Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Monaghan Land Purchase.

51.

asked the Minister for Lands whether he will schedule County Monaghan as a congested area under section 4 of the Land Act, 1965 for the purposes of land purchase and allocation.

As pointed out previously in reply to similar questions and in the course of the debates on the Land Act, 1965, priority should be afforded to the traditional congested areas where congestion has for so long been so pronounced and it would, as yet, be premature to declare additional areas under section 4 of the Land Act, 1965.

Is there any area in Ireland more congested than North Monaghan and West Monaghan?

The Deputy is aware that there are pockets of congestion in every county and in each of these pockets of congestion the people could equally request that their particular area be given priority.

May I put it to the Minister that what is happening is that a small farmer in County Monaghan who gets a piece of land from the Land Commission is now required to pay twice as much for that piece of land as an individual living in Mayo or Galway or Clare or Leitrim? Is that fair? Is there any reason why he should pay twice as much to make his holding an economic one as does his neighbour in Mayo or Galway or Leitrim?

As I have already mentioned to the Deputy, there are pockets of congestion in various parts of the country. The Deputy will agree that with the present considerable industrial development in Monaghan there are better opportunities for off the land employment there than there are in some of the scheduled congested areas in the west.

Is the Minister aware that the whole system of land division as far as local people are concerned is folding up because of the fact that land annuities are now up to £18 per acre per year.

That seems to be a different question.

They are anything but folding up.