Town and Regional Planning Bill, 1933—Committee.
Section 1 agreed to.
the word "structure" means any building, erection, structure, excavation, or other thing constructed, erected, or made on, in, or under any land and, where the context so admits, includes the land on, in, or under which the structure is situate;
I move amendments Nos. 1 and 2:—
Section 2, sub-section (1). After the word "structure" in line 3 where it secondly occurs to insert the words "tent, caravan".
Section 2, sub-section (1). To delete in line 4 the words "or made" and to substitute therefor the words "made or placed".
I do not share the enthusiasm of Senator Wilson about legislation in Great Britain, as I think they sometimes make mistakes there. This Bill, as introduced, is substantially the same as the Act passed in Great Britain, and I am informed by some acquaintances who are architects that caravans are held not to be a structure, and that the Act has been evaded even in the case of advertisements by getting old lorries which, because they are on wheels, are held not to be a structure. The amendments have been suggested by prominent architects in Dublin, because it is desirable to have powers to enable the Department to deal with anything that may be on wheels which, in the strict sense of the word, is not a structure. If the Minister is not in a position to accept the amendments, I would ask him to look carefully into the matter.
It is not correct to say that this Bill is substantially the same as the one passed in Great Britain.
I am sorry. I meant to say this particular section.
I am sorry if I misunderstood the Senator.
The Minister was not present at a previous debate or he would understand my remarks.
The word "structure." is fundamental to the whole Bill, and any change in that regard would mean changes in many clauses. There is something in what the Senator said about caravans and similar structures. I am not quite sure if caravans would come under this definition. I know that difficulties are likely to arise, and if the Senator is prepared to leave over his amendments to a later stage, I will have the matter carefully looked into and, if possible, will bring in something to meet him.
In view of what the Minister says, I will leave over the amendments until the Report Stage. I may say that the information I received is to the effect that "structure" does not include something on wheels, and that there have been large collections of so-called houses on wheels in certain districts, and other evasions of the Act. I want to have powers in the Bill to prevent that happening. If the Minister will look into the matter, I will leave the amendments over to the Report Stage.
Amendments adjourned to Report Stage.
Sections 2 to 9, inclusive, agreed to.
I move amendment No. 3 (Government amendment):—
New section. Before Section 10 to insert a new section as follows:—
10.—(1) A planning authority or a responsible authority may, for any purpose arising in relation to the making, enforcement, or carrying out of a planning scheme, by notice in writing require the occupier of any land or structure in the area to which such planning scheme relates or is intended to relate or any person receiving, whether for himself or for another, rent out of any such land or structure to state in writing to such planning authority or responsible authority (as the case may be), within a specified time not less than 14 days after being so required, particulars of the estate, interest, or right by virtue of which he occupies such land or structure or receives such rent (as the case may be), and the name and address, and the estate, interest, or right (so far as they are known to him) of every person who to his knowledge has any estate or interest in or right over or in respect of such land or structure.
(2) Every person who is required under this section to state in writing any matter or thing to a planning authority or a responsible authority (as the case may be) and either fails so to state such matter or thing within the time appointed under this section or when so stating any such matter or thing makes any statement in writing which is to his knowledge false or misleading in a material respect, shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding five pounds.
This is a question of giving notice to owners and occupiers and the new section is much more satisfactory, in our opinion than the section in the Bill. I should like to have it accepted.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 10, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 11 to 13, inclusive, agreed to.
I move amendment No. 4 (Government amendment):—
Section 14. To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—
(6) Whenever any land or structure in the area to which a planning scheme relates is at the relevant date occupied by a statutory undertaker for the purposes of his undertaking, and ceases at any time after the relevant date to be occupied by such statutory undertaker for such purposes, and either such statutory undertaker has not given the consent mentioned in this section or the Minister has not made an order under this section, every provision contained in such planning scheme which would have applied to such land or structure if it were not so occupied by such statutory undertaker shall, immediately upon such cesser, apply to such land or structure, but with the modification that the date of such cesser shall be the relevant date in respect of such land or structure.
Section 14, as it stands, does not make suitable provision to bring any land or structure belonging to a statutory undertaker, and situate in an area in which a planning scheme is in force, within the provisions of the scheme in the event of the land or structure ceasing to belong to the statutory undertaker after the relevant date. The sub-section proposed to be added will make the position clear.
This is a necessary amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 14, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 15 to 18, inclusive, agreed to.
(4) So far as is reasonably possible, the respective regional planning authorities for the Dublin planning region and the Cork planning region shall confine the exercise of their powers as such authorities to matters affecting only the county borough of Dublin or the county borough of Cork (as the case may be), but where either of such authorities propose to exercise any of such powers in relation to any portion of the Dublin planning region or the Cork planning region (as the case may be) outside the said county borough, such authority shall ascertain the opinions and requirements of the district planning authority for every planning district which, or any portion of which, would be affected by such exercise of such powers and shall in such exercise of such powers have regard to the opinions and requirements so ascertained.
I move amendment No. 5.—(Government amendment):—
Section 19, sub-section (4). To delete in line 22 the words "have regard to" and to substitute therefor the word "consider".
I wonder what the difference is.
There is a difference. It might seem a small matter—merely a matter of drafting—but it is more than that. I am advised that the words "have regard to" might be held to imply that in the preparation of plans for the Dublin and Cork regions the respective planning authorities would be bound by the opinions and requirements of any of the district planning authorities in the respective areas. The use of the words "have regard to" might have a mandatory effect.
There is no doubt, I hope, that the word "consider" has not that effect.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 19, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 20 to 33, inclusive, agreed to.
I move amendment No. 6.—(Government amendment):—
Section 34, sub-section (5). To insert before the sub-section a new sub-section as follows:—
(5) The provisions of this part of this Act in relation to the passing of resolutions for the making of a planning scheme and to such resolutions when passed shall apply in respect of a resolution under consideration by or passed by a planning authority under this section for the making of a revoking or amending planning scheme as if the notice required by this section to be given and published by the chief executive officer of such planning authority were a notice of intention to propose a resolution in the terms of such application.
This is a drafting amendment to make it clear that the publication of an application of a responsible authority for the revocation or modification of a planning scheme shall be deemed to be a notice of intention to propose a resolution in the terms of such application, so that the matter can be finally disposed of by the planning authority at the meeting to which they are summoned to consider the application of the responsible authority. Otherwise, the planning authority, when they meet to consider the application, could not propose a resolution for the making of a regional or amending scheme, if they desired to do so, until the notice of intention to propose such a resolution had been duly given and published.
That is quite right. It makes the regulations the same in all cases.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 34, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 35 to 49 agreed to.
(1) Before exercising in relation to any structure or land a power conferred on them by this Part of this Act the responsible authority shall serve on the occupier of such structure or such land a notice in the prescribed form stating—
(a) the intention of the responsible authority to exercise such power, and
(b) the structure or land in respect of which such power is intended to be exercised, and
(c) the relevant provision of the planning scheme and the contravention thereof in respect of which such power is intended to be exercised, and
(d) the general nature of the work or things intended to be done in exercise of such power, and
(e) the date on or after which the said intended exercise of such power is intended to be begun.
(2) The date stated in a notice served under this section as the date on or after which the intended exercise of the power therein mentioned is intended to be begun shall not be less than one month after the service of such notice and the responsible authority shall not do any act or thing in exercise of such power in relation to the structure or land mentioned in such notice before the said date.
I move amendment No. 7.—(Government amendment).
Section 50, sub-section (1). To delete all from the word "this" in line 37 down to the word "form" in line 39, inclusive, and to substitute therefor the words "the next preceding section of this Act, the responsible authority shall serve, on every owner and on every occupier of such structure or land and on every person having a right over or in respect of such structure or land which in the opinion of the responsible authority may be affected by such exercise, a notice".
This also is a drafting amendment. It is considered desirable that notice should be served on the owner as well as on the occupier.
It is a great deal more than a drafting amendment but it is a very necessary amendment. It makes it necessary to serve on someone, other than the mere person in occupation, notice of compulsory changes in the structure of his house or the use of his land. Under the Bill as it stood, notice was to be served only on the man in possession. Now, it is to be served on the owner and "owner" is very properly defined by the next amendment. Both amendments ought to be passed.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 8, as follows, was agreed to:—
Section 50. To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—
(3) In this section the word "owner" means, in relation to any land or any structure, any person (other than a mortgage not in possession) who is for the time being entitled to sell or otherwise dispose of the fee simple of such land or structure or of any term of years for the time being subsisting in respect of such land or structure of which the unexpired residue exceeds three years.—(Senator S. Robinson).
Section 50, as amended, agreed to.
(1) Whenever the responsible authority has served under this Part of this Act a notice of their intention to exercise in relation to any structure or land a power conferred by this Part of this Act, any person occupying or having an estate or interest in such structure or such land may, before the date stated in such notice for the commencement of such exercise of such power, apply to the Justice of the District Court having jurisdiction in the district in which such structure or land is situate and on notice to the responsible authority, for an order quashing such notice, and thereupon the Justice, unless he is satisfied that circumstances exist entitling the responsible authority to exercise such power in relation to such structure or land in the manner indicated in such notice, may make an order quashing such notice.
The following amendments were agreed to:—
Section 51, sub-section (1). After the word "served" in line 58 to insert the words "on any person".— (Senator S. Robinson).
Section 51, sub-section (1). To delete in lines 61-62 the words "any person occupying or having an estate or interest in such structure or such land" and to substitute therefor the words "such person".—(Senator S. Robinson).
Section 51, as amended, agreed to.
(1) Whenever the responsible authority in exercise of a power conferred by this Part of this Act has done any work or thing on or in respect of any structure or any land and such doing of such work or thing was rendered necessary by any work, act, or thing done or omitted (in this section referred to as the occasioning act or omission) by any person on or in respect of such structure or such land (as the case may be) after the relevant date, the responsible authority shall, save as is otherwise provided by this section, be entitled to be paid by and to recover (as a civil debt in any court of competent jurisdiction) from the person or the personal representative or successor in title of the person who was responsible for the occasioning act or omission all expenses reasonably incurred by the responsible authority in doing the said work or thing so done by them as aforesaid.
(2) The responsible authority shall not be entitled to recover under this section expenses incurred by them where either the occasioning act or omission was done or omitted under and in accordance with a special permission or the occasioning act or omission was an act which consisted solely of the completion of work which either was begun before and was in progress on the relevant date or was begun under and in accordance with a general permission and in either case was not done in contravention of a special prohibition.
(3) All moneys recoverable under this section by the responsible authority in respect of expenses incurred by such responsible authority shall, immediately upon completion of the work or thing in the doing of which such expenses were so incurred, become and be a charge on the land on which such work or thing was done or, in the case of any work or thing done on or to a structure, on such structure (if and so far as it still exists) and the land on, in, or under which it is or was situate.
The following amendments were agreed to:—
Section 52, sub-section (1). To delete in line 21 and also in line 27 the words "act or omission" and to substitute therefor in each case the word "matter."—(Senator S. Robinson.)
Section 52. sub-section (2). To delete in line 32 and also in lines 33-34 the words "act or omission" and to substitute therefor in each case the word "matter."—(Senator S. Robinson.)
I move amendment No. 13 (Government amendment):—
Section 52, sub-section (3). To delete in line 46 the words "the land on, in, or under which it is or was situate" and to substitute therefor the words "the rateable hereditament or tenement consisting of or including such land or structure."
As the section stands, it might be held that the charge would only be on the actual portion of land on which the work was carried out, or in the case of a structure that was removed, the land on which the structure stood. It is necessary that the charge should in both cases be on the rateable hereditament consisting of, or including, the land or structure as the case may be.
That is quite right. It widens the provision.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 52, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 53 to 56 agreed to.
(1) Any person aggrieved by the grant or the refusal by a planning authority of a special permission or a general permission or by the making of a special prohibition by such planning authority may appeal within the prescribed time to the Minister and thereupon the Minister may do such one or more of the following things as are applicable to the case and he thinks proper, that is to say:—
(a) confirm the grant, refusal or prohibition the subject of such appeal;
(b) revoke the grant of the permission or the making of the prohibition which is the subject of such appeal.
(c) in the case of an appeal from a refusal to grant a permission, give the said permission with such (if any) omissions, and variations and subject to such (if any) conditions as he shall think proper;
(d) in the case of an appeal from the grant of a special permission, amend (by deletion, addition, or variation) such permission or the conditions attached to such permission and confirm such permission with and subject to such amendments;
(e) in the case of an appeal from the grant of a general permission or the making of a special prohibition, amend (by deletion, addition, or variation) the permission or prohibition (as the case may be) in relation to the statement therein of the area, lands, structures, work, and uses to which such permission or prohibition applies and confirm such permission or prohibition with and subject to such amendment;
(f) in the case of an appeal from the making of a special prohibition amend such special prohibition by inserting conditions therein or deleting conditions therefrom or varying conditions contained therein and confirm such special prohibition with and subject to such amendments.
I move amendment No. 14 (Government amendment):—
New section. Before Section 57 to insert a new section as follows:—
57.—(1) When a planning authority has passed a resolution for the making of a planning scheme and has, before such planning scheme comes into operation, made a special prohibition in relation to any work, such planning authority may, if they are of opinion that the prejudicial effect of proceeding with or doing the work to which such special prohibition relates would be of such nature as to be incapable of being remedied after the coming into operation of such planning scheme, declare, at any time before such planning scheme comes into operation, that any contravention of such special prohibition shall be penal.
(2) Every person who proceeds with or does any work in contravention of a special prohibition which a planning authority has under this section declared to be penal, shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.
This is a new section. It is being introduced to meet certain views expressed by members of the Dáil during the Report Stage of the Bill. It is conceivable that, where a work is prohibited, the work may still be undertaken and damage done which could not be subsequently repaired, as in the case of the demolition of a structure of artistic or historic interest. Where a work is undertaken in contravention of a prohibition, the only provision in the Bill is that no compensation is payable, and the owner or occupier can be required to remove the building or put the land into proper order and condition at his own expense. The section proposed to be added takes power to make penal any contravention of a special provision, and I recommend that the section be added to the Bill.
I think this provision is necessary because if an occupier or owner disobeyed the prohibition, when told to stop the carrying on of some work where a planning system was being carried out, and there was no penalty provided in the Bill, he could not be punished. This amendment makes action of that kind penal.
I have not examined this matter, and I am forming my opinion on what the Minister has said. Even the provision of a penalty will not put back the structure or monument which is interfered with. It has been suggested to me that some power ought to be given to prevent the damage being done.
I thought of that, but it would require an injunction in court. I should be very glad to see some quicker method provided.
If the damage is done before any action can be taken even by proceedings in court, what is to happen?
A big penalty is now prescribed. That is better than nothing.
Perhaps a further amendment could be moved on the Report Stage.
I am rather thinking of damage that would take two or three days to do. If the local authority knows that this damage is being done, surely they ought to be given some power to act within those two or three days.
To arrest the damage which is being done?
Other than force, I am afraid the court is the only remedy.
I do not know whether the court could not be invoked sufficiently quickly without the Bill.
Between now and Report Stage, we could consider whether a quicker method could not be devised.
If this matter is to be considered on Report, I suggest to the Minister that it would be advisable for him to take power to proceed by injunction against a disobedient person, and also that he should make the offence a continuing offence. On the construction of the sentence in the Bill, it is, I think, only one offence, and one sum of £50 is the sole penalty. I think that the Minister should consider giving the public authority concerned power to proceed by injunction, and also giving them the right to proceed for a continuing offence.
The offender is liable to six months' imprisonment as the Bill at present stands.
One person can get six months and the other person can go on with the work.
Perhaps Senator Johnson and Senator Brown would consult with the Minister before the Report Stage as regards this point.
One aspect of this question has been worrying me, and I have not found a way of meeting it. I refer to a point raised in the Dáil with regard to the cutting of trees. That is a matter we have not been able to deal with, so far. Under the Forestry Acts, there is power to stop the cutting of trees but not in urban areas or county boroughs. There are places in and around this city and other cities where, owing to extensive building operations, clumps of trees and single trees are running a very grave risk, including trees we should like to see preserved. If we knew that, in a certain area, trees which we would like to see preserved were in danger of being cut down owing to a building scheme, we could possibly step in and stop the cutting, but the difficulty raised in the Dáil had to do with preserving certain specified trees in urban districts and county boroughs. I have given considerable thought to that situation but I have not yet found a way of meeting it. If anybody has any suggestion which would meet that situation, I should be very glad to consider it.
The only way of dealing with the situation which the Minister contemplates would be to take power to apply for and obtain an injunction. That could be done in the space of an hour or two. And it may be a continuing injunction. So far as I know that would be much more effective than the provision here with a penalty which is a single penalty. Probably the Minister might consider that. Supposing a tree was singled out to be cut down, it is quite possible, having regard to the arrangements provided now, to go at once and, in the course of a few hours, get an injunction.
I think you could get an injunction as the law stands without any amendment.
Subject to what Senator Brown thinks I am inclined to believe this sub-section would be regarded as exclusively limited to what is legislated for.
I think we had better think over it.
Amendment ordered to stand over to Report Stage.
Amendment No. 15.—Section 57, sub-section (1). Before the word "special" in line 26 to insert the words "general or."—(Senator Séumas Robinson.)
Amendment No. 16.—Section 57, sub-section (1). To add at the end of the sub-section a new paragraph as follows:—
"(g) in the case of an appeal from a special prohibition, contravention of which has been declared by a planning authority to be penal, revoke such declaration."—(Senator Séumas Robinson.)
This amendment is consequential upon amendment No. 14, which we have adjourned to the Report Stage and should be adjourned accordingly.
Amendment ordered to be brought up again on Report Stage.
Sections 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66 and 67 agreed to.
Amendment No. 17. Section 68. To delete in line 16 the word "the" and to substitute therefor the word "a".—(Senator Séumas Robinson.)
Sections 68 and 69 agreed to.
(1) Whenever the value of any property is increased by the coming into operation or enforcement of any provision contained in a planning scheme or by the execution of any work by the responsible authority in pursuance of any such provision, every person having any estate or interest in such property shall be liable to pay to the responsible authority, on application by the responsible authority in the prescribed manner, a sum (in this Act referred to as payment for betterment) equal to three-fourths of the amount (if any) by which the value of the estate or interest of such person in such property is so increased.
Amendment No. 18. Section 70, sub-section (1). To delete in line 46 the words "in the prescribed manner".—(Senator Séumas Robinson.)
We think it is not necessary to have a prescribed form for the application.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 70, as amended, agreed to.
(5) Where a requisition is made under the foregoing provisions of this section by a statutory undertaker in respect of property occupied by him, then so long as such property continues to be occupied by such statutory undertaker and is used by him for the purposes or any of the purposes of his undertaking, such property shall not be deemed to be used for a purpose or in a manner substantially different within the meaning of this section from the purpose for and the manner in which it was used at the date of the application for payment of betterment in relation to which such requisition was so made.
I move amendment No. 19:—
Section 71, sub-section (5). To insert before the sub-section a new sub-section as follows:—
(5) Every application by the responsible authority under the next preceding sub-section of this section for a payment of betterment calculated in accordance with that sub-section shall be made within 12 months (or such longer period as shall be allowed by the planning scheme) after the property or the portion thereof, in relation to which such application is made, is so sold, leased, or let or is begun to be so used as to entitle the responsible authority to make such application.
We think that it is necessary to prescribe the time within which a responsible authority has to make application for payment under sub-section (4) of the section.
Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 71, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
I desire to refer, in reality, to two or three sections, and I think that this might be a suitable time. There is provision that where there is arbitration and payment for betterment has to be made the arbitrator may fix a time when the payment is to be made and may, if he thinks fit, provide that it be payable by instalments. I should be glad if the Minister would tell us whether, in the event of agreement for the payment of betterment, the local authority could make a similar arrangement, or make it at once. It might be that they could and that it might not be necessary to provide for that. I think it is desirable that if that is so it should be known. There is objection to planning schemes by persons who believe that they should make payment for betterment. There is, I believe, such difficulty in England. What I want to make clear is that the man who is to have his property improved and who finds that the payment is gradual over a series of years, will put no difficulties in the way of the scheme, because he will have the assurance that he will be able to provide for the betterment. Reading the sections together it does not seem to me that that is so clear. It is clear where there is an arbitration, but where you want to bring people into a scheme it seems to me it should be possible to make payment to the local authority by instalments. That might be clear, but I do not think it is and I would like to hear what the Minister has to say on the matter.
I sympathise with the points raised by Senator Douglas. I think it is already provided that payment can be made by instalments, but, in case there is any doubt, I will have the section relating to payment examined again, and I shall see that the point the Senator referred to is covered.
I think I can say definitely it is not in any section except by implication.
There is nothing against it.
And this particular amendment mentions a period of two months in which the application can be made. I think it would be well if the Minister would look into it. What would happen would be a loan would be made and it would be easier for the owner of the land to pay it over a numbers of years as he gets his rent in for the use of his land.
Question—"That Section 71, as amended, stand part of the Bill"— put and agreed to.
Sections 72, 73, 74, 75, and 76 agreed to.
(Regulations by the Minister).
I beg to move amendments Nos. 20 and 21:—
First Schedule, paragraph 1. To delete in line 15 the words "persons to whom, manner in which, and".
First Schedule, paragraph 1. To add at the end of the paragraph the words "and in the case of notices to persons, the persons to whom and the manner in which such notices are to be given, and in the case of notices to the public, the nature of the advertisements or other means by which such notices are to be given and published."
I think it is well to take these two amendments together. They enable regulations to be made under the First Schedule, the part that shows the notices to be given to the public, and the manner in which they are to be given to the public. As the First Schedule stands at present, it might mean that the only persons to be served are those who come within Section 8.
Amendments agreed to.
First Schedule agreed to.
I move amendments Nos. 22 and 23:—
Second Schedule, Part III, paragraph 2. After the word "of" in line 1 to insert the words "hill slopes, summits, valleys".
Second Schedule, Part III, paragraph 5. After the word "any" in line 10 to insert the word "vehicle".
I do not know whether it is very important but the point in the first amendment was suggested to me by an architect. Probably it is included in the actual words of the Schedule but in order to put it beyond doubt that places like Glendalough should not be excluded it was suggested to me that it would be advisable to add these words.
I think the matter is covered but I would like to consider it between now and the next stage. If the Senator will hold over the amendment I will have it looked into.
I shall do that. My whole intention was to avoid any doubt.
What about your second amendment?
It is related to the first amendment and consequently relates to vehicles which might be in large numbers, and which might be, I am told, used for advertisements. I should be glad if the Minister would look into it.
The term "caravans" probably has reference to what might be a "vehicle." They might be capable of being moved while remaining stationary. A tramcar which is deposited in a particular place, while capable of being moved, is really stationary. Whether it is a structure or not is an important question.
I shall have the matter looked into with the draftsman between this and the Report Stage.
Amendment withdrawn, to be brought up again on Report Stage.
I move amendment No. 24:—
Second Schedule, Part III. To add at the end of Part III a new paragraph as follows:—
8. The prohibition, regulation and control of the deposit or disposal of waste materials and refuse.
It seems to me that there should be power to look into this matter of deposits and of the disposal of waste material and refuse.
I accept the suggestion, but I must have time to consult the draftsman upon the matter.
Amendment adjourned for consideration on the Report Stage.
Question proposed: "That the Title be the Title of the Bill."
On the subject of the Title I want to put to the Minister a question that I raised on the Second Reading: Whether it is possible, on this Bill, to make provision that would enable a local planning authority, or a local authority that might become a planning authority, for these minor purposes such as the prevention of the destruction of the amenities of a town or a district to do so without having to compile a planning scheme? It is pretty well recognised that there are many towns and districts which have been destroyed from a scenic or amenities point of view by ugly advertisements and dilapidated buildings being allowed to remain and to become probably destructive of any decency in that town; yet the local authority is not able to deal with these minor matters until they have gone to the trouble and expense of a planning scheme. Now it strikes me that this Bill will be of very little use for a long time so far as it affects the country as a whole, until the smaller towns have had experience of what the larger towns have done. Until there has been a great deal of attention given which is not possible until the local authorities' officials have more time to spare than they have at present, very little planning in such districts will be done at all. But these authorities would like to have power to move those undesirable dilapidated structures or advertisements in undesirable places. I have in mind, and I am sure every Senator could multiply the illustration, where, in reference to one of the most interesting archeological objects of the country, we have, right up against the wall, planted a hoarding advertising somebody's cure all. It certainly ought to be in the power of the local authority to control these matters. We have in many small towns hoardings that destroy the local views and that generally make the place hideous. The same applies to some of the dilapidated buildings in some of these districts. A public authority if it is to be treated fairly and wants to make decent its surroundings should have the power to do so. Their plan might be very small and such only indeed as to touch that particular view of the subject. They might compile a scheme dealing with what might seem to be required before they would come to advise a much more detailed and more important plan and therefore, that power should be given to these authorities is a very desirable thing. I hope it will not be found impossible for the Minister to introduce an amendment of that kind. If it is I would plead that some new Bill should be brought in to give such power to the local authorities.
I should like to support what has been said by Senator Johnson on this question of dilapidated buildings, advertisements hoardings and eyesores in general. It should be a simple matter to have legislation, even in this measure, to give local authorities power to deal with a question of that kind. I observe that the Minister does not consider that in the present measure we could deal with that subject. That being so, I do hope that we shall have a measure expressly designed to meet the crying evil of these advertisements and these eyesores, especially on structures of archeological interest. Senator Johnson referred to some advertisements for pills and he appealed to other Senators to give examples of advertisements they have seen. The most remarkable advertisement I ever saw was an advertisement for a cure for rheumatism which was pasted up on Maire Ruadh's stronghold in Co. Clare. Certainly there was the past and the future meeting. It is an offence to the good sense and the good taste of the people—in fact, it is an offence to every proper sentiment of the people of this country—to have things like that done. It is advertising gone mad and I am sure that every member of the Seanad will agree that some check should be put upon the man with the paste-pot and the brush. I hope other Senators will also express their approval of what Senator Johnson has said.
I do not desire to speak on this matter further than to say that I re-echo all that has been said before in connection with it.
I should also like to join in the sentiments expressed by preceding Senators. There are some advertisements that are less objectionable and less unsightly than others. From my point of view, the most objectionable eyesores to be seen around our city and other cities are the political slogans which are painted with whitewash on buildings and on walls. Some of the loveliest districts around Dublin are rendered hideous by illiterate buffoons who go around with whitewash brushes writing political slogans on ancient walls and even on new buildings. They are generally written where they can best catch the eye and they offend every sense of good taste and decency. They are done too, very often in tar on white walls and on concrete walls so that not even the weather will wash them off or wear them away. Outside the Church to which I go, we are repeatedly greeted on the asphalt road with these political slogans extending for several yards on each side of the entrance gates. Any fool who thinks that he is going to win recruits or popularity for a political party, or a movement, by offending the taste of every decent citizen in that way, is certainly a fool in the truest sense of the word.
I think that people who are found defacing the countryside in that way should be subjected to very severe penalties. It takes away from the value of property in a district. It makes the whole thing look cheap, low and despicable. At election times, there may be some excuse for conduct of that kind, but political parties without exception exercise no discretion or sense of proportion when they are posting up their propaganda and I think there should be some provision whereby those responsible for defacing any particular part of the country, during an election, should be made responsible for pulling down these posters and removing these slogans when the election is over. At all events, whatever excuse there is for it during an election there is none whatever for it when there is no election pending. Followers of movements that are supposed to be idealistic and patriotic, which want to make Ireland all that its greatest lovers would have it, have no hesitation in making it by their smearings of whitewash and tar, a place from which any decent citizen would be glad to get away.
I have the fullest sympathy with the views expressed by Senator Johnson and other Senators who supported him. I should be quite happy to see legislation in operation which would give power to local authorities to take the fullest charge of the amenities of their towns and neighbourhood in general and to have objectionable structures, ruinous unhealthy areas, and unsightly advertisements destroyed. I certainly agree in toto with all that Senator O'Farrell has said with regard to the way buildings, new and old, have been defaced in recent years. I think that an appeal from members of this House and members of the Dáil to all sections of the community to discourage those who have been active would have a good effect. I think there is no one Party, or the adherents of no one Party, who can claim that they have not been guilty in this matter. I think that all of us should join in helping to create a public opinion that would, at any rate, help to deter those who have been indulging in this pastime of destroying buildings, roads and the countryside in general with the advertisements and slogans they have painted on our walls.
I am not certain if there is not power to do some of the things that Senator Johnson would like to see done given in Section 39 of the Bill, which points out certain provisions which may be contained in planning schemes. A planning scheme could, I think, be made to contain any one of the things set out in the sub-sections of that section. Paragraph (c) says: "for preserving, improving and extending the amenities of the area to which the scheme applies, and in particular for all or any of the purposes mentioned in Part III of the Second Schedule to this Act." No. 6 of Part III of that Schedule states "Preventing, remedying, or removing injury to amenities arising from the ruinous or neglected condition of any structure or by the objectionable or neglected condition of any land attached to a structure or abutting on a road or situate in a residential area." I think a planning scheme could be made for this purpose. There are also powers under the Public Health Acts whereby a a ruinous house could be, on public health grounds, removed but then the question of costs arises. I had applications, in the last year or two, from local authorities to provide money out of relief funds for the clearing away of ruins in country villages and small towns. I think some local authorities have used some of the relief moneys that have been granted, for the purpose. It could be done by the local authorities out of such moneys. Outside that, there are certain powers in the Town Planning Bill as it is. There are, I agree, not the full powers that Senator Johnson should like to see but I am afraid they could not be brought within the ambit of this Bill. It is possible too, that other legislation may be brought forward to cover the points he has in mind.
Would the Minister consider the advisability of issuing a circular to local authorities pointing out the powers they have under this Bill and other Acts, and drawing attention to the general desire that the painting of notices and political slogans should be prohibited in so far as they have these powers? I believe that if a circular of that description came from the Minister, pointing out the powers given to local authorities under this Bill and the powers they already enjoy, it would serve a useful purpose.
I think there is no power to deal with advertisements.
They seem to have such powers.
The Schedule states, "providing for the preservation of structures and objects of artistic, archæological, or historical interest."
It could not be said that taking down an advertisement would tend towards the preservation of the structure.
It is quite possible that it could. At any rate, the Title of the Bill has nothing to say to it now.
Title ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Bill reported to the House.
Report Stage ordered for Wednesday, 9th May, 1934.