Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 26 Jul 1962

Vol. 196 No. 19

Committee on Finance. - Local Government (Sanitary Services) Bill, 1962—Report and Final Stages.

I wonder could you assist me, Sir? Was there a reprint of this Bill after the original introductory print.

I was trying to remember whether it had been amended in Committee.

Evidently there has not been a reprint.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 3, between lines 16 and 17, to insert a new subsection as follows:—

"(3) Repayment of an advance under this section in respect of a cottage that has been purchased under the Labourers Acts may, notwithstanding the provisions of Section 21 of the Labourers Acts, 1936, be secured by the deposit with the sanitary authority of the land certificate issued under the Registration of Title Acts, 1891 and 1942, in relation to the dwelling house."

We discussed this matter at some length on the Committee Stage and, for the purpose of enabling the Minister to give us an explanation as to why the section here was drafted in a different way from clause (b) of what was Section 10 originally in the Housing Bill, I put down this amendment. In the Housing Bill, as amended in Committee, Section 10, subsection (2) (b) provided that there should be a special reference to override the restrictive prohibitions on making mortgages in the Labourers Acts. The Minister suggested in his explanation that the restrictions in the Labourers Act, 1936, did not apply—so he had been advised—to the deposit of the land certificate; the express restriction against mortgages or charges did not apply to an equitable deposit. I made the point then—I repeat it now—that an equitable deposit has been declared on many occasions as being the equivalent of a mortgage coming within the ambit of the term "mortgage" in the various statutory enactments. The essence of a collateral deposit is that the person with whom the deed of title is deposited can go to the court and ask the court for an order declaring the equitable mortgage well charged.

I do not think it is possible for a person who holds a land certificate on premises bought out under the Labourers Act, 1936, in view of Section 21 of that Act, to go to the court for such an order. If the person is not permitted to go to the court for such an order, then the case made by the Minister that the land certificate of a vested cottage could be given as security for the money needed by a tenant purchaser to put in water or sewerage is not valid. I agree with the Minister that it is unlikely that there would be much need for this type of case, but there would be occasional need for it where a person would prefer to give the security of his vested cottage rather than go and ask a neighbour for a guarantee or to act as surety in any shape or form. There will be cases where vested cottage owners will not be able to get sufficient by grant alone, primary and supplementary, to meet the cost involved and who would be quite prepared to pay the cost of all the installations over a period. If they want to do that they should be facilitated and, without some clause such as this amendment provides, I do not think they will be enabled to do so.

It is quite true, as Deputy Sweetman has said, that the formal deposit of the land certificate could be said to create, while not a mortgage, certainly a charge. In my reference at column 2803 of volume 196 of the Official Report of Thursday, 19th July last, I mentioned the informal procedures we were hoping to initiate under this section. The informal procedure I had then in mind, and still have in mind, could mean requiring the temporary lodgment of the land certificate by the local authority as a condition, or one of the conditions, under which they would make one of these relatively small loans for a short period.

The real point at issue has arisen from a comparison between the provisions of Section 10 of the Housing Bill and Section 4 of this Bill. The comparison might appear to be irrelevant as we happen to be discussing both measures almost simultaneously, nevertheless, therein lies the real point at issue in this whole matter in that the Housing Bill purports to deal with loans which are related, undoubtedly, to fairly costly building operations and the lending or borrowing of money for these purposes for a lengthy period is envisaged under that Bill. Because of the size of the loans, on average, that are likely to be called upon and the long-term borrowing that will be involved, there is written in in Section 10, in very specific terms, the procedure whereby such loans for such long periods must be secured.

In Section 4 of this Bill and under the procedure envisaged in this Bill and the operations which we hope will arise therefrom, the loans will not, in any event, be of any great size nor are they likely to be for any long term of repayment. For that reason, any formidable sort of procedure such as there is in the Housing Bill would tend to defeat the whole idea and the effort that is being made in the Bill to make available in as simple a way as possible to those who cannot otherwise secure small amounts of money for a relatively short period, the facility of being able to get a small amount of money for a short term in order that we may engender activity in the matter of the provision of piped water and sewerage services.

It is for that reason and with that intention in mind and, indeed, almost solely related to that intention, that Section 4 was devised, designed and brought to the House in its present form. Any amendment of it in the form suggested by Deputy Sweetman would create a situation wherein the procedure would become formidable to the degree that it would very probably defeat the whole purpose of the section and, indeed, the section would probably be rather useless and superfluous in that the formidableness of the procedure would defeat the whole purpose, intention and spirit of the section.

As I said earlier, and referring back to what I said at the start, the informal deposit, lodgment or what you will, handing in or surrender in a temporary way, of the land certificate is, I am advised, not in contravention of Section 21 of the 1936 Labourers Act. I do fully agree that the formal lodgment, while not creating a mortgage as such, does indeed contravene subsection (1) of Section 21 of the 1936 Act in that it would constitute a charge, which is prohibited.

It is on the basis of the informal lodgment, the local authority, possibly as a term or condition of making the small amount available for a short period, would say that they wished to hold this document for that short period. You might then say that if it is not a mortgage and it is not a charge what value as any form of security this surrender in a temporary way of the land certificate would have? It would have this value, that while it was in the custody of the local authority the property could not be disposed of.

The property may not be disposed of anyway, without the consent of the local authority.

That is theoretically so but the Deputy, I am sure, is quite well aware that the Land Registry Office does not advert to whether or not consent has been obtained from the local authority.

Most definitely.

They are not required to do it.

Most definitely.

They are not required to do it.

They will not register the transfer without the consent of the local authority being endorsed on the transfer.

They are not prevented from registering the transfer. I think the Deputy will agree with that.

Let us agree to differ, so.

That is about as good advice as the Minister gave us last week which he now agrees is not good advice.

The only difference between the Deputy and myself outside the House is that I do not get anything for my advice, let it be right or wrong. Inside the House, we are both on the same basis in giving advice, whether it is always taken or not.

It is very interesting that the Minister is paid more for being a Minister than I am for being a Deputy.

It could be said that the Minister is well worthy of the more rather than the Deputy is of what he is paid.

It is well to know the Minister is satisfied on that score, in any case.

I do not think Deputy Dillon would agree with Deputy Sweetman in regard to the Minister being overpaid at all. He never has. I do not think that even in this case he would agree either. Let us stay with the section and the amendment. I think the Deputy and the House are not fully taking into consideration the type of operation intended under this section which it is expected can be of some use to groups of people who by voluntary effort got around to the point where they would devise a group water or sewerage scheme with the assistance of the Department and the local authority and, the scheme having been accepted and grants allocated from the Department and being told what they will get from the local authority, they found they required some hundreds of pounds in the interim between the commencement of the scheme and the payment of the grants. The question is where will they get it. In most cases it might be the local curate or the local clergyman, or the local PP or the school master or some such person who had helped to initiate such a proposal and in that event the likelihood is that personage will become the representative of the group and would undertake the various duties that would fall on the group. He would undertake to perform those duties such as ensuring that a contractor was obtained to do the job, that the various little odds and ends were attended to, and would act as spokesman and representative of all concerned. In addition, such a person might also be in a position to go into the local bank manager and on the strength of the proposals and the grants likely to accrue and on the strength of his own name, get the money made available over six, nine or 12 months as the case may be in order that the scheme could proceed.

Where that arises—and I assert it will arise in many cases—there is no problem, but when we find a small group where none of the participants is likely to command the favour of the local bank manager to the tune of £200 or £300 for six or 12 months and the scheme might at that stage be knocked on the head, this group scheme could avail of this section enabling the local authority in the simplest, most informal way to provide, either from local authority funds directly or by guarantee from the bank, the necessary small loan for the short period to enable this little scheme to go through.

It is against that background that this section must be looked at and not in relation to the terms of Section 10 of the Housing Bill which, as I say, deals with large amounts of money to individual people, individual builders, and so on, for long terms. This section is intended to cater for the small group, none of whose members is likely to command the sort of credit needed at the local bank or in any other lending institution. That is why we say to the local authority that they may devise a scheme, subject to the approval of the Minister for Local Government, whereby money may be made available without any formal procedure and in such a way that it comes within the reach of even the poorest member of the group. That is only one of the methods by which this loan could be secured. The local authority may decide on some other simpler and less formal method. It is at their discretion they may do it and their submission of such a scheme would be welcomed by me in the Department of Local Government.

The question may well be asked, should there be default in the repayment of the loan from the council or money lent from a bank on the guarantee of a local council, what will be the outcome of that default? How does the council secure themselves if they do not hold something such as a land certificate or even if holding it in an informal way it is of no realisable value to them? There is in Section 6 of the Bill, which to my mind is sufficient without there being any formal or informal agreement being entered into, power vested in the local authority to take over compulsorily a scheme if there is default in the repayment of any loan given either by the council or under their guarantee. Subsequent to the taking over of that scheme by the procedure as laid down in the Bill, the local authority would have the facility of levying a charge on this water supply scheme provided by the group but taken over because some of the group defaulted in their repayments. In that way, the council would ultimately come to recoup themselves for any losses they might have sustained as a result of a bad debt arising from their over-simplification of the procedure.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted, and 20 Members being present,

There is nothing further I wish to add.

I disagree entirely with the Minister, but there it is.

The Deputy still disagrees?

I disagree with the Minister's opening remarks; he contradicted them afterwards.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 2:

In page 6, to delete lines 36 and 40 inclusive.

I said everything I wanted to say at some length on the Committee Stage. This provision in the Bill is a nonsensical one preventing a person washing his car or watering a little patch of grass in front of his suburban house.

That is absolute nonsense and the Deputy knows it. Let us examine the existing law.

It means he must get a meter. Nobody is going to get a meter for this purpose and that makes it impossible.

That is not so and if it is so it is not this section which is creating that situation. Under the existing law and when this Bill becomes an Act, a person is prohibited from using a hose without the consent of the sanitary authority. That law has been in existence for quite a long time. There has not been any undue mischief by busybodies or nosyparkers making trouble for their neighbours over all those years this has been in operation and up to the present time.

While that is the existing law prohibiting the use of hoses without the consent of the sanitary authority, the proposed subsection that is being objected to here merely defines domestic purposes. Urban authorities will be clear about the occasions on which they may not make a charge. The general effect of this section, because of the way in which it is framed now rather than repeating what was there, is that hoses may now be used generally subject to the right of the authority to impose special charges if they see fit. That is the complete picture of the entire matter about which there has been such flowery language used here. One thing about which nothing was said by anybody is that this section applies only to urban districts. Outside the urban areas, charges may be made for water for any purpose whatsoever. Why, then, all the fuss about this?

While it is true that it was illegal to use such things as hoses under present legislation, that provision had lain dormant. We had people using hoses to wash cars, to water their gardens, and so forth. They must now put in a meter.

They will not have to put in a meter.

But they will have to notify the authority.

In the past it was illegal.

But they used it.

It was illegal.

It was dormant. It was as dead as a duck. Many things are illegal but they have become established through usage. This right was established in respect to water. Now this Bill defines the purposes for which water may be used.

I know people on whom I should like to throw a bucket of water.

Not me, I hope. Had the Minister been prepared to meet us by throwing this subsection out he would have been out of that bench half an hour ago with his Bill passed.

Whatever the Minister may say about the differentiation between urban and rural areas in this respect, there will be the position that an inspector may see a hose in a garden, or some other appliance, and what will happen then? He will, of course, assume it is for an illegal purpose. The Minister may say that is not so, and as an analogy I would draw his attention to a statement made, while discussing another subject here today, by Deputy Dillon when he asked what would happen if he washed the Taoiseach's shirt or the Taoiseach washed Deputy Dillon's. What will happen here if a neighbour, in all good will, does some job for someone living next door to him? Will that be regarded as a household job? The Minister must define for us what household purposes are and what industrial purposes are where this Bill is concerned. Had the Minister been reasonable, we would have met him. If he does not agree to accept this amendment, I can see no alternative to dividing the House on it.

Question put: "That the lines proposed to be deleted stand."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 58; Níl, 30.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Lorcan.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Brady, Philip A.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Colley, George.
  • Collins, James J.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Leneghan, Joseph R.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, Jack.
  • MacCarthy, Seán.
  • Meaney, Con.
  • Medlar, Martin.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Cummins, Patrick J.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Mick.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Dooley, Patrick.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Padraig.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, James M.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Hillery, Patrick.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Moher, John W.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • O'Malley, Donogh.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sherwin, Frank.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Timmons, Eugene.


  • Barry, Anthony.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Jack.
  • Browne, Michael.
  • Browne, Noel C.
  • Burke, James J.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Desmond, Dan.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hogan, Patrick (South Tipperary)
  • Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • McQuillan, John.
  • Murphy, William.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Donnell, Thomas G.
  • Rooney, Eamonn.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Brennan and Geoghegan; Níl: Deputies Kyne and Crotty.
Question declared carried.
Amendment No. 3 not moved.
Bill received for final consideration and passed.