available: (a) for a house with three rooms, £150; (b) for a house with four rooms, £200; and (c) for a house with five rooms or more, £250. For similar roomed houses where sewerage and piped water supply are available, the grants will be (a) £200, (b) £250, and (c) £300.

The maximum improving grant under the present Acts is £40. Sub-section (1) (b) of Section 3 provides for the increase of this improving grant to a maximum of £80, in the case of an improvement or extension commenced on or after 1st November, 1947.

The new housing grants of sub-section (1) (a) of Section 3 represent an increase in each case of £25 over and above the maximum grants available for similar houses under the Housing (Amendment) Act of 1948. The increased improving grant provided for in sub-section (1) (b) of Section 3 is the same as that available under that Act.

Sub-section (2) of Section 3 makes provision for grants in respect of dwelling-houses the erection of which commenced on or after the 1st November, 1945, but which were not occupied on or before 1st November, 1947. The amounts of these grants, which are specified in the Second Schedule to this Bill, will be as follows:— Where sewerage and piped water supply are not available (a) for a house with three rooms, £105; (b) for a house with four rooms, £140; and (c) for a house with five rooms or more, £175. For similar roomed houses where sewerage and piped water supply are available the grants will be (a) £140; (b) £175 and (c) £210. These grants, which are to be made available irrespective of rateable values, represent an increase in each case of £17 10s. over and above the maximum grants available in similar cases under the Housing (Amendment) Act, 1948.

I also propose in this Bill to increase the amount in the case of an improving grant where the application therefor was made before the 1st day of November, 1947, and where the improvement or extension, in respect of which the application was made, was commenced but not completed before the 1st November, 1947. In sub-section (3) (a) and (b) of Section 3, I am making a provision to have the improving grant in such cases increased to £60. This is in line with what has been done under the Housing (Amendment) Act, 1948.

Sub-section (4) of Section 3 is self-explanatory. As I mentioned earlier, I propose that the making of grants by reference to aggregate rateable value will be discontinued in respect of future sanctions. This sub-section is inserted to cover my proposal in this regard. It provides that the amount of any grant which may be sanctioned under Section 3 of this Bill will not be subject to the limitations imposed by the relevant sections of the 1929 and 1934 Acts, whereby the amount of the individual grant was governed by the aggregate rateable value of all the property of the applicant.

As the Acts stand at present, a person to whom a grant has been made may also be provided with a loan when it is apparent that the assistance given by way of grant is not sufficient to enable the work of house erection or improvement to be undertaken. In the case of the erection of a new dwellinghouse the maximum loan which may be sanctioned at present is £80. I propose in Section 4 to increase the amount of this loan to a new maximum of £100. In this connection, I am providing in the Second Schedule of this Bill for the repeal of sub-section (2) of Section 3 of the 1934 Act which limited the aggregate amount of building grant and loan in any individual case to £160, as such provision could no longer apply in the altered circumstances. No change is being made in the amount of the maximum loan of £40 which is available in cases of improvement or extension of existing dwelling-houses.

Section 5 provides for the cessation, after the enactment of this Bill, of the sanctioning of grants for the erection of poultry-houses and piggeries. In order to provide for any cases where the sanction has already been issued and where the work has not so far been completed the relative sections in the 1929 Act are not being repealed. The Minister for Agriculture has agreed that provision in the Housing (Gaeltacht) Acts for grants for poultry-houses and piggeries is no longer necessary in view of the general farm buildings scheme being administered by his Department, under which larger grants are available than those provided for under the Housing (Gaeltacht) Acts.

Following on Section 5, provision is being made in Section 6 to repeal sub-sections (2) and (3) of Section 7 of the 1929 Act.

These sub-sections refer to poultry-houses and piggeries and made the granting of assistance for house erection or improvement conditional on the provision of suitable accommodation for the keeping of poultry and pigs. Under Section 6, the whole of the 1939 Act is also being repealed. This Act dealt only with the aggregate amount provided by the Oireachtas for grants and loans, and is now superseded by Section 2 of the present Bill.

I would like to be quite clear on a few points. I assume that this Bill is to bring Gaeltacht housing into line with the ordinary Housing Acts in the Gaeltacht, plus certain additional grants or loans. Is that not correct? I am speaking to the Minister through you, Sir.

Are not Gaeltacht grants larger than those under the other Acts?

How much?

You are referring to the 1948 Act?

Is there any other Act to talk about?

There are previous Gaeltacht Acts.

Is there an increase in the reconstruction grants?

Did I hear the Minister say that the minimum loan will be £100, or is that the maximum?

The maximum.

It is proposed then to continue the housing activities of the Land Commission in relation to the Gaeltacht and they are not going to be absorbed into the Local Government Department?

It is going to be administered by the Gaeltacht Services.

Has the Land Commission got a staff in Gaeltacht Services?

There is sufficient staff.

The one great difficulty I find in rural areas with regard to housing by the small farmer or labourer who is enterprising enough to build a house for himself is the difficulty of getting materials. Some time ago when building costs were not so high and materials were in better supply, it was possible for a man intending to build a house to make arrangements with the local builders' provider to get materials. That is no longer possible.

Everywhere I find complaints from small farmers and labourers that they are unable to avail themselves of the grant or carry on their building because of the fact that they are unable to get material on credit from builders' providers. That position obtains in my constituency, and I must assume that in poorer districts, such as the Gaeltacht, the difficulty is accentuated. There used to be a system whereby certain contractors were appointed by the Gaeltacht Services under which it was possible for a man building a house in the Gaeltacht to get credits that were not available in any other part of the country. I sincerely wish that the Minister will be able to ensure that such a system will obtain again. There were certain people appointed in the Gaeltacht or, perhaps, I should say for the Gaeltacht, who were regarded as contractors and who would supply materials on credit to people building. Now, since it has become impossible for people elsewhere to get such credit, I assume that this difficulty in the matter of credit is accentuated in the Gaeltacht. The whole thing will be a complete failure unless the Minister again appoints these contractors, or in some other way ensures that people who intend to build houses can get the materials that they require on credit.

Cuirim fáilte roimh an Bhille seo agus traoslaím don Aire ar é a chur roimh an Dáil. Tá buíochas mhuintir na Gaeltachta tuillte aige as an Bhille seo a thabhairt dúinn nó dhéanfaidh sé maith mhór do na ceantair bhochta sin.

Tá sé anois fiche bliain díreach ó tugadh isteach an chéad Bhille den chineál seo agus is iomú athrú a tháinig ar an tsaol ó shoin. Níl amhras narbh é sin ceann de na hAchta ab fhearr a tugadh isteach sa Dáil seo ar mhaithe le muintir na Gaeltachta. Tugadh amach na céadta muiríneacha as sean-tithe salacha mí-fholláine agus tugadh tithe nua glana téagartha dóibh.

Molaim an Bille go mór. Is céim ar aghaidh é ar an chasán ceart. Tá súil agam go mbroslóidh sagairt, dochtúirí agus oidí scoile muintir na Gealtachta le iomlán tairbhe a bhaint as an Bhille seo. Chuir na tithe seo cúl ar thinneas agus aicídeacha agus thug siad saol úr agus sláinte do shean agus óg a rinne cónaí iontu.

Is maith is cuimhin liom fiche blian ó shoin an troid agus an saothar mór a chuir an Teachta O Mongáin as féin le deontais maithe d'fháil do dhaoine bochta an iarthair. D'éirigh linn deontas cheithre scór punt d'fháil nuair a tugadh isteach an chéad Bhille fiche blian ó shoin. Dar linn gur mhaíth an deontas an méid sin san am a bhí ann. Acht anois tá deontais suas go dtí £300 le fáil— deontais fiúntacha fearúla mar bheitheá ag dréim leis ó fhear mhór-chroíoch fláithiúil mar an tAire. Tá cheithre scór anois ar theach a dheisiú agus má tá iasacht a dhíobháil tá £100 le fáil do réir an Bhille. Ansin beidh an teach úr saor ó ghearradh ar feadh fiche blian ach cibé gearradh a bhí ar an sean-teach beidh croí agus uchtach ag na daoine bochta tithe a thógáil sa Ghealtacht anois nuair atá an rialtas ag tabhairt cuideadh chomh fiúntach dóibh. Is feasach dom féin mórán t'aos óg sa Ghealtacht a phósfadh dá mbeadh teach cónaí acu. Acht ní riarfaidh an Bille seo dóibh mura gcuirtear leasú leis. Caithfidh siad fanacht go bhfuighidh an tseanbhunadh bas.

The Housing (Gaeltacht) (Amendment) Bill now before the House will be welcomed generally by the people of the Gaeltacht. They have waited a considerable time for its introduction. The soaring costs of building materials nullified, to a large extent, the provisions in the previous Bill. As soon as the war began that Bill was of little assistance to anybody who wished to build a house. In view of the fact that the price of building materials continued to soar, we in the Gaeltacht felt that the Minister in this Bill would have gone further in the matter of grants and loans. We welcome the increases, but in view of the fact that the Minister is dealing with people of very small valuations—dealing with landholders whose average valuation in the Donegal Gaeltacht is about 30/—one would have imagined that he would err on the side of generosity in the Bill before us, which I may say, has been so very long delayed.

The Gaeltacht Housing Act was of great benefit to the Gaeltacht. As visitors to that area will have observed, it has changed the outlook there considerably. It has had the effect of providing really decent comfortable houses in place of the insanitary dwellings in which people had to reside prior to its introduction. I hope that the Bill now before the House will have the same success as the earlier Act. In saying that I ask the Minister to ensure that there is as little red tape as possible connected with the administration of this measure, and that in all cases he will speed up the issue of building certificates. Now, if housing certificates under this measure are to be issued at the same speed as they are being issued under the Local Government (Housing) Act, I am afraid that the people in the Gaeltacht will derive very little benefit from this Bill when it becomes an Act. The issue of building certificates under the Local Government (Housing) Act is proceeding very, very slowly.

I would also ask the Minister to see that the grants are paid speedily. The Minister, as I have said, will be dealing with people who have very little of this world's goods. They cannot afford to sink a lot of money in the erection of a house unless the grants promised by the Government are speedily forthcoming. What, in my opinion, will make or mar this Bill is the speed at which grants are made available. If the people of the Gaeltacht find that the grants are being held up in the same way as they are under the Local Government (Housing) Act then I am afraid that the housing drive under this measure will be a very small one. I welcome the Bill and I congratulate the Minister, but I am very sorry that, in the matter of grants and loans, he has not gone further when dealing with the people of the Gaeltacht.

The Deputy who has just sat down said that we have waited a considerable time for the introduction of this Bill. We have, but the fault did not lie with the present Minister or the present Government. At the time that the last Government increased the grants for ordinary housing schemes, I fail to see why they did not make the provision for housing in the Gaeltacht that the Minister for Lands is now making. I think it was a very serious matter that that did not take place at that time. It was a source of grievance for the people living in the Gaeltacht and it has inflicted on them a hardship which they do not deserve.

For those people who live in difficult conditions every provision should be made. They should be given an opportunity of securing decent housing conditions. That would be an incentive to keep them in the Gaeltacht areas and not have them, as they were for some years past, flying from those districts.

It is worse than ever now.

I can assure you that the provision the Minister is now making for them will help to brighten their lives. I fail to see why in the past something was not done in connection with the building of Gaeltacht houses. I also fail to see that more people are leaving the Gaeltacht now than the 150,000 who left during the 16 years the last Government was in power.

The Deputy must confine himself to the Bill.

How many left these areas during the past ten months?

I would not refer to the numbers who left the Gaeltacht if it were not for the interjection of the Deputy. The questions asked by Deputy Moylan were rather peculiar, coming as they did from the man who was responsible for this Department during the period his Party was in power. If he did as well during his time as the Minister is doing now, we would have better housing conditions in the Gaeltacht.

It is a good point in this Bill that the farm building scheme will apply to the Gaeltacht and there will be better loans and grants for that purpose. It will not be compulsory on people to build poultry houses or piggeries, as was the case before.

When inspectors visit the homes of those people who intend to build Gaeltacht houses, they are sometimes very strict about the Irish language. I have known cases where they were unfair in their rewards because of the language. You can scarcely expect at this time, when the Irish language is declining, that all the household would have a thorough knowledge of it, but some inspectors insist on that before a grant is given. I think the inspectors should use more common sense in that respect.

I congratulate the Minister on introducing this Bill. He has brought it in at the earliest possible moment, and I feel sure that when it is enacted everything possible will be done to speed up the building of houses in the Gaeltacht.

I welcome this legislation. I ask the Minister, in view of the fact that the Land Commission have decided not to pursue housing schemes, to give special consideration to the requirements in my area in County Kerry.

Does the Deputy say that they have decided not to pursue housing schemes?

Yes. Applications were made on behalf of a few people who had been allotted land and who, in pre-war days, would be entitled to a house. They were informed that for the present the Land Commission do not propose to go ahead with the building of houses for these people. I am making the point that, if that is so, these people might be given an opportunity of obtaining houses under this particular legislation.

I entirely agree with Deputy Palmer with regard to inspectors. I know of a case where the inspector refused to sanction a grant because the lady of the house did not have Irish, although other members of the household spoke excellent Irish.

I do not think this debate should develop along the lines of a discussion of the administration of a previous Act.

I am merely pointing out what happened, so as to prevent anything similar happening in the future. There are cases where sanction was given under previous legislation for the building of houses, but the war intervened and the people could not go ahead. I would like those people to qualify now under this measure. They were granted certain concessions a year or two years ago. A few of them commenced operations but they had to postpone the work. I ask that these people should be given the maximum grant now. These cases should be reviewed and these people should be allowed to qualify for the maximum amount available under this legislation. There are such people in my district, and I make that case on their behalf.

I observe a great improvement in this measure. The grants have been increased. It is legislation that undoubtedly will be welcomed in the country and I must congratulate the Minister on its introduction.

This Bill deserves to be welcomed in so far as it remedies the unfair position that existed. There is this difficulty, that one had hopes of better financial provisions. This Bill, as it reads now, gives a person building a house in the Gaeltacht £15 more than that person would receive if he were building a house under the Local Government Housing Act through a public utility society. In the case of a reconstruction grant, it gives just a similar amount, £80. I suggest to the Minister that the reconstruction grant should be raised. If £80 was the amount provided under the Local Government Housing Act, I suggest that the amount should be increased when we are dealing with places like Gaeltacht areas.

What I am more anxious about is that one of the great advantages of the earlier Act was that materials were provided for applicants anxious to build houses. There was a contract on behalf of Gaeltacht Services with the merchants to supply the materials. I should like that system to continue, because there was definitely a benefit for the applicants there. I suggest that materials should be provided in the same way as in the past. If that practice is continued, then the Bill is doubly welcome, though I should like to repeat that its financial provisions could be improved.

Cuirim fáilte roimh an mBille seo agus bfhearr i bhfad go bhfanfadh cuid de na cainteoirí ar an taoibh eile gan bheith a rá nach ndearna an Rialtas a bhí ann cheana tada i dtaoibh tithe na Gaeltachta. Ar ndóigh, ceapann siad nach bhfuil ag daoine ach cuimhne gairid ar na rudaí seo. Is cuimhin le gach duine gur thug an sean-Aire Rialtas Áitiúil Bille faoi thithe don tír ar fad isteach. Agus ní raibh sé ach díreach rite tríd an Dáil nuair a cuireadh Rialtas Fhianna Fáil as oifig. Chomh fada le mo chuimhne, ní raibh an Rialtas nua tar éis teacht isteach nuair a chuaigh an Bille sin don tSeanaid. Má deireann daoine gur fhág an tiarRialtas sin ceist tithe na Gaeltachta chun deire agus nach ndearnadar tada faoi, agus an t-eolas sin acu nach raibh seans ag Fianna Fáil é a thabhairt isteach, tá ceist agam orthu.

Má tá oiread sin imní orthu, cad chuige ar fhanadar go cionn bliana ó thangadar isteach gan tada a dhéanamh faoin cheist seo? Dá dtiocfadh Rialtas Fhianna Fáil ar ais tar éis an toghachán deireannach, bheadh an Bille seo ina Acht le suas le bliain anois. D'fhanadar bliain gan faic a dhéanamh faoi thithe na Gaeltachta agus sin é an locht is mó atá agam ar an rud atá déanta ag an Aire.

Tá locht le fáil ag muintir na Gaeltachta air, freisin, mar ní raibh aoinne sa Ghaeltacht ag súil leis an mBille seo. Béidir nach gcreideann an tAire sin, ach d'dhéadfadh sé é a ghabháil uaimse. Bhí daoine sa Ghaeltacht nach raibh muinín ná dóchas acu go dtabharfadh an Rialtas seo an Bille seo isteach—agus cén t-údar a bhí acu leis an tuairim sin? Is é an t-údar a bhí acu leis ná go raibh stopadh ar fad nó gearradh á chur ar sheirbhísí eile, agus gurb é polasaí agus beartas an Rialtais airgead a shábháil. Níor chreid aoinne sa Ghaeltacht go dtiocfadh an Bille seo isteach go ceann i bhfad. Cén toradh a bhí ar an bhfaillí seo a rinne an Rialtas? Mar gheall ar an bhfáth nach raibh siad ag súil leis an mBille, b'éigean dóibh dul go dtí an Roinn Rialtas Aitiúil agus iarratas a dhéanamh faoin scéim sin—agus níl aon iasacht airgid ag dul le iarratas a déantar faoi scéim na Roinne Rialtais Aitiúil. Tá na daoine bochta sin anois ag cur suas le haon deontas amháin— agus pé bith breis airgid a theastós uathu le tithe a chríochnú, caithfidh siad dul go dtí na bancanna nó go dtí siopadóirí. Tá siad fágtha i leataoibh ar an gcaoi sin.

Bhí mé ag éisteacht leis an Teachta Palmer—níl tada agamsa in aghaidh an óráid a thug an Teachta Mac Pháidín mar bhí sé féireálta—agus thug sé na rudaí sin isteach, nach ndearna Fianna Fáil tada mar gheall ar an gceist seo. Sin í mo cheist air—cad chuige ar fhan a Rialtas fhéin go gcionn bliana, agus an locht sin le fáil anois ag muinntir na Gaeltachta ar an Rialtas? Tá cuid mhaith acu a raibh tithe ag teastáil uathú go géar, daoine nach raibh in ann tada a dhéanamh le linn an chogaidh, mar bhí gach rud gann. Ansin thug an t-iar-Aire Rialtais Aitiúil an Bille isteach, agus ba Bhille mhaith freisin é. Tá buntáistí i scéimeanna na Gaeltachta i gcónaí, go bhfuil iasacht ag gabháil leo. Má tá tuille Teachtaí ar an taoibh eile le labhairt, ba mhaith liom go bhfreagódh siad an cheist sin.

Ba mhaith liom, freisin, a insint don Teachta Palmer nuair dúirt sé gur chuidigh easba tithe le imirce as an tír agus go raibh na daoine ag imeacht as an tír, go bhfuil difir amháin idir scéimeanna tithe don Ghaeltacht agus scéimeanna tithe eile, agus is é difir é go bhfuil an deontas ag gabháil leis an gabháltas agus ní leis na daoine. Mura bhfuil talamh ann, ní haon mhaith bheith ag cur isteach ar dheontas faoi scéim na Gaeltachta. Agus má tá na daoine óga ag imeacht agus más é ceal tithe is cúis leis an imirce, ní réiteoidh scéim tithe na Gaeltachta an cheist sin mar níl sí inmholta. Níl teideal acu le teach d'fháil faoi aon scéim ach sa Ghaeltacht.

Tá locht amháin ar gach scéim de na scéimeanna seo faoi thithe na Gaeltachta agus is é locht é sin go bhfuil sé riachtanach go mbeadh sean-teach ar an ngabháltas. Sul a rithfear an Bille seo tríd an Dáil, tá mé ag moladh anois don Aire go leasódh sé an Bille ar an gcaoi sin, nach mbeadh sé riachtànach feasta aon tsean-teach a bheith ar an ngabháltas. Mar shompla, dá gceannóch dream óg gabháltais sa Ghaeltacht, nach bhfuil sean-tithe ar bith orthu, ba cheart go mbeadh sé ar chumas na lánúna óga sin deontas agus iasacht airgid d'fháil le teach nua a dhéanamh. Sin locht mór atá ar an scéim ar fad agus tá súil agam—agus tá mé ag iarraidh ar an Aire é a dhéanamh—go scriosfar amach as an mBille seo é.

Níl aon mhaith bheith ag insint don tír go bhfuil £300 le fáil ag duine sa Ghealtacht. Tá a fhios ag gach duine sa Ghealtacht nach bhfuil ach fíor-corr teach go bhfuil uisce ag teacht ann trí píobaí agus nach bhfuil dréineáil mar atá leagtha síos sa mBille seo ag aon teach ar fiú trácht air sa Ghealtacht.

Os rud é go bhfuil ceist an valuation bainte amach as an mBille seo, béidir go dtiocfadh duine isteach anois faoi chuid a haon den Sceideal, duine a bhfuil £60 valuation aige mar níl teorann ar bith ar an valuation anois. Béidir gur locht é sin, go mór mór déarfainn gur locht é ar chuid de na daoine a bhfuil siad ag freastal orthu—na daoine bochta.

Is cuma cén valuation atá acu anois, féadfaí an t'airgead d'fáil.

Béidir nach bhfuil an Ghaeilge acu.

Beirt Teachta as Ciarraighe, d'iarradar ar an Aire gan bheith ró-dhian ar na hiarratasóirí i dtaoibh na Gaeilge. Má tá ar intinn ag an Aire glacadh leis an moladh sin, molaimse teideal an Bhille seo d'athrú agus an focal "Gaeltacht" d'fhágáil amach as. Béidir go bhfuil sé deacair go leor ag an cigirí mar tá sé cheana. Má tá tú ag dul ag glacadh le tuairimí a tugadh i dtaoibh an méid Gaeilge atá riachtanach le ceann de na deontais seo d'fháil, déanfaidh sé praiseach den scéal ar fad. Ní dóigh liom gur maith an rud é na deontais a bhí le fáil roimhe seo le tithe na gcearc agus tithe na muca a thógáil, a scriosadh amach as an mBille seo. Tá sé ráithe ag an Aire—agus duirt an tAire Talmhaíochta freisin é—go mbeadh buntáistí anois ag lucht tithe na Gaeltachta as an Scéim na dTithe Feilme atá á oibriú faoin Aire Talmhaíochta. Tá a fhios ag an Aire Talmhaíochta, mar atá fhios ag an Aire seo, nach bhfuil aon tithe feirme a ndéanamh faoi láthair, agus nach bhfuil cosúlacht ar bith go mbeidh go gcionn i bhfad, ach tithe na gcearc amháín. Agus má tá daoine anois ag iarraidh teach a dhéanamh do na muca, caithfidh said é a dhéanamh as a bpócaí féin. Ní bheidh tada ag teacht ó Sheirbhísí na Gaeltachta na ó Roinn na Talmhaíochta. D'iarrfainn ar an Aire an Bille a leasú agus an sean-rud a bhí ann i dtaoibh cróite na gcearc agus na muc a chur ar ais arís sa mBille.

Tá mé ar aon intinn leis an Teachta O Floinn nuair a mheabhraigh sé don Aire go bhfuil go leor daoine sna Gaeltachtaí—tá sa Ghaeltacht san iarthar ar chuma ar bith—nach féidir leo aon deontas d'fháil faoin Rialtas Aitiúil ná faoi Sheirbhísí na Gaeltacha i ngeall ar nach bhfuil a gcuid talaimh socraithe. Má tá sé ar intinn Choimisiúin na Talún socrú a dhéanamh ar na gabháltais, ní féidir leis an duine sin, nó aon duine den dream sa mbaile sin, nó ar an eastáit sin, aon deontas d'fháil —agus tá daoine fágtha sáthach fada mar sin. Bhí sé sin ann le linn Fianna Fáil agus le linn Cumann na nGaedheal roimhe sin, agus tá siad fágtha fós.

Tá mé ag iarraidh ar an Aire rud eigín a dhéanamh anois—tá Coimisiún na Talún faoina chúram, freisin—féachaint chuige go ndéanfar rud eigin i riocht is go mbeidh na daoine sin in ann na deontais d'fháil faoi scéim tithe na Gaeltachta.

Ní féidir leo aon rud a dhéanamh leis na tithe nó na gabháltais nuair nach bhfuil a fhios acú cá mbeidh a gcuid talún féin. Is maith liom gur choinnigh an tAire sa mBille seo an bhuntáiste atá ag tithe na Gaeltachta thar na tithe eile. Ná ceapadh aon duine go bhfuil an tús níos mó nó níos fearr ná an tús a bhí ag na daoine seo faoin sean-Bhille. Tá anois £15 sa mbreis le fáil ag daoine faoin scéim seo thar mar atá le fáil faoin scéim Rialtais Áitiúil. Roimhe seo, sul a dtáinig an dá Bhille isteach, bhí £10 sa mbreis le fáil ag duine as an nGaeltacht thar duine eile. Bhi £90 do dhuine sa Ghaeltacht in aghaidh £80 do dhuine faoin scéim Rialtais Áitiúil. Anois tá £15, sin £250 in aghaidh £235. Ní cúis gaisce ar bith an difir sin, ach is maith liom go bhfuil an difir ann.

Tá rud eile ba mhiam liom a iarraidh ar an Aire. In Alt 3, fo-alt (3), tá sé leagtha síos mar seo—áit ar bith a raibh feabhsú déanta ar theach agus go raibh iarratas isteach roimh an chéad lá Shamhna 1947 agus go raibh an feabhsú túsaithe, go bhfuil £60 le fáil air. Is í an cheist atá mé a chur ar an Aire, cad chuige a bhfuil sé riachtanach iarratas a bheith istigh ag an duine sin roimh an chéad lá Shamhna. Má tá cigirí na Roinne sásta go ndearna duine feabhsú ar an teach, agus go mór mór nuair nach raibh sé ag súil le aon Bhille nua faoi Sheirbhísí na Gaeltachta, cad chuige a bhfuil sé riachtanach an t-iarratas a bheith istigh aige? Má tá an feabhsú déanta aige, nach leor é sin má chuireann sé iarratas isteach tar éis an chéad lá Shamhna 1947? Molaim don Aire go leasódh sé an Bille, i riocht is go mbeidh fear a dhéanfas an t-iarratas tar éis an chéad lá Shamhna, 1947, i ndon an deontas sin £300 d'fáil, chomh maith leis an duine go bhfuil an t-iarratas curtha isteach aige roimh an lá sin.

Cuirim mo ghuth le guth na ndaoine eile a mhol an Bille seo. Is maith liom go bhfuil sé tugtha isteach—deireannach is uilig mar tá an tAire leis. Sin é an locht is mó atá agam air, gur fhan an Rialtas blian gan tada a dhéanamh. Tá dhá thuairim ag daoine faoin moill sin. Tá daoine a admhaíonn go raibh an Rialtas ag iarraidh airgead a shábháil—agus tá airgead bliana sábhálta acu air sin. Tá daoine eile ann agus ceapann siad, dá dtabharfaí an Bille seo isteach ró-lua tar éis an Rialtas nua a theacht isteach go mbéidir go mbeadh cuid den chreidiúnt ag dul don tsean-Rialtas. Is mór an trua go ndeanadh an mhoill, mar tá daoine anois agus ní féidir leo athrú ó scéim eile go dtí an scéim seo agus tá siad anois ag iarraidh na tithe a dhéanamh gan cúnamh d'fháil mar iasacht. Molaim an Bille agus deirim leis an Aire go bhfuil súil agam go ndéanfaidh sé maitheas do na daoine seo.

Fiche bliain ó shoin, nuair a cuireadh an tAcht seo i bhfeidhm an chéad uair, fuair Mícheál Og MacPháidín agus mé féin anró mór alt faoi leith fháil don Ghaeltacht faoin Rialtas a bhí ann an t-am sin. Ach sa deire ghéill siad dúinn agus cuireadh alt don Ghaeltacht ar bun. Gan aimhreas, ba é an chéad rud a thaspáin don Ghaeltacht go raibh Rialtas dóibh féin acu mar d'oibrigh siad uile go cruaidh ag tógáil na dtithe dóibh féin. An chuid is mó acu, tar éis go raibh iasacht airgid le fáil, níor thóg siad mórán den iasacht. Rinne siad na tithe as a saothrú féin agus as an deontas a bhí ag dul dóibh. Na hAchta Rialtais Aitiúil i dtaobh tithe, a bhí ann roimh an Acht atá anois ann, ní raibh mórán maitheasa iontu le haghaidh na Gaeltachta.

Tá mé cinnte go gcuirfidh an tAcht seo cloch chóipeála ar an Acht a chuaigh roimhe. Tá an deontas atá le fáil againn go hiontach ach ní hé an deontas amháin ach an méid eile atá ag imeacht lena chois. Ní bheidh aon rátaí faoi leith ar na tithe seo go ceann fiche bliain. An luacháil a leagfar ar na tithe seo, timpeall trí puint ar a laghad. I mbliana i gContae na Gaillimhe beidh na rátaí seacht scilleacha fichead agus réal, mura mbeidh siad níos mó, sa phunt. Acht fágaimís na 27/6 iad sa phunt. Trí 27/6 sin £4 1s. 6d. Dá mbeadh 20 bliain ann sin £81 10s. 0d., in éindigh leis an deontas eile. In éindigh leis sin ceannófar déantúisí an tí ó na siopadóirí faoi chonradh. Sábhálfa sé sin ar a laghad ó £25 go £30. In éindigh leis sin, fágfar an stuif ar foundation an tí. Ní bheidh ar na daoine bheith ag cailleadh a n-aimsire ag dul go Gaillimh —40 míle óna mbaile—ag iarraidh a leithéide seo agus a leithéide siúd agus, b'fhéidir, tar éis é a ghealladh dhóibh nach dtiocfadh sé amach agus go gcaithfidís dul chuig nó sé huaire dá iarraidh. Ach anois ní bheidh orthu dul á iarraidh. Tógfa an fear a bheas os cionn an tí an liosta uathu agus cuirfear chucu é. Tiúrfaidh sé sin misneach an domhain do na daoine. In éindigh leis sin gheobhaidh gach uile dhuine acu iasacht suas go £100—é d'íoc ina leath-ghálaí gach aon bhliain go mbeidh sé íoctha, ach tá mé cinnte nach mórán acu a thógfas an iasacht. Na daoine bochta sin as an iarthar ní maith leo gad a chur faoina muinéal go gcinnfidh sé orthu. An chuid is mó acu, tá siad deaslámhach agus beidh siad i ndon an obair a dhéanamh iad féin agus déanfaidh sé fir ceirde dhíobh chomh maith le gach aon rud eile.

Níl aimhreas nach mó a rinne an tAcht seo a tugadh isteach fiche bliain ó shoin le deis a chur ar an nGaeltacht ná a rinne an C.D.B. a raibh moladh mór ag gach uile dhuine orthu. Anois níl aon mhaith bheith ag caitheamh nár rinneadh níos mó dhóibh le deich mbliana anuas. Ná bacaimís leis an ní atá imithe ach tagaimís le chéile agus déanadh gach uile dhuine againn a dhícheall le haghaidh an tAcht sea a chur i bhfeidhm sa spioraid céana a bhfuilimíd á fháil anois. San Acht a caitheadh, ní raibh mórán "red tape" ag baint leis mar na daoine a bhí os a chionn Gaeilgeoirí a bhí iontu agus thug siad cúnamh an domhain le haghaidh gach rud a dhéanamh. Anois má fuair muid an méid sin cúnaimh an t-am sin ó Aire as Contae Chiarraighe tá súil agam go bhfaighe muid an oiread céanna ón Aire atá anois ann as Contae Mhuigheo.

Séard tá le rá agamsa mar gheall ar an mBille seo ná gur fearr go mall ná go bráth. Ba mhaith liomsa an cheist chéanna a chur ar an Aire a chuir an Teachta MacPhartoláin air: céard é fath na moille, cad na thaobh gur fhan an tAire agus an Rialtas blian leis an mBille seo a thabhairt isteach agus cad na thaobh ar fhágadar muintir na Ghaeltachta i muinín an Achta a cuireadh i bhfeidhm i 1947. Tugtar Acht na dTithe, 1948, air, ach sa mblian roimhe sin a cuireadh i bhfeidhm é, do réir mar is cuimhin liomsa.

Níl ach dhá rud le rá agam ar an mBille. Bille í seo, an Bhille is fearr a tháinig ós ár gcomhair, le cabhair faoi leith, cabhair speisialta, a thabhairt do mhuintir na Ghaeltachta, sin iad na Gaeilgeoirí dúchasacha, agus ní d'aon duine ach iad san. Tá cabhair de shórt eile le fáil ag Béarlóirí, ag muintir na Ghalltachta faoi na hAchta atá dá gcur i bhfeidhm ag an Roinn Rialtais Áitiúil, ach déarfainn leis an Aire, agus iarraim go láidir air, gan glacadh leis an gcomhairle a fuair sé ón Teachta Palmer agus an Teachta O Floinn, gan aon bhogadh dhéanamh mar gheall ar an rial atá ann i dtaobh na Gaeilge. Ceapadh Achta na dTithe (Gaeltachta) chun cabhrú go speisialta le Gaeilgeoirí agus aon teach in aon Ghaeltacht atá ag lorg cabhair faoin mBille seo agus ná fuil an Ghaeilge mar theanga teaghlaigh ann, ní ceart go bhfuighdís cabhair faoin mBille seo. Tá deontaisí eile faoi na gnathAchta le haghaidh tógáil tithe le fáil ag an duine sin agus ba chóir claoí leis an gcuspóir agus leis an aigne a bhí sna hAchta eile gan cabhrú le tógáil tithe sa Ghaeltacht in oibriú an Bhille seo. Cuirim go láidir i gcoinne na moltaí a tugadh, go múchfaí na rialacha sin. Tugadh sochar an Bhille seo dos na daoine a bhfuil sé tuillte acu, a bhfuil sé ar intinn é a thabhairt dóibh, sin iad na Gaeilgeóirí, agus fágadh na Béarlóirí i muinín na ngáth-Acht. Ná bogtar an scéal d'aon teach in aon áit in aon Ghaeltacht sa tír, a bhfuil Béarla dá labhairt ann. Cuireadh an Bille seo i bhfeidhm i dtosach, chun cabhrú leis na daoine sa nGaeltacht agus chun cabhrú le buanú na Gaeilge san am chéanna— agus ná deantar a mhalairt.

Tá rud eile agam le cur ós comhair an Aire—is é sin méid na n-iasachtaí atá le fáil. Ba chóir go mbeadh siad sin níos mó. Do réir mar thuigimse, tá £80 le fáil, agus ba cheart don Aire é d'árdú go dtí £100. Níl mórán difir idir na deontaisí seo faoi Acht na dTithe (Gaeltachta) agus na gnáthAchta, ach dá laghad an difir, beidh muintir na Gaeltachta buíoch dá bharr, agus tá súil agam go mbainfear an oireadh maitheasa as an mBille agus a baineadh as an sean-Achta.

Ba mhaith liom cuidiú leis an méid a dúairt an Teachta Donnchadh Ó Briain. Is cuimhin liom, mar a duirt an Teachta Mac Pháidín agus an Teachta Ó Mongáin, nuair a cuireadh Acht Tithe na Gaeltachta i bhfeidhm ar dtúis, gur thug sé misneach dúinn uilig a raibh suim againn i gceist na Gaeilge. Fuaireamar anmhisneach, gan amhras, agus fuair muintir na Gaeltachta misneach nuair a tháinig cigirí óga agus oifigigh óga chúcu ó Bhaile Átha Cliath, daoine a bhí oilte ar Ghaeilge, a rinne a gcuid oibre trid an teanga náisiúnta. Chun an Ghaeilge a choinneál beo sna h-áiteanna a bhfuil sí, táimid ag brath ar na daoine atá sna ceantracha seo ar dtúis, chun tuille cabhrach a thabhairt dóibh. Agus, sa tarna háit, táimid ag brath ar an bhfoireann anseo i mBaile Átha Cliath. Ní raibh aon fhuireann níos fearr ná iad ná níos dílse don Ghaeilge, taobh amuigh den Roinn Oideachais. Rinne siad an obair ar fad tré Gaeilge agus ní raibh aon bhaint acu leis na Béarlóirí. Muintir na Gaeltachta a bhí i gceist agus rinneadh an obair ó thús tré Ghaeilge agus leanadh mar sin. Ní bheadh aon chiall bheith ag brath ar Ghaeilgeoirí na Gaeltachta agus ar na daoine óga anseo i mBaile Átha Cliath ag oibriú na scéimeanna má táimid chun géilleadh sa bhunchuspóir, is é sin, pé buntáiste atá le fáil, trí dheontaisí, go mbeadh siad le fáil de bharr na Gaeilge, agus gan ligint do dhaoine nach bhfuil ag cleachtadh na Gaeilge dallamallóg da chur orainn.

Tá tuairimí maithe againn, trí chigirí scoile agus cigirí eile cé hiad na daoine atá ag cleachtadh na Gaeilge sa mbaile agus cé hiad na daoine nach bhfuil, agus tá discréid ag na cigirí má tá iarracht maith á dhéanamh, má tá duine amháin de na tuismitheoirí, gan aon locht air féin, gan aon Ghaeilge aige—duine, bean nó fear, ó leasmuigh a tháinig go dtí an áit—tá saghas leithscéil aige, ach más duine é a rugadh agus a tógadh sa Ghaeltacht, ní dóigh liom go bhfuil aon leithscéal aige. Sílim nach n-éireodh, freisin, leis an scéim, mura gcuire an tAire suim faoi leith ann, agus mar mhol Teachtaí eile, breis ábhair, admhad agus eile, a chur ar fáil. Tá roinnt ceanní maith san iarthair, atá i ndon dul i gcomórtas le haon cheanní anseo i mBaile Átha Cliath agus go dtí seo rinneadh socrú faoi leith leis na ceannaithe sin agus fuair na daoine an tadhmad agus na huirlisí eile go saor. Bhí £10 freisin, mar a dúirt an Teachta Mac Pharthaláin, le fáil ag daoine a bhí an-bhocht ar fad, cuir i gcás, in áiteacha mar an Trágh Bhán i gConamara. Mura bhfuil feabhas tagtha ar an scéal ó chonnaic mise an áit, déarfainn gur ar éigin atá daoine níos measa ná iad ó thaobh an tsaoil sa tír ar fad. Tá a fhios agam freisin go bhfuil rudaí go han-dona in áiteacha i dTir Chonaill agus, is dócha, i gceantracha eile sa Ghaeltacht. Is maith an rud é go raibh an £10 le fáil. Is dócha nach fiú mórán £10 faoi láthair ach an am a chuireadh an chéad Acht i bhfeidhm is é an chúis a bhí leis ná chun slí a thabhairt do na daoine nach raibh feoirling acu tosú ar an obair agus an bhun-chloch a leagadh, mar adearfá. Tá ní eile, freisin, agus ba mhaith liom go dtiúrfadh an tAire miniú dhúinn faoi, go bhfuiltear chun an chuid sin den scéim a bhain le cró muc agus cró cearc a chur ar leataoibh mar tá na cróanna sin le fáil faoi scéim eile agus d'fhéadfaí a rá nach ndéanfaidh sin cúis. Ach beidh ar na hiarrthóirí dhá achainí a dhéanamh— ceann do Sheirbhísí na Gaeltachta faoi thithe conaithe agus iarratas eile a dhéanamh don Roinn Talmhaíochta. Is dóigh liom go dtiúrfadh Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta níos mó aire agus níos mó cúraim don obair sa Ghaeltacht, mar tá an tslí acu agus sin í an obair atá acu go speisialta, ná an Roinn Talmhaíochta. Agus, mura bhfuil an tAire sásta anois, sílim go bhfuighidh sé féin amach tar éis ama gur fearr i bhfad a rachaidh an dá rud le chéile mar tá oifigigh Sheirbhísí na Gaeltachta ag dul mórthimpeall agus cigirí agus innealltóirí atá in ann pleannannaí agus mar sin a dhéanamh amach do na daoine bochta annsin agus sílim go mbeadh sé níos saoire sa deire. Ach, ní hé sin an príomh-phoinnte ach go dtiocfadh níos mó as—go rachadh na daoine sa Ghaeltacht ar aghaidh leis na cróanna níos tapúla agus níos fearr dá mbeadh an taobh sin den scéim á oibriú faoi Sheirbhísí na Gaeltachta.

Cuirim fáilte roimh an scéim agus tá súil agam go n-oibreofar go maith í agus go mbeidh na daoine sásta glacadh leis na buntáistí sin. Gidh gur éirigh go han-mhaith leis an scéim in áiteacha, tá áiteacha eile a bhfuil a lán drochthithe acu fós. Má tá na daoine sa Ghaeltacht ag iarraidh daoine atá ag foghlaim na Gaeilge a choinneáil ar lóistín sa tSamhradh, ba chóir, ní hamháin go mbeadh tithe maithe acu, ach go mbeadh a lán rudaí eile acu atá in easnamh sa Ghaeltacht faoi láthair. Tá muintir Bhaile Atha Cliath oilte ar thithe maithe agus uisce reatha agus uirlisí eile nach bhfuil le fáil sa Ghaeltacht. Ba mhaith liom go molfaí go speisialta do mhuintir na n-áiteacha a bhfuil cuairteoirí ag dul isteach iontu chun an Ghaeilge d'fhoghlaim ní hamháin go mba cheart go mbainfeadh siad buntáiste as na scéimeanna seo ach go gcuirfidís tuille seomraí leis na tithe cónaithe. Tá a lán déanta acu cheana féin in áiteacha agus bíonn cuid de na cuairteoirí go han-tsásta agus molann siad an aire agus an cúram a gheibheas siad. Tá áiteacha eile nach bhfuil chomh maith. Molaim don Aire an obair a bhaineann le saol eacnamaíochta na Gaeltachta a choineáil fána chúram féin chomh maith agus is féidir agus "job" ceart, mar a deirtear i gConamara, a dhéanamh den rud.

It is encouraging to note the way in which this Bill has been received by both sides of the House. It is certainly a measure that can be recommended since its purpose is to fill a long-felt want on the part of the poorer sections of the community.

Deputy Moylan referred to the combined purchasing system under the old Acts. That system will be resumed at once. It was a system which was of considerable benefit to applicants under the Acts. Should we find it impossible to resume that combined purchasing system that would, in my opinion, militate very seriously against the operation of this Act and the Act would have neither the benefit nor the advantage for those people that we would wish it to have.

Several Deputies mentioned the erection of piggeries. There was a certain amount of compulsion in the old Acts and it is proposed under this Act to leave that compulsion in abeyance. Deputy Bartley labours under the misapprehension that the Minister for Agriculture will not give these grants. In my opinion the grants are fairly liberal. In the case of poultry-houses £20 is given for 100 or more adult birds; £15 is given for 75, or more, birds; and £10 is given for less than 50 birds. In the case of piggeries £20 is given for a double house, each portion of which has an area of 100 square feet or over; £12 is given for a floor area of less than 100 square feet with a yard of not less than 100 square feet. Under the old system for poultry houses and piggeries the maximum erection grant was £50 and the loan £2 and the maximum grant for improvement is £2 10s. and the loan £2 10s. I think there is a very big difference in this present measure and it should certainly meet the situation. There might be cases where an applicant for a housing grant in the Gaeltacht would not find it convenient to erect either a piggery or a poultry house.

Does the Minister say these grants are available at the moment?

I expect they are.

I know they are available in the case of poultry but I did not know they were available for piggeries.

Deputy Flynn mixed up the functions of the Land Commission with this Bill. He referred to a townland in Kerry which the Land Commission is proposing to rearrange. Apparently the inspector told the proposed allottees there not to build until the holdings were rearranged. That is a precaution which has to be taken because a tenant might build on a portion of land which would subsequently be allotted to a neighbour. But that is not to be confused with the purpose of this Bill.

Deputy Bartley is seemingly very innocent. He says that the people of the Gaeltacht have been taken by surprise by the generosity of the new Government.

I did not say that.

You conveyed something very like that.

I said they despaired of the Act being brought in.

That the people despaired?

They did not believe it would ever be introduced and many of them went to the Department of Local Government. They are now deprived of the benefit of this measure.

Somewhat reluctantly, I bring it to the notice of the Deputy that his colleagues, whatever about himself, have contributed in large measure to that belief in the Gaeltacht areas. I could quote cases where the people were advised to go to the Department of Local Government and not to wait for this Act, although it was common knowledge at the time that the Bill was in course of preparation. These people will now lose certain advantages. They lose the benefit of the increased grant and the advantage that their houses would have been free of rates for 20 years as against seven years in the case of the grants given by the Department of Local Government. All that was brought about by misleading propaganda on the part of Deputy Bartley's colleagues. Irrespective of the Party to which a Deputy or a county councillor belongs, the poorest sections of the people should not be made the plaything of politicians.

But why the delay? It is nearly 12 months now.

Deputy Bartley made the point that the Government saved something by not introducing this Bill at an earlier date.

That was because they did not leave any money for you.

That is more of the misleading propaganda to which I have referred. Has the Deputy read the First and Second Schedules to the Act?

I have read them all.

Why then do you say that the Government is saving money by delaying the introduction of the Act? The First Schedule is drafted to cover specifically grants in respect of dwelling-houses, the erection of which commenced on or after 1st November, 1947; the Second Schedule covers grants in respect of dwelling-houses the erection of which commenced on or after 1st November, 1945, but which were not occupied on or before 1st November, 1947. Surely that is not an attempt to cheat the people of the Gaeltacht.

The point I made was that 12 months' expenditure has been postponed and the people have had to go to the Department of Local Government for grants.

I have explained why they went to the Department of Local Government. I regret to say that public men have misled some of the people very seriously in the Gaeltacht areas. I say again that such men should think twice before they play politics with the poorest sections of the community.

They could not wait until Tibbs' Eve.

It is not now that this Act should have been introduced. Nor is it 12 months ago. It should have been introduced many, many years ago and the people should not have had to wait for a change of Government for its introduction.

Was this Bill drafted by the Minister's predecessor?

It was not.

That is the insinuation.

It is not the insinuation.

I shall admit here and now that the Bill was somewhat slow in drafting. It was certainly not drafted by my predecessor and I am sure that, if my predecessor were here in the House, he would be the first to admit that.

These discussions are very interesting, but I want to hear the Minister concluding.

Deputy Breslin mentioned that he would like to see as little red tape as possible. I can assure him that such will be the case. I would like to see all red tape cut away. I give my word that there will be the least possible delay in the issue of these grants. There will not be certificates issued in relation to Gaeltacht housing grants as there are in the case of local government grants. Apparently Deputy Breslin's fear is that the poor people will be pushed out. There is no danger of that. Each case will be examined by the Minister on its merits. Business people, owners of public houses and so on or those who are working and who ought to be able to get on without the aid of the grant, will definitely not get it. As anybody can see there are no trappings or flag waving about the Bill. It is intended primarily, and will be kept, for the very poor of the Gaeltacht areas.

Any Deputy interested in the question of the Irish qualifications will see that the section dealing with that is not tampered with. It stands, and that is that. There should be no doubt about that subject.

Deputy Bartley also referred to the people who have no existing houses and asked why is it that they do not qualify. I ask Deputy Bartley just to recall the very important work of another section of the Department. If such assistance were granted, would it not go a long way towards increasing the congestion of that area? At least, in a very short time that congestion would be aided and abetted by one section of the Department whose duty it is to abolish that congestion or to relieve it as far as possible. The assistance grant is for the purpose of preventing congestion from arising in the Gaeltacht areas. Many people would get a site—as we know, sites are not so very valuable in some of these areas—and many people could get set up in, perhaps, a small portion of land. Immediately you get a new congestion added to the list and a problem created there and then. I am sure that if Deputy Bartley were Minister for Lands he would not condone that for a moment.

Would the Minister not consider giving more discussion on this matter? There are instances which do not come within the objection raised.

Each case will be examined on its merits. There may not be any harshness or cruelty exercised in any particular case. As a matter of fact, I can guarantee that if we err at all we shall err on the right side of leniency or generosity. The Bill is intended for the poorer section of the rural communities, and we do not intend to be skimpy about it. We do not intend to say——

May I ask a question to illustrate what I said? Suppose there was a fairly large holding bought by a grazier who either knocked down the house and sold the stones to the county council and there is no house on it. The holding is an economic one. Say that a young couple got married and financed the holding. They are now precluded from getting a grant to build a house. I know of one such case.

That is a case where a house will be purchased by the young couple and the young couple are precluded from getting a grant in that particular case.

Because there is no trace of a house on that particular land.

No. I will insert an amendment to rectify that if it is possible.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 23rd February, 1949.