Public Business. - Arterial Drainage Bill, 1944—Committee.

Section 1 put and agreed to.
SECTION 2.

I move amendment No. 1:—

In page 3, line 38, to delete the words "and wholly situate within the State".

These few simple words would, perhaps, appear to some Senators to be rather insignificant and not to hold much meaning. But the truth about it is, so far as I am concerned anyhow, that they are probably the most vital words in this whole Bill. They are words about which I am most intimately concerned and the effect of their presence in the section will largely vitiate the possibilities of good there are in this whole measure for myself and many others in a considerable area of this State.

It is necessary, perhaps, in order that the House may understand the position, to put before it what the effect of these few words will be. There is here a definition of what a drainage district is, and the definition is that it is wholly situate within the State. We had this to a certain extent on the Second Reading, and the Parliamentary Secretary devoted a fair portion of his speech to the problem. I am not satisfied that this Bill should pass without this amendment being accepted and inserted by the House, and I will give my reasons as fully and impartially as I can.

If the Bill should pass in its present form, it means that it will not operate in the greater portion of the County Cavan, in a considerable area in Monaghan, Leitrim, portion of Roscommon, portion of Longford, and portion of Donegal—I do not know about Sligo. In other words, because we have a drainage district which is situate partly within this State and partly outside the State, because we have Partition of the country, we are asked in this House to agree to a further partitioning. That is exactly what this proposition will mean. Naturally, any group of our citizens who must be concerned about the effects of legislation and about their future well-being, cannot feel happy about their exclusion from the benefits which ought to flow from any measure which passes through the Oireachtas, and I have no doubt that many of the people in the counties which I have mentioned will be considerably perturbed when they realise what the Oireachtas has done, if this Bill passes in its present form. I am not prepared to subscribe to that and I will ask the House to agree with me.

As I understand it, we have a drainage district in County Cavan which includes Loughs Gowna, Oughter and Erne. The Erne flows into Fermanagh and reaches the sea in Donegal. The Erne and Lough Gowna are joined in County Cavan by water which comes down from Monaghan and this flows on until it reaches the lakes in Fermanagh. At another point we have another drainage system included in the Ballinamore and Ballyconnell district—the Ballinamore and Ballyconnell canal. This canal starts somewhere on the borders of Roscommon and it drains South Leitrim. The history of this canal is interesting. It was constructed between 1846 and 1859 at a cost of practically £250,000. It was constructed for drainage and navigational purposes. The history of the canal would indicate that it was useless for navigational purposes. The extraordinary thing about it is that ratepayers along that canal who have never had any constructional work done on it or, in fact, any maintenance work since it was constructed nearly a century ago, are paying some sort of a maintenance rate to-day. All the law in connection with the maintenance of that drainage district is terribly complicated. Nobody in the area seems to know what are the rights of the riparian owners.

The proposition is that this Bill, which aims at straightening out and codifying all the drainage law, will exclude all these areas. I have been informed that the catchment of these areas is greater than the Shannon catchment and it would be interesting if the Parliamentary Secretary would give us some information upon that point. It will give the House some idea of what we are being asked to do. Why is this proposition being made? We debated this matter on the Second Reading. I can see the Parliamentary Secretary's point of view. His reason is apparently based on the report of the commission on which, we take it, this Bill has been founded. I will read the reference by the commission to this drainage district. Here is what they say:—

"Watersheds extending into Northern Ireland, or having their outlets in northern rivers present a special problem. The Lough and River Erne system is the most important of these. The outfall of the Erne system is at Belleek where there are four sluice gates, two in Northern Ireland and two in Éire. The levels of the lakes are fixed by statute but the system is inadequate to provide proper drainage for the large catchment area involved. Very costly works on that part of the River Erne which connects the Upper Lough with the Lower would be required to provide an efficient discharge. This portion of the river is wholly in Northern Ireland. The absence of proper outfall facilities, however, affects schemes situated wholly in Éire.

The same problem arises, but to a much smaller extent, in the case of rivers flowing into Éire from Northern Ireland.

While we fully realise the desirability of improving the conditions in drainage areas extending into Northern Ireland, we feel that in present circumstances the drainage difficulties in these areas can be solved satisfactorily and comprehensively only by agreement between the two Governments on the works which should be undertaken, the apportionment of the cost and the future proposals for maintenance."

I am not disagreeing with the point of view of the commission and I am not disagreeing with the Parliamentary Secretary's point of view when he urges that the drainage problem in that district can be best solved by a comprehensive scheme agreed upon between the two Governments. That is my view; I agree that would be the best way to do it.

On the Second Reading debate here the Parliamentary Secretary dealt with this matter at some length and he indicated that already the officials of the two Governments concerned had presented a joint report. The sum and substance of what he said was that they had presented four different propositions to the Northern Government. The Northern Government presented the report and the estimates to the Drainage Advisory Committee which, in turn—in Northern Ireland this was —rejected all four propositions and estimates and then he went on:—

"I am merely going over that ground to show the House that this is a problem which we are advised cannot be tackled unless we can ensure co-operative effort by both Governments. I have also given that explanation to show that efforts have been made in the past unsuccessfully to find a solution. What the future will hold in that regard is something which I am not in a position to deal with now."

Let us take that picture. We have not been idle on this side. We have had our officials working with the officials of the Northern Government. They have made a joint report and presented that to the Northern Government. They passed it on to a drainage commission and, if you please, that drainage commission has had the hardihood to reject all four reports. It is not that there is not an intense drainage problem in the Six Counties. Bad as we are on our portion of the Erne, they are much worse on the lower reaches. I have seen that district and the losses there are really appalling. How the people there can have patience with their Government and their Government's attitude is beyond me but people who are accustomed to flooding have a really marvellous patience and Christian fortitude to a degree that it is difficult to explain or to define.

The Parliamentary Secretary is asking us in this Bill to agree that this vast area of our own is to be excluded from this Bill. Why? Because we cannot get agreement with the people on the other side on a drainage scheme for our own area, we are not to bring this area within the terms of the Bill before the House. In other words, we are to subscribe to the position that we have not sovereignty over our own territory in a particular area because we cannot get agreement with the people on the other side to co-operate with us. I do not think we should be asked to subscribe to that proposition. There are other considerations which must be taken into account. Before the Parliamentary Secretary was appointed to his present post a very considerable drainage scheme was carried out in portion of this district. A sum of £88,000 was spent in draining portion of the area. I am not going to comment unfavourably on that. I have very little experience of drainage, except in so far as it causes flooding, but in a way it was a strange scheme. It was contrary to what the Parliamentary Secretary is asking the House to agree to now because it was done in the middle of a scheme. If Senators had a map of Ireland before them, they would understand how Longford, away towards the north and west of Leinster, is at the source of this drainage district. The drainage area then extends to portion of Cavan through the waters of the Gowna and Lough Oughter. While the upper reaches of the river were left untouched the drainage was commenced in the middle and came on until it reached the town of Belturbet. It ceased at the bridge in Belturbet, which is three miles off the Border at Fermanagh.

The original estimate for this work was, I think, somewhere in the region of £66,000—the Parliamentary Secretary will correct me if I am wrong— but the engineers made a miscalculation, because the final figures showed that the scheme actually cost something around £88,000. It was, therefore, possible to go in and spend £88,000 on a drainage area that was part of the district to which I am referring. No one is going to suggest, least of all the Parliamentary Secretary, who, I think, can claim a good deal of credit for getting that scheme put through, that the scheme did not do much good, and I am not going to make any such suggestion. I was in the same district 20 years ago, but I did not get very far in promoting the work. The Parliamentary Secretary got much further than I did, and, as a result, considerable improvements were made in that whole district. It is true, however, that a good deal of the constructional work done then was done at a season when it was not possible to work efficiently or effectively. It was done at a period of high flooding, some of it towards the winter season. The net result was that although this money was expended, a portion of the district in which the drainage was carried out needs further drainage work immediately to make the work on which the original money was expended an efficient job.

My interpretation of the section as it stands is that there will be no power under this Bill to go in and carry out the improvements in that whole area which are absolutely essential if the work on which so much money has been expended is to have any permanent benefit. In addition considerable sums of money have been expended in this area under the Land Improvement Scheme and more water is now flowing down to the main arteries than was the case a few years ago, so that from every point of view there is the greatest necessity for including the area in the terms of the Bill in order that the benefits that will come to other districts may not be denied to us.

Again, look at it from the tactical point of view and this is the last point I shall make at this stage. We made several propositions, apparently jointly with the engineers across the Border, to the people in the Six Counties with regard to getting a comprehensive drainage scheme for this area, but they have not accepted the propositions that were made. Are we just to sit down and do nothing until we get agreement from these people? Are the people in Cavan, Longford, Monaghan, Leitrim and Donegal to be excluded from the terms of this legislation until the people across the Border are prepared to subscribe to the plans we make? My view about it is that I feel that, although drainage is very essential across the Border in Fermanagh, even more essential than in the upper reaches of the river, it is going to be difficult to get the political Parties there to join with us.

Their joining with us would be a clear demonstration that there are problems that will have to disregard the existence of the Border and that there are circumstances which demand a joint effort on the part of the people on both sides of it. We know what these people are like. They are entrenched there and they are going to hang on to the last. The very last thing they will do will be to commit themselves politically to any act that will be a recognition of the fact that they can work with us, that there are things about which we do agree and that there is a joint effort which it is possible for us to make. Because I feel that this will be a continuing attitude on the part of the people over there, I would ask the House and the Parliamentary Secretary, who must be as aware of that aspect of the problem as I am, to agree to the inclusion of this area within the terms of the Bill. It will not be incumbent on the commissioners to start to-morrow or within 12 months to do constructional work over that whole area, but at least we shall have the power, if we are dealing with people who are impossible, to go in and do constructional work within our own area. I believe that the people in this area, when they will see what is being done elsewhere, will resent being excluded from the terms of this Bill.

I put it to the Parliamentary Secretary himself that the very last thing he should do is to take this decisive step, which is a demonstration that there is no hope of getting the people beyond to join with us. We should not put ourselves in a position in which it will be impossible for us to do constructional work within our own State. In the last analysis if these people are not ready to join with us, clean out the water across in their territory and come to an agreement as to how the costs are going to be apportioned for that cleaning, let us at least go ahead in our own rivers. Let the water flow away from us at least and if it will flow out on them, in the last analysis it will not be our fault. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to consider this very seriously. The proposal as embodied in the Bill, in my view, represents a step that it would be very unwise for this House to take.

This is a matter that was not discussed in the other House at all. I am at a certain disadvantage in discussing it, because, beyond what the Parliamentary Secretary has told the House, I have not been able to consider other circumstances which ought to weigh, but if I am asked to decide as between the point of view that we can have no scheme of drainage without a comprehensive scheme for the whole area, that we must await agreement on that scheme before we are to enact any legislation and that we are to exclude certain parts of the State from the terms of the Bill, and the point of view that we should have the power within our own legislation to do this job of work, I shall decide for the latter. We will be in a much stronger position, and the Parliamentary Secretary and the people who work behind him will be in a much better position, to deal with the other people. It is very easy for us who are the common people down the country who want rivers cleaned to make those across the Border understand that, if they do not get busy on securing their Government's agreement on a joint effort, our Government will utilise the powers which the Oireachtas has given, our rivers will be cleaned and they will have to take the consequences. I ask the House and the Parliamentary Secretary to accept the amendment.

I do not propose to accept this amendment. I do not think Senator Baxter knows what he is talking about. I did endeavour on the last occasion, apparently unsuccessfully, to make this matter as clear as I could. I will now make a further effort, although I did not intend to do so. There is nothing in this section or any other section to prevent the drainage authority going down to Belturbet or going down to the Border and digging a river as deep as would satisfy the heart's desire of Senator Baxter and myself. It can be dug 20 feet, 30 feet, 40 feet, 50 feet, or 100 feet, and, that being the case, why should we endeavour, as apparently Senator Baxter has, to get ourselves confused and tied up into a knot about this matter? If the words which Senator Baxter seeks to delete and which he asks the Seanad to support him in deleting whether I like it or not, are deleted, will he tell me how the Oireachtas can pass legislation which will compel the County Council of Fermanagh to take over that portion of the drainage district situated in its territory? Will he further tell me, if these words are deleted, what power have we to ensure that the method of maintaining that district by a flat rate will be acceptable to the people of Fermanagh or the County Council of Fermanagh? When Senator Baxter tries to get himself tied up in these words "wholly within the State", he forgets that these words are used in the definition of an existing drainage district. They are used in the defining of an existing drainage district for the purpose of transferring to the county councils the responsibility for maintenance, and in so far as there are districts which extend outside the jurisdiction of this State at the moment, surely he does not contend that we here can pass a law which will bind local authorities outside the jurisdiction of the State. I wish to goodness that we could by legislation achieve such a result.

Let me say again that there is nothing in this section, that there is nothing in the Bill, and that there will be nothing in the Bill when it becomes an Act, to prevent this authority which we are setting up under its provisions from draining every river and stream, if it thinks fit and proper, to any depth or any width, within the territory over which we have jurisdiction; but in so far as the maintenance of existing drainage districts is concerned, we here are providing a certain type of machinery that can be applicable only to the area over which we have jurisdiction and, therefore, the words "wholly within the State" must be inserted.

I am afraid the Parliamentary Secretary has not clarified the position for me. Whether it is clear to other members or not, I do not know, but may I ask whether, when the Parliamentary Secretary says that this term "situated wholly within the State" is in an existing drainage Act, I am to understand that all the drainage Acts are being repealed now by the passing of this measure? Is that the position? I understand it is.

You misunderstand.

We have indicated in the Schedule the Acts we are repealing: the 1848 to 1857 Acts; the 1863 to 1892 Acts; and the Drainage Acts, 1925 to 1929. That is the difficulty about a measure like this and I am still at a loss to know what the obligation upon us is to maintain an existing drainage district as defined in previous Acts, if, by doing so, we are to place certain restrictions upon ourselves and our activities. A particular drainage district which I know, and which the Parliamentary Secretary knows, included a number of counties. What obligation is there upon us to recognise that existing drainage district when it creates a situation for us in which we have control over portion of it and no control over the other portion and no hope, at present anyhow, of obtaining control over it and in which we do not seem to have much hope of obtaining agreement with the people who control it?

The Parliamentary Secretary tells me there is nothing in the Bill to prevent us digging rivers 20, 30 or 40 feet deep. Well, I am afraid I cannot see it——

Where is it?

——because there, again, you come to Section 57, and you find that that section is drafted in such a way that people within our county, and within a certain area, have to be treated in a different fashion to the riparian owners elsewhere. If the Parliamentary Secretary wants to satisfy me, I confess quite frankly that in regard to an existing drainage district, which includes portion of our territory and portion of a territory which is not ours, the position must be clarified to a greater extent than he has seen fit to do so far. I cannot find out in the Bill that we are going to have, in that particular area, the power and the right to do what is going to be done elsewhere, and I want the Parliamentary Secretary to clarify the position in a way that he has not done so far.

Mr. P. O'Reilly

I have listened to Senator Baxter and to the reply of the Parliamentary Secretary, and I must admit that I am not too clear as to the provisions that can be made under the Bill for the works, if any, to be carried out in the areas indicated by Senator Baxter. I am going to be quite brief in my remarks, but I wish to ask the Parliamentary Secretary some questions which, in my opinion, would clarify the matter, so far as I am concerned, and so far, I think, as the House is concerned. I want to know, first of all, if the provisions of this Bill will arrange for the maintenance of the Ballinamore and Ballyconnell Canal as it was prior to reconstruction.

It will not.

Mr. P. O'Reilly

I should also like to know if the upper reaches of the Erne, down to Leitrim, can be transferred to the county council or county councils, or the commissioners, as the case may be.

They will.

Mr. P. O'Reilly

I agree with Senator Baxter when he said that the canal was constructed to give employment rather than to give navigation rights or benefits. That canal is managed by two different authorities: one, the navigation trustees, and the other, the drainage trustees, but the county councils concerned are liable for payment to those authorities, and very few people seem to know what is the exact position. The only thing that the people of Leitrim know is that they have to pay. Surely, when we are legislating in this matter at all, we should legislate so as to ensure that the commissioners or the local authorities should have control over the area through which that canal flows, in so far as it affects the districts through which it runs. Of course, I realise that a canal does not flow in the same sense as we speak of a river flowing; but I am referring to the areas through which it passes.

I think that if a position could be achieved under this Bill, whereby a new drainage committee could be set up to deal with that particular area, as far as the Border, that would provide a proper solution. I know that there is greater disquiet in the minds of the people in County Leitrim about this Ballinamore-Ballyconnell Canal, and surely the Parliamentary Secretary could indicate definitely what will be the position as regards the reconstruction, and also the problem of maintenance after reconstruction. If nothing can be done under the present Bill, then why not amend it so as to ensure that a new drainage scheme can be operated legally, and then hand it over to the county councils or the commissioners, as the case may be? This matter has to do with Acts passed as long ago as 1859, and surely we could create a new drainage scheme or set up a new drainage authority that would be able to deal effectively with these works and carry out their maintenance, and forget all about the other things that have happened?

It seems to me that by a slight change in the wording of this section the intentions of the Parliamentary Secretary, and also those of Senator Baxter, could be carried out and met. Roughly, what seems to me to be necessary is this: that the wording should be, more or less, as follows: "The expression ‘existing drainage district" means a drainage district constituted under any of the Acts specified in the First Schedule to this Act, the whole or part of which is situated within the State". The difficulty seems to have arisen, because of the fact that some of the Acts mentioned in the First Schedule were passed before the Northern Government came into existence, because, when we speak of a drainage district, as mentioned in that Schedule, we mean the whole of the district, whether it is on this side or the other side of the Border. It seems to me, accordingly, that by a slight alteration such as I have mentioned the whole position could be made clear and satisfactory to all Senators.

I should like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether the point under discussion is not adequately covered by sub-section (6) of Section 57?

I am not clear as to the point we are discussing now. I do not know the point on which the Seanad needs information. So many points are being raised now that I, myself, am confused.

Undoubtedly, it is covered by Section 57 (6).

Yes, sub-section (6) of Section 57.

But if you do not get agreement? That is the point.

In so far as this amendment is concerned, there is only one matter to be remembered, and that is that Senator Baxter seeks the deletion of the words "and wholly situate within the State". I have made it clear, I think, that if those words are deleted, you are asking this House to enact legislation providing for the transfer of authority to a county council over which this State has no jurisdiction at the moment. I say— and I am sure that every Senator will agree with me in this—that that proposal is impracticable at the moment, and that there should be no need to bring any padding of this sort into the Bill since, obviously, the thing could not be done at the moment. This is a straightforward position that we have taken up. The suggestion made by Senator Baxter cannot be adopted in our present circumstances and, therefore, I am not accepting his amendment.

Is it not the position that even if the Parliamentary Secretary did accept Senator Baxter's amendment, the drainage districts concerned would be always deemed to be districts within the jurisdiction of this Oireachtas?

Yes, that is so.

I wish we could change it, but that is the position at the moment. Some of the Acts that are being repealed go back long before the establishment of the Irish Free State, and, by the insertion of words, you cannot actually create districts over which you might wish to have jurisdiction which are outside the limits of the State. Accordingly, even if the Parliamentary Secretary had met Senator Baxter by taking out those words, it would not make any difference.

In order to meet this point, why not make a slight alteration, leaving in the words proposed to be deleted and adding the words, "and if, after the time of the passing of this Act, the drainage district extends even outside the borders of the State, then such position as existed at the time of the passing of the Act will still exist"?

But it would be the same thing.

Yes, it would be the same thing in one sense, but it would make it quite clear that where you have a drainage district which extends on each side of the Border, remedial decisions, designed by this Act, would apply to so much of that district across the Border as would exist on this side of the Border. I am not saying that this Bill provides it, but it would make a close analysis of every case in which the words, "wholly situate within the State," occur. If some such amendment as I tentatively suggest were inserted, it would clear away the possibility of any misunderstanding and remove any objection in the minds of Senators. I do not know whether or not that could be done, but it strikes me that, if it were possible, it would solve all doubts and difficulties.

The section, as it stands, meets the problem quite satisfactorily. I believe that a great deal of the discussion that has taken place here and, perhaps, outside arose from a complete misunderstanding and from confusion as to what is aimed at and what is provided here.

I am not in any way dissenting from that but, in so far as the section may be misleading or ambiguous, my amendment would, I think, make things clear and it would not effect any alteration.

It might be well if the Parliamentary Secretary would consider carefully whether there is not the possibility of the wording, as it stands, excluding an existing drainage district which is half and half within and without the State. For that reason, I think it might be looked into.

I do not want the Parliamentary Secretary to misunderstand me. I did not read the Bill until it came to this House. The Parliamentary Secretary was communicated with a long time ago by people connected with Ballinamore and Ballyconnell drainage district and they did not get information which clarified the position for them. I was communicated with and I got the Bill and read it. It was not more clear to me than it was to the people to whom I have referred. Provision was not made in the way I should like for the inclusion of that area. It was not clear that the area would be included. If the paragraph were clarified on the lines suggested by Senator Kingsmill Moore, it would make many of us much more happy. This is not a matter for agitation; it is a matter for understanding. We all want to get one thing done and it does not matter who does it. I respectfully suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that he should consider the suggestion made by Senator Kingsmill Moore. If he does so, I shall withdraw my amendment.

In my opinion, there is no necessity for Senator Baxter's amendment at all. Section 2 is a definition section and this paragraph defines the expression, "existing drainage district". It provides that these words shall mean "a drainage district constituted under any of the Acts specified in the First Schedule to this Act"—namely, any drainage district constituted under the Acts which are repealed by this Bill which is wholly situate within the State. Prior to the setting up of the Northern Government, all the existing drainage districts under the Acts now being repealed were situate wholly within Ireland. After the setting up of the Six-County area, some drainage districts were wholly in the Irish Free State, while others were wholly in the Six-County area, the remainder being partly situate in the Free State and partly in the Six Counties. We cannot legislate for drainage districts which are wholly situate in the Six Counties, but we can legislate for drainage districts which are wholly situate within Éire and for so much of the drainage districts partly in the two areas as is situate in Éire. Part III of this Bill deals with existing drainage districts and this is a definition clause for the purpose of Part III of the Bill. That deals solely with drainage districts wholly situate in Éire. Section 57 deals with drainage districts which are partly in the territory of Éire and partly in the Six-County area. The problem is completely provided for in the Bill and by deleting the words, "wholly situate within the State", from this definition clause you would achieve nothing. Everything has already been achieved in the Bill as it stands. I oppose Senator Baxter's amendment, because, in my opinion, it is unnecessary.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 2 and 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
SECTION 4.

I move amendment No. 2:—

At the end of sub-section (1) to add the following proviso:—

"Provided, however, that if it should appear to the commissioners when preparing a scheme that the carrying out of certain works included therein would reduce flooding earlier it shall be lawful for the commissioners to divide the scheme into sections and to describe such urgent works in a separate schedule and to proceed with and complete the said works before proceeding with the other sections of the scheme and in that event all the provisions of this Act shall apply to such partial scheme and to the works so completed as if the works described in the said schedule formed a separate and complete scheme."

In this amendment, I am hopping to give greater freedom and power to the commissioners. As Senators know, a scheme consists of plans, specifications, and estimates prepared by expert engineers. These plans, specifications and estimates show very often that the expenditure will run into many thousands of pounds and that the scheme will be a difficult one to carry out. My idea is that the engineers, when preparing their scheme, should be asked to ascertain what portions of the work are urgent and can be done with the minimum of expense, while effecting the greatest food. These works would then be put into a separate schedule, if necessary, and carried out first. Very often, the doing of certain works near, or at the mouth of, a river has the effect of draining a large portion of the flooded area. It might take away three-quarters of the flood or more. I understand that the new method of drainage is siphoning. The Pontine Marshes in Italy were drained by that method by Signor Mussolini. Large quantities of water can be drawn off in a short time in that way. The greatest amount of drainage could be effected in the shortest possible time and at the minimum of expense if my suggestion were adopted. Section 30 and subsequent sections deal with partial completion but when engineers get on to a scheme they, naturally, try to make it as perfect as possible. That means carrying out the whole scheme, so far as it can be done. My idea is to put urgent works into a separate schedule and carry them out as a scheme to which all the provisions of the Act would apply when completed. In that way, they would be able to deal with a certain river and, when they found that sufficient had been done for the time being, they could pass on and drain other rivers.

I cannot accept the amendment. There must be a dozen good arguments against it that I do not propose to give. The Drainage Commission, having studied this matter, provided us with a paragraph in which they maintained that much of our trouble in the past arose out of piecemeal treatment of this whole problem of drainage. The amendment suggests that we should go back to the very thing which they recommended we should get away from. For these and other reasons I am not prepared to consider the amendment.

I am sorry that the Parliamentary Secretary should have taken up that attitude because I have known quite a number of rivers on which a great deal of work was done at very small expense. Rivers were drained simply because they were approached at the mouth, and the work was done not by the Board of Works but independently by certain individuals who put up the money. I was hoping that that policy would be applied to larger schemes, and that the object of the amendment would be carried out in that way. I thought that Section 13 and other sections contemplated something of the kind. I put down the amendment because I wanted to make it clear that such works could be done: works of a very urgent nature, such as the removing of big obstacles in the shortest time possible. That would not prevent the commissioners carrying out the remainder of the work as soon as they liked. My idea is that they should be empowered to do very urgent work such, for example, as the drainage of the greatest possible quantity of land in the shortest possible time and at the minimum of expense. That was my object in putting down the amendment.

The acceptance of the amendment would simply mean that you would have engineers securrying around the country. Their time would be wasted if they had to be going here and there blasting rocks out of rivers. It would mean that they would have to be dashing about from place to place with machinery of all kinds to do little bits of jobs, and when they had done that you would then have people travelling into the Senator's office in Galway seeking the advice of counsel as to whether all the necessary precautions had been taken to ensure that the authority responsible had discharged its responsibilities in a proper manner. I could cite thousands of reasons, without almost a thought, as to why an amendment of this kind could not even be considered.

Would not the Parliamentary Secretary have the same rights in carrying out portion of a scheme as he would in carrying out the entire portion? I would ask him to reconsider the matter.

As a matter of practice, it is not unusual for engineers to divide a scheme into sections and to do the most urgent work first. My recollection is that, in the case of the Barrow Drainage Scheme, it was divided into a number of sections. The engineers began by blasting away certain obstructions and taking away certain islands. They started on the most immediate work. There would not seem to be anything abnormal or unusual, from the engineering point of view, in accepting a provision such as Senator O'Dea suggests. The Bill does not contain anything that would seem in any way to prevent the commissioners from doing that. After all, you can have partial completion of a scheme. If there is nothing in the Bill which prohibits the engineers from acting in that way, I would feel inclined to support the amendment. It seems to me that the engineers can, and normally, would, proceed in the way the amendment suggests.

There is no cramping of the engineers as to the manner in which they will discharge their obligations and duties. Senator Baxter spoke about the peculiarities of the work that was carried out under the 1925 Act in the case of the Erne. He talked about the manner in which the Board of Works jumped into the middle of an area and took on a piece of work on which they said they would spend £66,000—on the reconstruction of the rivers there. They found that, instead of spending £66,000, they had to spend £88,000. The Senator was puzzled as to why that procedure was followed there. It was followed because, naturally, the engineers were looking for portion of a scheme that would give the best possible return for the money that was to be expended. The work was partially satisfactory, but it could not be described as being entirely satisfactory. I could draw the attention of the Seanad to a number of schemes that were carried out under the 1925 Act on more or less the principle that we are asked to accept in this amendment. As far as I know, there is nothing in the Bill to prevent the engineers, when they go into the catchment area, from preparing schemes and carrying them out piecemeal. All that, of course, will depend upon their technical judgment. There is nothing, however, in the Bill, that I know of, to prevent them from doing that. What, however, is behind the whole plan of this Bill is that work should not be undertaken, or should not be left in the condition that piecemeal work is usually left in—the going into a catchment area and removing a half dozen rocks or obstructions and leaving the job there and then going off to another one. That is the sort of piecemeal construction work that certainly is not intended and that would not, of course, be wise.

As regards the equipment which it will be necessary for the commissioners to become possessed of to do drainage work, only a portion of it will be necessary on a particular scheme or at a particular time. We are not, I take it, going to spend a colossal sum of money on a number of huge bull-dozers. A few of these instruments will be sufficient. Surely when these and other machinery have taken rocks out of the bed of a river they can be taken to another district to do similar work there. I take it that the drainage authority will have to divide up their machinery and equipment. They will be carrying out a number of schemes and will use the mechanisation they provide themselves with to do the most essential work first. It seems to me that there is every justification for the acceptance of Senator O'Dea's amendment. I think that it would be possible to accept it within the terms of the Bill, and that if the Parliamentary Secretary were to put his point of view to the House in that way it would be satisfactory.

If the Parliamentary Secretary thinks he cannot carry out the works on the lines I suggest in the amendment, I am prepared to withdraw it, but I doubt it very much.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 3:—

In sub-section (2) to add to the sub-section a further paragraph as follows:—(h) estimated cost of scheme.

Section 4 defines all the things which a scheme, prepared by the commissioners, will show on its face. But I could not find in the section, or anywhere else in the Bill, any obligation on the commissioners to show what the estimated cost of any particular scheme is going to be. It may be that it is hidden somewhere in this measure but I cannot find it. There is nothing more essential in connection with any scheme than to show what it is going to cost. It is imperative that we should know that, so that when advertised people could see what additions were necessary, so that riparian owners had intimation of the intention to carry out a scheme as well as county councils concerned and the country generally. It would be an unjustifiable position if we found that a considerable sum of money was going to be spent on a drainage scheme, but that nowhere was there any information available as to the probable cost. It is vital that that should be known. It is something that the Oireachtas and all concerned should know and nowhere will such a provision fit in more in accord with the provisions of the Bill than here. For these reasons I hope the amendment will be accepted.

It would be a reasonable provision to notify county councils of the estimated cost of schemes, if the councils were bearing any share of the cost, but in this case it is the State is bearing the cost. Therefore, there does not seem to be any purpose in notifying the local authority as to the cost when the local authority is contributing nothing to the proposed works. The State will vote the money annually in the Estimates in the ordinary way and it will then be necessary to make a case for the amount of money that is to be provided in particular cases. I agree that that should be done. But, seeing that the local authority is not contributing anything, I would not agree that there is any obligation to notify them. They are ratepayers admittedly, but it is the taxpayers that matter in this case. The Houses of the Oireachtas will be given information on behalf of the taxpayers generally.

Will members of the Oireachtas have any idea of the proposed works to be undertaken and of how much money will be spent in each area?

Each scheme will be provided for individually. For example, if schemes were approved of by the Minister, it would be necessary to come to the House with an intimation of the amount that would be required. It would be necessary to show the amount required.

For each scheme?

That satisfies me.

That was not clear to me. My idea in having this amendment embodied in the Bill is that the cost of a drainage scheme should be shown. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to consider that suggestion.

Estimates in such cases mean very little and the Senator has in fact produced arguments as to their futility. For instance, if the estimated cost of a scheme amounted to £66,000 it might be exceeded by £20,000 in one area. I am in entire agreement with the principle that the public when called upon to bear the burden, should know the cost, but I do not see why anybody else should be informed.

I want to see how these proposals will operate. In the past when we undertook drainage we had legislation for every scheme.

Not under the 1925 Act. This is a machinery measure.

I understand how it is to be operated. This is a machinery measure under which you can, any time after the Estimates are through, indicate the intention to carry out drainage schemes in particular areas. I urge when publicising what water courses are going to be dealt with, what works are proposed to be executed, and what lands will be improved, that the public should know what the scheme in its entirety will cost. The Oireachtas should know that. I am not quite clear, whether the Parliamentary Secretary is taking up the attitude that the Estimate, each financial year, will show that so much money is going to be spent on the Erne, say, £100,000 this year and £100,000 next year, or whether he means that on a proposed scheme, £350,000 was going to be spent, and that that round figure would be voted upon. If I could get an intimation that there will be a round figure, showing the cost, that would be all right. I want the Oireachtas, when a scheme is presented, to know the total cost so that there will be liberty to discuss it. It is a matter that should be discussed, because it is one in which there will be various opinions, and on which members of the Oireachtas should have full information. If we are to have the position that so much money will be voted year after year for carrying out schemes, I would not be satisfied.

I know how difficult it is to give an estimate which can be adhered to. Drainage is a problem about which there is not a great deal of technical knowledge available here. We have to learn and to pay for that knowledge. Engineers may make miscalculations. We must face that position. There is no use in taking up the attitude that engineers did not misunderstand the formation of the bed of rivers, or the composition of embankments. We are not going to be up against such difficulties. It would be much better to take the whole country into our confidence, to let the people know what the cost of drainage schemes is going to be, and how it is not possible to keep to the estimates. If a reasonably decent job is done the public will not be critical. I heard a great deal of discussion about the drainage of the Erne. I heard complaints that certain things were not done and that certain people did not get benefit, but I heard others, who could not say enough in favour of the benefits that had been conferred by that work. Immense good has been done, and that more than balances the failures. There is no reason to be dissatisfied with what has been done, but there are possibilities of improvement.

I am very far from admitting that I ever said in the Oireachtas or to any other authority what Senator Baxter mentioned. I take it that the procedure in the ordinary case would be to indicate the bulk amount in the Estimate. As Senators are aware it is possible that the bulk sum would not be required in one year and, therefore, only the portion of the cost that was likely to be expended would be sought. That has been the practice. That would give everybody all the information they wanted. They may then be as critical of the expenditure as they want to be.

May I point out that this amendment is necessary to make the section consistent? If you look at sub-section (2), clause (d), you will see that one of the things that have to be put out in the original scheme is the aggregate annual value of the lands which are to be benefited and the total increase in the annual value thereof which will probably arise. In other words, one of the things which are of vital importance when you are preparing a scheme is to form an idea as to how much you are going to increase the benefit of the lands by removing flooding from them. But that by itself is a figure which is of no use whatever because, if you are going to increase the annual value of lands by £1,000 a year and the cost of so doing is £50,000, you would come to the conclusion that it was not worth doing. So that, if you must approach a scheme with an idea of trying to estimate what good it is going to do for the lands, before you come to the conclusion that the scheme is to be executed, you must also have before you an estimate—a rough estimate if you like—of the cost of the scheme. In other words, clause (d) would really be of no value unless you had the contemplated clause (h) giving you the estimated cost of the scheme.

Is it not very valuable and necessary for maintenance purposes?

It may be for maintenance, but not for construction.

That is an important factor.

It may be a factor, I agree with you at once. It may help you in the future. But the commissioners have to judge of a scheme as a whole. They have to see how much it is going to do and what it is going to cost. These are the two essential facts which, as far as possible, they must have presented to them when they are judging of the necessity of a scheme. If it is not going to do much good, and if it is going to cost a lot of money, they may have to refuse to sanction it. If it is going to do a lot of good, and is not going to cost much money, clearly, they must sanction it, but there will be cases in which there will be a very delicate balance between the amount of good which is to be done in the future and the cost of carrying out the works which will produce that good.

Therefore, I respectfully suggest that this section is not of very much use unless you are able to draw up both sides of the balance sheet—first of all an estimate of the probable good that would be done to the lands by the carrying out of the works and secondly an estimate of the probable cost of carrying out the works. Having regard to certain of the later amendments standing in the name of Senator Baxter, whereby he seeks to have these big schemes capable of being inspected and, if necessary, reviewed by either House of the Oireachtas, it would be absolutely essential that anybody coming to judge of a scheme of this nature should be able to see both the approximate credit and the approximate balance before he made up his mind.

Personally, and because it is not Government policy, I cannot agree to take the line of reasoning that has been put forward by Senator Kingsmill Moore. Senator Kingsmill Moore is approaching this from an angle entirely different from the angle of approach in this Bill. He is now presuming that each scheme must be examined on the basis of its economic value. The Drainage Commission went into this matter very fully. The House is aware that it was because of the acceptance of the point of view which has been expressed now by Senator Kingsmill Moore that drainage operations in the past have been unsatisfactory. It is because of the fact that the Drainage Commission in their recommendations suggested a different type of approach to this problem and it is because the Government accepted the point of view as expressed in their report that we have in this Bill an acceptance by the State, in the name of the taxpayer, that the problem of arterial drainage should be met and should be approached from a point of view entirely different from that which was accepted in the past and to which Senator Kingsmill Moore has now given expression.

Surely the facts should be known, anyhow.

In the event of the Senator's approach being accepted, it would, I suppose, be vital that the estimated cost of the works should be set out, but sub-section (d), to which he refers, is inserted here for an entirely different purpose. The State and the taxpayer have accepted the responsibility for constructional works and, in this Bill, after we have carried out these constructional works and have provided the organisation for their maintenance, we set about saying whose responsibility it will be to pay for the necessary maintenance in order to keep them in good condition. That being so, this sub-section (d) is inserted. It is only for the purpose, where you have a drainage scheme carried out in two or more counties, of showing the extent to which the land owners in each county have benefited in order to enable a proper and fair division to be made of the cost of maintenance of the works in the years that follow.

I see Senator Kingsmill Moore's point of view. It is an understandable point of view if your approach to the drainage problem is different from the approach outlined in these proposals. It is not acceptable, understandable or necessary in view of the fact that the approach to the problem is not as he has stated. I agree entirely—again I repeat—that the taxpayer should know, and the taxpayer will know, the estimated cost of each scheme and we will annually come forward asking the Dáil to give us the portion of that total estimate that we think we will be able to expend in the year.

There is another point which I did not cover properly. Senator Kingsmill Moore attaches all this importance to the indication of the estimate. Even if the procedure in relation to each scheme were as he would have it, is not the futility of that procedure established? If the Erne scheme had been presented to Senator Baxter and me in the year the scheme was approved, and if we had examined the scheme from the point of view of the estimated cost of £66,000 and said that as far as we could see the scheme was worthy of sanction, that it was a scheme to which the State and the local authority and the riparian owners were entitled, on economic grounds, to contribute, and after we had got the scheme under way and after the £66,000 had been expended on it, we found that the scheme cost an additional £20,000, it would upset all our previous calculations as to the wisdom or otherwise, from the economic point of view, of proceeding with the work.

Anybody can be wrong.

I think such arguments go to show that the Drainage Commission were wise in recommending this course and that the Government were wise in accepting their recommendation and, in fact, going a little further than was suggested to them.

I have not yet got from the Parliamentary Secretary whether or not, when a scheme appears, at the same time we will know somehow what the total cost of the scheme will be.

You have.

Will we get that?

The Senator has got from me an assurance that when a scheme is sanctioned by the Minister and when somebody comes to the Dáil looking for the money, the cost of the scheme will be shown.

The total cost?

The total cost.

That is enough.

Unless I get down on my knees and swear it, I do not know how I am to get my word accepted.

The only comment I can make on that is that I am not clear— perhaps it is due to the Parliamentary Secretary's method of expression— whether the procedure will be that he will come to the Dáil year after year and get certain amounts voted, and that when they have all been spent we will know the cost of the schemes. That was the impression I got. He followed that up by pointing out how futile it was to make an estimate. I am anxious to press this amendment, because the Oireachtas ought to have the right to pass judgment on every scheme that is to be put through. Let us try to see how this thing is going to work out. The Parliamentary Secretary or the Minister for Finance will come to the Oireachtas with an Estimate for the Commissioners of Public Works—a round sum. I take it now that he will include the sums to be spent on the particular schemes which are to be carried out over a particular period. Simultaneously with that, are we going to have a copy of the scheme. I do not know. The Parliamentary Secretary can enlighten me. I am trying to work out how this is to operate. At the time that the estimate is made will we have those schemes available to us, so that we can consider all those things in conjunction?

What does the Senator mean by "those schemes"?

Well, each scheme.

When the Senator says "will we have a copy of the scheme", what does he mean by that?

Section 4 deals with the preparation of drainage schemes, and outlines all the things that the commissioners will do with regard to the preparation of drainage schemes.

I am not so much concerned about that. What I am concerned about knowing is what the Senator has in his mind when he says he would like to have a copy of the scheme. It is not so much what is here as what is in the Senator's mind that I am trying to find out.

I am trying to find out what is in the Parliamentary Secretary's mind.

It does not matter what is in either of their minds. It is what is in the Bill that matters.

What matters is what is in the Bill—what the law is going to be. I am trying to apply that to the concrete situation with which the country will be confronted ten, 15 or 50 years hence. I am asking that, on the face of each scheme, will appear the estimated cost of the scheme. I think that is a reasonable thing to ask the House and the Parliamentary Secretary to agree to. I think it ought to appear on each scheme. The Parliamentary Secretary's argument against that is that he will go or somebody will go to the Dáil year after year and get a certain sum to be spent on drainage; that no one scheme will be completed in any year, and that accordingly it would be inadvisable to ask for a greater amount than can be spent in a particular year. When he made his statement originally, I was not quite clear as to whether he would ask only for what he was going to spend on a particular scheme in a particular year, or whether he was going to say at the beginning that a scheme would cost £500,000 but he was asking for only £150,000 in that particular year. At the time he asks for that money, it may very well be that the scheme as here outlined may not be available to the public. I do not know. He can enlighten us on that.

I should certainly like to know the total cost of a scheme in so far as it would apply to any district in which I may be personally interested. If there were aspects of the scheme with which I was not satisfied, I should like to be in a position to come to this House and say so. For instance, if we were borrowing money at a price which was, in my judgment, too high, and accordingly the cost of the scheme was going to be more than it ought to be, I should like to be able to discuss that in conjuction with the scheme as a whole. I am not yet quite clear as to the stage at which the draft scheme will appear; whether it will appear simultaneously, or be published before the Minister proceeds to get the money voted by the Oireachtas for the carrying out of the scheme. I believe that every scheme should show on its face the estimated cost of that scheme. I think that would not mean that the Minister for Finance in any particular year, would have to ask for a greater amount than he was going to spend on a scheme in that year. I certainly urge that the Oireachtas and the taxpayers ought to know what the total cost of any one scheme is going to be.

I would assure the House that the taxpayers and the Legislature will know. I can go no further than that.

I am rather reluctant to intervene between the Parliamentary Secretary—a Cavan man—and Senator Baxter. It seems to me that Senator Baxter has overstated what seemed at the outset to be a good case. The Parliamentary Secretary has already assured us that those items of the cost will come before Parliament from time to time. This is an arterial drainage scheme covering the whole country. Part of the Bill would have to be vetoed if Senator Baxter's point of view were to be given effect to. Obviously, the schemes will be takenin toto, and presumably the engineers will estimate the general cost over a county or counties as the case may be. The Parliamentary Secretary has assured us that those costs will come before the House, and I do not think there is any necessity for this House to labour the point any further.

I have a feeling that the more that is being said about this amendment the greater the confusion becomes. I do not think that the schemes will come before Parliament. The Bill is perfectly clear as to what the procedure is to be. The commissioners are of opinion that a scheme should be prepared. They go ahead and prepare the scheme, and they are required to set out in that scheme the matters mentioned in sub-section (2) of Section 4. When that scheme, prepared in accordance with that sub-section, is ready, a copy will next be sent to the county council or to the several county councils concerned. Simultaneously, or as soon as possible thereafter, notices concerning the scheme will be sent to interested parties, occupiers of land, and so forth. After those two things have been done, and an opportunity has been afforded to the county councils and to the other interested parties to make observations to the Minister, the Minister proceeds to ratify the scheme or to reject it. He can send it back or do what he likes with it. He has power to sanction the scheme. I submit that what the Minister is going to sanction is the scheme framed in accordance with sub-section (2) of Section 4, and no other scheme, and there is no obligation on the commissioners to set out in that scheme any reference whatever to its cost. If the Minister obeys the law, he is not entitled to ask the commissioners what the scheme will cost. It may be a good thing or it may be a bad thing. I entirely agree with the Parliamentary Secretary in so far as he insists that drainage is not merely a question of the economic cost. I entirely agree with that, but I do submit that the Minister will have to get information somewhere, because the Minister concerned is the Minister for Finance. He will have to get information somewhere as to the ultimate expenditure on each scheme, and he is not going to get that information in the scheme which the commissioners are required to prepare. It seems to me that that is an undesirable practice. It would appear entirely irregular to make provision for the preparation of a scheme which is designed along certain lines and then have something else behind it which does not appear in the legislation.

Another difficulty is that while the Parliamentary Secretary is very rightly insisting that drainage is apart from economic cost, he makes provision in paragraph (d) of sub-section (2) for an inquiry into the economic aspect. The commissioners must show in their scheme where the benefiting lands are situate and also the annual value of the improvement proposed to be brought about by the drainage. If the Minister considers that the advantage to be derived from drainage is so infinitesimal as not to be worth while, he may and probably would refuse to approve the scheme. I think there is some confusion when, on the one side the Parliamentary Secretary is insisting that cost must not be an aspect at all and on the other side he is taking cognisance of the value of the improvements to the land. It seems to me that these two views are repugnant to each other. What is of the greatest surprise to me is that the Minister is expected to approve or disallow a scheme which will not on its face inform him what it is going to cost.

I accept, without any reservation whatever, the assurance of the Parliamentary Secretary that, as long as he is in his present position, before passing any scheme or putting it before the Minister, he will find out the estimated cost. That would seem to be natural in any case, and I accept it without any question. What he has not made clear in his reply is the fundamental objection he has to saying so in the Bill. We are discussing a point of importance, but we have got round to other issues. The only point between us now is why it should not be put in the actual legislation. There may be an excellent reason, but it is not clear to me, though I am satisfied that, in practice, it will be done.

Senator Duffy should not be considerate about the awkward position in which the Minister for Finance is being placed, as I can assure him that the Minister is in an excellent position to ensure that he will know the estimated cost, before he gives the necessary sanction to any particular scheme.

But why is that not in the Bill?

These schemes have to be submitted at the outset to the local authorities, who are paying none of the constructional cost. Under the 1925 Act, it was the practice to inform the local authority of the estimated cost, as they were asked to contribute from the county rates. I stated that, since they were not being asked to contribute to the constructional cost now, there was no indication being given as to the estimated cost. I further stated that, when the scheme was approved after all the things to which Senator Duffy referred had happened, some person would come forward in Dáil Eireann seeking the approval of the House for the expenditure of money on the particular scheme. The estimate then would contain information that the scheme in a particular catchment area was estimated to cost, say, £500,000 and that £200,000 was being sought in that financial year, and so on and so forth. I contend that everything we want to protect is protected in that procedure.

It appears as if Senator Duffy was absent when I was dealing with clause (d) of sub-section (2), in reply to Senator Kingsmill Moore. That provision is there to enable the distribution of the maintenance cost as between the counties concerned.

Do I take it that the Parliamentary Secretary considers it objectionable to let the county councils know the estimated cost?

There are many things which are not objectionable.

Well, undesirable?

Yes, undesirable.

I would suggest that, far from being undesirable, it is desirable. Take the Parliamentary Secretary's own figure—£500,000— spent on constructional work in County Kildare. If I knew that amount was to be spent in the county, I would have approached the situation in a very different way, in consideration of the subsequent maintenance cost for my county. If the Parliamentary Secretary thinks it over, he will agree that it would bring local authorities very much more quickly round to his point of view if the constructional cost is set out and they know what amount is to be expended in their counties; as the main part of the constructional cost, no matter how much machinery we use, will be in labour content, which will relieve a local situation.

The Parliamentary Secretary has not met the point I made about the scheme that would go before the Minister. There is only one scheme in respect of particular works in this Bill, and the information which the commissioners are required to furnish is tabulated in Section 4. I submit, with all respect, that that is the scheme which is coming before the Minister for his approval.

I can assure the Senator that he would never get sanction for that.

Exactly, but where is there an obligation on the commissioners to supply any further information? It is not there.

The Senator may take it that neither from the Minister nor from Parliament could you expect to get approval unless you were prepared to state in each case the total estimated amount of the scheme.

I am quite prepared to accept the Parliamentary Secretary's statement, but I want to know the reason why that obligation is not placed on the commissioners in the beginning, rather than having the Minister using pressure on them somewhere else.

That is carrying it too far.

The Parliamentary Secretary has not satisfied me, and I am not so hard to satisfy on this at all. I can find no reason for saying that it is not important that the cost of every scheme should not be written on its face. The public have every right to know how money is being spent, as in the last analysis they are the people who have to pay. I do not know how the maintenance charge will be worked out finally, but I know that, in my county, the estimate for the maintenance charge every year was based on the original estimate of £66,000. The annual charge for the maintenance work to be done was based on an expenditure of £63,000. The fact is that £88,000 was spent and the estimate of about £2,500 is far less than is essential to do the maintenance work. I do not know what relationship there is to be between the total expenditure on a given scheme and the total maintenance cost to be put on any given county or on any given area; but there is no justifiable argument for saying that the estimate might not be made known to anybody, riparian owners, county councils, members of the Oireachtas and everybody concerned, because it is the problem of everybody in the State, and I think they are entitled to have every bit of information available to the Parliamentary Secretary who is putting the scheme through.

I agree entirely.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 19; Níl, 21.

  • Baxter, Patrick F.
  • Counihan, John J.
  • Crosbie, James.
  • Douglas, James G.
  • Duffy, Luke J.
  • Hayden, Thomas.
  • Johnston, Joseph.
  • Keane, Sir John.
  • Kyle, Sam.
  • McGee, James T.
  • Madden, David J.
  • Meighan, John J.
  • Moore, T.C. Kingsmill.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick John.
  • Ruane, Seán T.
  • Smyth, Michael.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Tunney, James.

Níl

  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Farnan, Robert P.
  • Healy, Denis D.
  • Hearne, Michael.
  • Honan, Thomas V.
  • Johnston, Séamus.
  • Keane, John Thomas.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, Peter T.
  • Kennedy, Margaret L.
  • McCabe, Dominick.
  • McEllin, John E.
  • Magennis, William.
  • O Buachalla, Liam.
  • O'Dea, Louis E.
  • O'Donovan, Seán.
  • Nic Phiarais, Maighréad M.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Ryan, Michael J.
  • Stafford, Matthew.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Baxter and Seán T. Ruane; Níl: Senators Hearne and Seán O'Donovan.
Amendment declared negatived.
Section put and agreed to.
SECTION 5.

I move amendment No. 4:—

In sub-section (1), paragraph (b), after the word "newspapers" in lines 29-30 to insert the words and brackets "(including the local newspaper)".

It may be that the object sought in my amendment is included in the section as it stands. The obligation in this case is to publish inIris Oifigiúil and some one or more newspapers circulating in the said area. I propose to insert the words and brackets “(including the local newspaper)”. If the Parliamentary Secretary tells me that that is covered in the expression “one or more newspapers circulating in the area”—that that will include the local newspapers —I will be satisfied; but I think it is not quite clear. I think it is conceivable that the paragraph as it stands does not mean that.

I do not think it is.

It is not clear and it is one of the things that ought to be made more definite. As the Parliamentary Secretary knows, there are areas in the country where people do not see a daily newspaper and do not know anything about it. In these areas only the local newspaper is read. In some areas there are two or three local newspapers. However, this is not a thing to debate; it is just the insertion of a few words for the purpose of clarification and I think those words ought to be in. If the people are to know and you are to publish in a newspaper circulating in the district, there ought to be an obligation to publish in the local newspaper.

We have accepted that point of view in the section as it stands, but when the Senator refers to the local newspaper and asks us to determine what the local newspaper is, a different position arises. You can have theDundalk Democrat circulating in Cavan town. It might be only one copy would go in there and the man who would read the Anglo Celt would say the Democrat was not his local newspaper. We have provided for publication in a newspaper in the area.

Could you not change the word "the" into "a"? Would that not cover it?

What about theCork Examiner in Dublin?

Will Senator O'Donovan repeat what he said?

He will not.

We tried to cover this, to meet it as best we could, while safeguarding our position and not leaving ourselves open, because it might be said that a person would have the right to complain that his local newspaper was not provided with the information.

Surely the acceptance of these words does not bind the Parliamentary Secretary? The only binding thing is that it shall be published inIris Oifigiúil and one or more newspapers. The amendment only means that it should be in the local newspaper. It does not make it obligatory. It is not a matter of great importance.

Places such as Roscommon and Longford have been mentioned, together with parts of Leitrim and Cavan. The natural thing is to publish in all the papers which, so far as our judgment and knowledge and information go, are circulating there. For instance, you have theRoscommon Herald, the Longford Leader, the Anglo Celt, the Leitrim Observer, and so on. Maybe you would have the Meath Chronicle. It might get in there and there might be some other paper with a small circulation.

Mr. P. O'Reilly

TheFermanagh Herald.

Quite so. We are entitled to some protection and, while we are anxious to meet the point of view of giving the local paper the advertisement——

I am quite satisfied. I thought you might include it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. P. O'Reilly

I move amendment No. 5:—

In sub-section (1), paragraph (b) to delete the word "baronies" in line 32 and substitute therefor the words "electoral divisions".

The only reason for this amendment is that, in my opinion, it would be more clear to the parties concerned if electoral divisions were set out. Interested people, such as members of county councils who would be charged with maintenance prior to the reconstruction work, and who would be responsible for the maintenance after reconstruction, would be very concerned in the preparation of drainage schemes, and I do not think they would get a fair chance of knowing the areas if they are set out as baronies. I do not think that many people in the country know the extent of a barony, and I think it would be much better if we had electoral divisions.

I may say I found myself in the very same boat, and it was only when this amendment came along that I realised the position. Of course, the acceptance of this amendment will entail more formidable lists, but we have sympathy for the Senator's point of view, and I am prepared to accept the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 6:—

After sub-section (2) to insert the following new sub-section:—

(3) The powers, functions and duties imposed or conferred on the council of a county by sub-section (2) of this section shall be reserved functions of such council within the meaning of Section 16 of the County Management Act, 1940.

Under Section 5 the commissioners, when they have prepared a scheme, will be required to send a copy to the county council. When the county council is furnished with a copy of the scheme there are two obligations which they must fulfil. They must accept the copy of the scheme and they must examine and consider it. There is a further obligation on them which is not quite mandatory—the permissive function of making submissions to the commissioners regarding the scheme. All that I am concerned with is that the making of these submissions to the commissioners should be the work of the county council and not of the county manager. I think that the people most competent to make sub- missions are the people elected to the county council from the different districts affected by the scheme who will probably know the conditions of the land likely to be benefited and who are in a better position to advise the commissioners than the county manager would be. I think, therefore, that the functions given to the county council and the duties imposed on them by the section should be reserved functions of the county council. That is the object of the amendment.

The wise county manager would of course, be guided in my opinion in a matter of this kind by the opinion of the members of the council, but they may not be all wise.

That is the whole trouble.

As that is a possibility, I am prepared to consider the introduction of a Government amendment that will meet this point.

I am satisfied.

I should like to express appreciation of the manner in which the Parliamentary Secretary has met the amendment. It does leave to the elected representatives a matter that I should like to see left to them.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 5, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 6.

I move amendment No. 7:—

In sub-section (4), after the word "by" in line 39 to insert the word "registered".

By this amendment I am seeking to impose the obligation on the commissioners that when serving a notice they shall serve it by registered post. I put it to the Parliamentary Secretary that from every point of view it is more satisfactory to have some record of whether or not a document is delivered.

We do this in practice, and if I were pressed I would have no hostility to the amendment, but I think it is better, since we do it in practice, not to impose it as a rigid obligation, because if an accident happened we would not have the protection that we have as matters stand.

You would have more protection, from your own point of view, if it were registered. I know it is the practice.

Our practice is to register, but I think it would be better that the obligation should not be statutory.

All right, I am satisfied.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 6 agreed to.
SECTION 7

I move amendment No. 8:—

Before Section 7 in page 6 to insert the following new section:—

7.—(1) When a drainage scheme has been submitted to the Minister in pursuance of the next following section, the Minister shall consider whether the said scheme is calculated to sub-divide into two or more parcels, two or more adjacent holdings of land in such a manner as to require the construction between any two of such parcels of a permanent means of communication, and if upon such consideration the Minister is so satisfied he shall require the commissioners in every case in which, in his opinion, the sub-division aforesaid is prejudicial to the economic interests of the landholders concerned to prepare and submit to him a scheme for the transfer as between such landholders of contiguous strips of land where, with the consent of the owners thereof, it is practicable so to do and where such transfer would render unnecessary the construction of a permanent means of communication as aforesaid between two or more parcels of land in the ownership of an individual landholder.

(2) The commissioners shall give effect to every such request as is made to them by the Minister under the next preceding sub-section of this section and shall endeavour, for the purpose of the sub-section, to obtain the consent of the owners to such transfer of two or more parcels of land as is mentioned in the said sub-section.

(3) Whenever a scheme prepared under this section for the transfer as between landholders of two or more parcels of land is submitted to the Minister by the commissioners with the consent of the landholders concerned in the making of such scheme, it shall be lawful for the Minister to do all things necessary or required for the purpose of giving effect to such scheme.

This proposed new section relates to incidents which happen when a drainage scheme crosses individual holdings so as to sub-divide them, often into most undesirable sections. I have in mind, for instance, the case of two or three or four holdings divided by an old river which probably is shaped like the letter "S". It is the dividing fence, however, between holdings, and when the commissioners come to prepare a scheme, they will probably decide to cut a new waterway or river running straight across from the opposite ends of the "S". The effect of the new waterway will be to run through individual holdings, placing probably half a rood or a rood of land belonging to the major part of a holding on one side of the new river, the greater part being on the other.

What happened in the past in cases of that kind was that a bridge was constructed across the new waterway so that the owner could get from the main part of the holding to the small patch on the other side of the river. I have seen some of these bridges. They are not particularly strong structures and when flooding does occur, as it inevitably will in our circumstances, a pile of hay or something else is swept down by the water and the bridge is carried away. I take it the commissioners will be liable for the replacement of that structure. Until it is replaced, of course, the occupier will be unable to use the portion of his land which is on the off-side of the waterway. In addition, the old river bed still remains, although the water is carried away in a new direction because the old river was the fence between two holdings or between several holdings at this particular point. What I am endeavouring to do is to secure that in preparing a scheme, the commissioners will try to make an arrangement with the people on both sides of the old river for a transfer amongst themselves of the small patches which had been cut off from the main holding. I do not suggest it will be possible in every case to effect an agreement, but I am suggesting that it should be a duty placed on the commissioners to endeavour to bring about an agreement. What is proposed in the new section is that the commissioners shall make that endeavour, that the Minister shall require the commissioners to make that endeavour and that he shall give consideration to any scheme that is put before him with a view to carrying it into effect.

If no scheme emerges from the efforts of the commissioners, the Minister is in no way restricted in regard to the exercise of his functions under the Bill. Actually, the new section is drafted in such a way as merely to bring to the notice of the commissioners the desirability of bringing about this arrangement without imposing any restrictions whatever on their subsequent acts or on the discretion of the Minister. I would suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary, as he probably has as much knowledge of conditions of this kind as I have, that he should accept the amendment in this form or in some form to be devised by himself and have it inserted in the legislation as an indication to the commissioners of the duty which the Oireachtas is anxious they should undertake when they are preparing a scheme of the kind to which I have referred.

I wonder if Senator Duffy is aware that in several parts of the country it would be absolutely impossible to erect a bridge. Take low-lying lands, for instance, where, for maybe two miles around, you could not get a bottom on which to erect a bridge. It would be impossible for any State to finance a proposal of the kind, because no matter what money was expended, you could never succeed in getting a proper bridge erected. I know of a major drainage scheme carried out some years ago in my own locality. The farmers who owned land on both sides agreed that a certain portion should go to the farmer on this side and a certain portion to the man on the other. They approached the Land Commission, and they consented, with the result that the river runs its natural course. It is quite possible that the people who hope to benefit from this scheme will agree to allow a portion of land on one side to go to one man and another portion to another man, but I can see no hope for Senator Duffy's suggestion that bridges should be erected in places where no bottom can be found.

Senator McCabe misunderstands the amendment to some extent. I made no suggestion that the commissioners should construct a bridge, but I do make the suggestion that the commissioners should endeavour to effect an exchange of land so as to avoid the necessity of constructing a bridge.

I am assured by my officials that that practice has, in fact, been followed in the past—the practice of encouraging people whose lands are divided in the manner described by Senator Duffy to agree to exchanges. He agrees, and I think the House will agree, that you cannot go any further than that. Where agreement is possible, we try to make it effective, and in fact we go so far as to notify the Land Commission, and if the individuals concerned are interested—if the land is registered land—they can follow up the matter and have the necessary alterations made in the Land Registry maps and so on. I do not think we could accept any greater obligation in that regard than has been our practice in the past. It would not be fair to ask us to accept any greater obligation, and I shall have to resist any proposal that we should.

Might I point out that the obligation proposed here is a very modest one? The proposal is that where a drainage scheme has been submitted to the Minister, the Minister shall consider whether the scheme is calculated to sub-divide into two or more parts two or more adjacent holdings in such a manner as to require the construction of means of communication between them and shall consider whether there is a disadvantage to the landowners because of the division of the farms and ask the commissioners to use their good offices to effect an arrangement by which there will be a transfer of land.

That is the only obligation on the Minister or the commissioners proposed in the amendment. If they do not succeed, that is the end of it, and if I believed it was the practice of the commissioners to act in the manner suggested, I would not submit this amendment, but I am aware of a number of cases where a half-acre or rood of land has been cut off the end of a holding and a bridge erected in order to allow communication between the main holding and the portion cut away, while on the other side a similar cutting away has been carried out on a holding adjoining the old river. The same amount has been cut away from both and two waterways have to be maintained because the new waterway is a straight line to carry away the flooding, while the old waterway remains and is kept in repair because it is the dividing line between two occupiers.

It all represents tremendous waste— a waste of public money in putting up the means of communication and a waste of land through the maintenance of two waterways, one of which is useless and unnecessary once the new waterway is constructed. The fact remains that whatever the practice may have been, these cases have occurred, and, as I say, I have seen these bridges on lands where drainage schemes have been carried out in the last 15 years. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to write into the Bill a direction to the commissioners to do certain things and to the Minister to see that they are done. I am not asking him to hold up a scheme, or endeavouring to frustrate the efforts of the commissioners or the Minister in cases in which agreement cannot be got. I simply urge that it should be the duty of the commissioners to seek agreement for the transfer of land which will be in the economic interest of the people concerned and of the community.

When the Senator asks me to place this obligation on the Minister for Finance, I suggest that he bring to his mind a district such as the Brosna, where survey work has been completed. Roughly 500 miles of river have been examined and surveyed, and when you think of the number of holdings affected in that area, he is surely giving the Minister for Finance a fairly formidable task in asking that, before sanction is given to a scheme, he will have regard to the effects of a scheme on the number of holdings interfered with in the manner described by the Senator. I do not think you can impose any greater obligation on us than is imposed on us by the fact that we have to construct a bridge, at very considerable expense in some cases, in the event of failure to secure agreement as between two people. Is that not a very coercive reason for our seeking, without any legal obligation at all, to get the agreement to which the Senator refers? If we are unable to secure that agreement and if we think it unwise to provide a right-of-way in the form of a bridge, we have to pay compensation, which is another very coercive reason for our seeking an agreement between people whose lands are divided in the manner described.

Now, for the reason, as I say, that this practice has been in vogue, and for the reason that it will continue to be in vogue, then, if for no better motive than the motive of economy, I do not think it is necessary at all, and anyhow, as I say, I would not regard it as a practical method.

I would suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that he might consider an alternative scheme, which would be an assurance to the House that the matter to which I have drawn attention will be attended to when schemes are being drawn up. His first objection is that it is unreasonable to put this obligation on the Minister because of the magnitude of the scheme, but I assume that the Minister, through his advisers, will examine every scheme meticulously and that he will know whether or not, land is being divided in the manner I have described, whether bridges will be constructed, and so on, and that he will also know the expenditure and cost in connection with the construction of such bridges before a scheme is put into operation. I do not see, therefore, that any obligation is put on the Minister other than right reason would put upon him in the ordinary way.

The second point deals with the practice of the commissioners in giving effect to such proposals as are embodied in the amendment. Actually, I drafted this amendment because I have observed that that practice has not been carried through. I have seen rivers drained in areas in which there were several bridges, connecting various parts of the areas concerned, but I know that in many cases these bridges were of no value to the people for whom they were constructed, except as a footpath. They are all right for a footpath, but they are not sufficiently staunch, in most cases, to permit of bringing a load of hay or straw across them. Actually, in most cases, these bridges were not constructed, or should not have been constructed, for the use of cattle. They are situated in low-lying land, which is used almost entirely for meadows, and what you want there is a bridge that will enable a farmer to carry a load of hay across it.

Most of the bridges that I have seen in the areas to which I refer are not sufficiently strong for that purpose. If the amendment is not drawn in terms that are satisfactory to the Parliamentary Secretary, I would urge him to draft an amendment which would ensure giving the commissioners power to endeavour to get an exchange of land before they indulge in building bridges or in carrying out other operations of the type to which I have referred.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Is the amendment being pressed?

I do not see why I should press it, Sir, if the Parliamentary Secretary does not see his way to agree with my point.

I cannot agree to meet Senator Duffy's point, either by the acceptance of his amendment or the provision of another amendment, such as he has suggested. For the reasons I have already stated, I do not think we can do any better than what is contained in the section.

I should like to know from the Parliamentary Secretary whether it has been the experience of the commissioners that owners of riparian rights have been willing to take compensation, or whether there was any question of a transfer in such cases.

We do not ever transfer in that case. If we cut off a portion of a man's holding, and if there is not a similar amount cut off from another holding, we try merely to give him compensation for it.

In cash?

Yes, in cash.

I take it that that has to be a matter of agreement?

It is not a matter of agreement because the person concerned has no alternative if we have to cut off a portion of his field, and it might not be worth the cost of building a bridge. In that case, we have to give him compensation.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 7 agreed to.
SECTION 8.

Mr. P. O'Reilly

I move amendment No. 9:—

In sub-section (1), line 5, after the words "existing drainage works" to insert the following words: "or other watercourses situate wholly or in part outside an existing drainage district".

Sub-section (1) of Section 8 states that a drainage scheme may provide for the inclusion of the whole or a specified part of existing drainage works in the works proposed by such scheme to be executed and may provide for such inclusion either with or without the reconstruction or repair of such existing works. I think that when a drainage scheme is being prepared by the commissioners, they should have a little more power than is given by that sub-section; firstly, because the commissioners will be confined to the inclusion of watercourses existing only in drainage districts. The present drainage districts were set up under various Acts, some of which were passed a very long time ago. Those districts will now be transferred and it will become the duty of the county councils concerned to arrange for their maintenance. It would appear that it is only those watercourses that the commissioners are including in this scheme, and I think it would be a wise thing to prevent the commissioners from including other watercourses. I suggest that the words proposed in the amendment—"or other water-courses situate wholly or in part outside an existing drainage district"—should be included in order to give the power to the commissioners if they think it is advisable to do so. Possibly, the wording of my amendment is not quite correct, but if so, I would suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that he might draft an amendment in wording that would cover my point.

In order that there may not be any misunderstanding, I should like to point out that I am afraid Senator O'Reilly has not grasped this matter fully. We have much more power under this than he seems to think we have. There is no question as to our having the power to drain any watercourse or river in any district, and therefore the amendment he proposes is entirely unnecessary.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 8 agreed to.
SECTION 9.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

There are two amendments, Nos. 10 and 11, to Section 9, which can be taken together.

The following were the amendments in Senator Baxter's name:—

10. In line 33, after the word "shall" to insert the words "subject to the provisions of the following sub-section of this section".

11. To add to the section a new sub-section as follows:—

( ) A copy of every such scheme referred to in the foregoing sub-section shall as soon as may be after it is confirmed be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and if either such House shall within the twenty-one days on which such House has sat after such scheme is laid before it, pass a resolution annulling such scheme, such scheme shall be annulled accordingly.

I move amendment No. 10. I do not know whether there is any objection to this or not, but the idea behind the amendment, I should say, is that the form of this amendment and of amendment No. 11 is a common form. Amendment No. 11 says that a copy of every such scheme referred to in the foregoing sub-section shall, as soon as may be after it is confirmed, be laid before each House of the Oireachtas, and if either such House shall within 21 days on which such House has sat after such scheme is laid before it, pass a resolution annulling such scheme, such scheme shall be annulled accordingly. Now, I may say that that is exactly as it is in an Act of the Oireachtas, but that it might be more acceptable, perhaps, if I suggested 21 days, not after the date on which the House sits, but 21 days after the scheme is presented. Possibly, it might be more acceptable in that form. What I am trying to secure is that the Oireachtas will have the opportunity to discuss a scheme, if it so desires. Without having this obligation imposed on the Parliamentary Secretary, I suppose we could get hold of a scheme, when published, and put down a motion with regard to a particular aspect of it. The people concerned may want some aspects of a particular scheme discussed. The form of my amendment may be undesirable. I discovered that, when I desired to have a discussion on an Order made by a Minister under the Emergency Powers Act, the only way I could secure such a discussion was by putting down a motion to annul the Order, although I did not want it annulled. The method contemplated by the amendment is the only satisfactory one I can discover for dealing with the position under this Bill. The Oireachtas should realise that it is responsible for watching and examining proposals with regard to so essential a service as drainage. I do not think that there would be any difficulty in the Parliamentary Secretary having a scheme presented to the Oireachtas. He may say that, if a scheme were to await a decision by the Seanad for 21 days after the sitting of the House, it might involve a delay of some months—that the scheme might be open to question for three months after it was laid before the Oireachtas. I should be quite satisfied to have the words altered so as to limit the period to 21 days after the scheme is presented. I feel that, having regard to the considerable powers the commissioners are being given and that these schemes will involve us in considerable expenditure, the Oireachtas should have presented to it a copy of each completed scheme, with a statement of the cost. There can be nothing better for the information of public opinion than discussions on the plans being made for the people's betterment. If you are to carry out a drainage scheme, involving considerable expenditure and having great potentialities in respect of the improvement of the land, it may be imperative to have a discussion on certain aspects of it. This is the right and proper way to give the Oireachtas an opportunity of learning what the administrative machine is doing. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will agree to accept this amendment either in its present form or in a form which he himself will have drafted.

An amendment similar to this amendment was discussed at great length in the other House. I resisted it there and I must resist it here. When Senator Baxter speaks of the Oireachtas examining and discussing a scheme, I am at a loss to understand what he means by "scheme". To me, a scheme suggests maps and drawings and engineering data. If Senators were to go into the engineering section of the Board of Works, they would have an idea of the amount of space which would be required for the maps which would have to be prepared for these schemes and of the technical knowledge which would be necessary to examine those maps and drawings. I cannot see what purpose would be served by having such a discussion as has been suggested in either this House or the other House. Senators will have to wait until such time as the work is under way for the sort of information Senator Baxter has in mind and for an opportunity of directing the type of criticism he contemplates. I am not making the case that the engineers and other people employed by us on this work will not make mistakes, but I say, with the limited knowledge and experience I have, it would be absolutely impossible for this House, or any House similarly constituted, to examine schemes in the time at its disposal without an amount of technical assistance which would not be available. We must take the chance that the authority carrying out this work will obtain the services of the most competent men procurable and leave it to them to design and carry out the schemes. Should they fall into error, as everybody does, this House will have an opportunity, on the Appropriation Bill, of criticising the administration of the Act from both the administrative and technical points of view.

It will be too late.

If you like. If Senators were to go over to the engineering branch of the office of Public Works and see the engineers working on the Brosna scheme, they would realise the difficulty of studying the wisdom of certain proposals shown there. This amendment is entirely impracticable.

I hope that Senator Baxter will not press his amendment. My reason for saying that is not exactly the same as that put forward by the Parliamentary Secretary. This is a matter to which I have given some thought. I think that one of the problems of the effective use of democratic government is that you have to make a reasonable distinction between legislation and administration. It seems to me that a scheme of this character clearly comes within the category of administration, and that it would not be feasible, if the same principle were applied to all matters which are of an administrative character, that Parliament should have the power to discuss them in detail. There can, possibly, be a case made for the power of annulment, but the great difficulty with regard to any motion to annul a scheme of this character, one which is of a highly technical nature, is that you will get, what unfortunately we too often get, simply a Party vote without any attempt to exercise one's intelligence. There are members of this House who do try, in the vast majority of cases, to vote according to the information before them and on what they believe to be the merits of the case, apart altogether from Party. I think that should be the case on the Committee Stage of all Bills. It has been the case here, to a certain extent. It was entirely the case during four or five years of the first Seanad. To come back to my original point, it is that as far as administration is concerned there is really only one effective method of checking it, and that is by putting down a motion of censure on the Minister concerned, which means a vote of censure on the Government. That does not apply to legislative Acts. I think it is clear that a drainage scheme comes within administration, and for that reason I am inclined to think that it would hardly be practicable to press the amendment.

The kind of criticism to which I have been subjected in regard to my amendments may be due to my inability to make myself clear. Quite frankly, I want to say that the Parliamentary Secretary does not frighten me by his presentation of the dreadful difficulties that would confront us in examining a scheme after we had studied the work of the engineers, or that would confront him or the Board of Works. This matter of annulment is only secondary, as far as I am concerned, to the question of getting a copy of the complete scheme laid before the Oireachtas. Could we get that and leave the whole question of annulment out? Let us come back to Section 4 again and to all the things that it refers to: waterways, watercourses proposed to be dealt with, lands which are drained or otherwise improved, drainage works proposed to be executed, benefited lands, the aggregate value to those lands, and so on. I submit to the House that there is nothing more unsatisfactory, when a big drainage scheme has been planned and carried out, than for the people to discover that they do not like it. It may be that they were satisfied enough about it at the start and were anxious to get it carried through, but when its fruits come to be garnered they are not quite so comfortable about it. Personally, I think it would be better for the success of our drainage schemes that it should be open to us to have a discussion about them in a public way at the beginning. For that reason, I would be prepared to drop that portion of my amendment dealing with annulment, provided a complete copy of the scheme is laid before the Oireachtas so that we may be able to see what the scheme purports to do. I do not know where one can get a copy of the complete scheme.

It is exhibited in the county council offices, and, if you are an interested party, you will be notified where you can see it.

These schemes will be of national importance and some of them are going to involve the expenditure of very considerable sums of money. Why, therefore, cannot we have a copy in the Oireachtas Library? At the moment there is a sort of divided responsibility. If I want to see a scheme there is provision and notification to riparian owners and other people concerned. If I go to the county council I may be told that they have no responsibility. The Parliamentary Secretary himself has made the point that a county council has no responsibility with regard to the provision of the money, and that, accordingly, he did not want to put the estimated cost in the scheme. I want to have a copy of the scheme available for people who are interested in the expenditure from the national point of view. In that sense, a copy of the scheme ought to be tabled in the Oireachtas Library so that we may know what the cost of the scheme is going to be. That would seem to me to be a practical way of enabling us to find out what each scheme purports to do, whether or not I, as a riparian owner, or others in contact with a number of riparian owners, may have a quarrel with regard to the estimated improvement in the value of the farm. All that is a matter that ought to be open for discussion.

That will not be given anyhow. You could not get that since the annual value will not be shown. No one can know that.

All that shows the difficulties that we are going to be confronted with. It shows the leap that we are taking in the dark and the amount of expenditure that we are going to be involved in without, apparently, adequate data of a detailed kind being put before us. I may be proved to be wrong, but I feel somehow that there is indecision on the part of the Parliamentary Secretary with regard to the possible expenditure on any particular scheme. Because there are risks for the people in regard to the sums which the State is going to expend, we are giving extraordinary powers to the commissioners to carry out work and spend money, and at the same time we are to get the minimum of information. That may be satisfactory and you may get the work done, but I feel that we ought to be put in the position of being able to go down to the Library and get a copy of the scheme so as to be able to relate the scheme to the Parliamentary Secretary's statement with regard to the estimated expenditure on it. It ought to be possible to have all the data available for members of the Oireachtas, if they want to discuss any particular aspect of a scheme. We ought not to be put in the position of having to go to the county council for it. I suppose one can see the scheme in the county council offices, but that is about all except that you desire to sit down and make a copy of it to take away with you.

If you were to do that you would need to bring some formidable vehicle with you.

Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.

During the interval it was suggested to me by my colleagues that if it were possible for the Parliamentary Secretary to agree that the Order Paper, which shows that a number of Papers have been laid on the Table, were to indicate that such-and-such a scheme was presented to a county council, it would meet my point. I want to be informed that that has taken place, and I want then to be in a position to go and inspect the proposal. I need not explain how difficult it would otherwise be to go to a county council to make such an inspection. Some Senators may be at a loss to understand how it would be possible to carry out what I suggest in the amendment. A scheme includes details, such as the water-courses proposed to be dealt with. We have practical experience of drainage schemes carried out in Cavan, where certain drains were included while others were excluded, and, as a result, some extraordinary complications have arisen. It should be possible to communicate directly to members of the Oireachtas the fact that a particular scheme had been presented. If interested, they could go and inspect it, and see if it included the drains in their district. If I were acquainted with the fact that a particular scheme had been presented, I would be concerned to see what lands were to be drained. I should be at liberty to raise that question. It is not asking too much to be able to do so. Members of the Oireachtas should be entitled to do that, and they should also have the responsibility placed upon them of drawing public attention to any defects that might appear in a scheme, or to the possibility of amending it.

Notice of publication will appear inIris Oifigiúil and publication will be brought to the notice of Deputies and Senators in that way. I do not see how notice of business of this type could appear in the Order Papers of this House or of the Dáil. If a Senator is concerned about a scheme, or if it deals with an area of which he has intimate knowledge, he knows that there will be publication in the local paper. In that way he will be conversant with what is taking place. If he has representations to make, he will then be entitled to make them to the authority within the time provided for that purpose. Consequently I do not see what impediments are placed here in the way of public representatives. I could extend invitations to members of the Seanad and Dáil, that if they thought fit that they could go to the Board of Works and inspect schemes. There is nothing to prevent them doing so. There is no regulation in existence preventing Senators or Deputies going to the engineering branch of the Board of Works to ask for information of the type that Senator Baxter has in mind. I do not want to make the invitation a sort of “free for all” one, because that would not be conducive to the progress of the work to have everyone trotting to the engineering section to inspect all those schemes, but they are entitled to see them when the matter is approached in a reasonable fashion. This matter was fully discussed in the other House. If the intention is that a scheme should be presented here and inspected, or that we should have an annual motion on the basis of examination by members of the Oireachtas of the feasibility of the proposals, I say that that would be an absolutely impracticable proposition.

To me, anyhow, it does not make sense. If Senator Baxter has in mind that members of the public who are interested are entitled to know, then I say that provision is made whereby all the notice that could reasonably be expected is given to them. In addition to that, members of this House who are interested in these matters will also know, in the manner I have indicated, when a scheme is reaching the stage of fruition. After that, if they so desire, they can go a step further and see the actual scheme. If they are genuinely interested, they can have the assistance of those technical people on whose shoulders rested the responsibility of preparing the scheme, and have any reasonable details explained to them. That is an enormous matter. That would be much more helpful. I know it would be much more helpful to me. If I got one of those maps, I confess, I would not know the first thing about it. I would not know whether the proposal contained in it was wise, or feasible, or desirable from any point of view. If I had the assistance of these technical experts, I might get a good grasp of what was aimed at. Without that, I confess I would be completely in the dark.

I do not yield to the Parliamentary Secretary in ignorance of maps. I think there is nobody who would find himself more at sea in examining a map than I would, but, although I may have difficulty in finding a place on a map, I think I have found to-night that the Parliamentary Secretary and Senator Baxter are at last in the most complete agreement. I suggest that that being so, we might conclude this discussion because it appears to me that while in principle Senator Baxter's amendment has a good deal to be said for it, it is pretty clear that it is impracticable to bring a prepared scheme, which involves maps and other documents, here, and more particularly to bring a number of schemes because, I take it, there might be several schemes in preparation or fully prepared at the same time. That being so, Senator Baxter has expressed himself as simply wanting, at a particular moment, when the scheme has been completed, the right to go over to the Board of Works for a member of this House if he so desires and examine the completed scheme.

The Parliamentary Secretary has made it quite plain that not only does he consider that members of both Houses have that right but that he on his part would welcome them and give them assistance if they wanted to examine a completed scheme. That being so, are we not all in agreement on the matter, because I do not think it would be abused? There must be a considerable number of members of the House like myself who, in spite of whatever interest they may have, would have no capacity for examining these schemes. I agree entirely with Senator Baxter—and the Parliamentary Secretary has agreed with him—that if a person is interested he should be able to go over to look at the scheme, and I think it is very sound policy on the part of the Parliamentary Secretary to say that he would place skilled assistance at the disposal of members of either House who wanted to examine a scheme. Whether the matter appears on the Order Paper or not is not really vital.

It is important.

I am not acquainted with the mechanics of this business. I do not know whether that is necessary or not, but if it were necessary I may assure the Parliamentary Secretary that it would not be of any great difficulty to state on the Order Paper that "a scheme has been prepared for the river so-and-so." I think in that case you would simply have to say that it is only at that point that you would receive any visitors, but, if other methods are adopted, they might be sufficient. Publication inIris Oifigiúil, I think, is not sufficient. It is surprising how few people read that very interesting and technical document. There is nothing between Senator Baxter and the Parliamentary Secretary except merely the matter by what manner publication can be made. I think that could be easily settled before the next stage.

The only thing I can say is that it would take us so long to prepare a scheme for any catchment, and those who are interested would be pressing us so keenly—members of both Houses, members of the public and local authorities—that I have not the slightest doubt in my mind but that all kinds of opportunities will exist to ensure that everybody will know when the scheme is ready for publication. Having regard to the pressure that will be upon us, we will be so anxious to announce that we have reached that stage that I cannot see the difficulty that is feared.

You merely get the bells rung.

That is right.

On to-day's Order Paper, there is a list of Papers laid on the Table, Statement of Accounts, Thirteenth Annual Report of the Minister for Agriculture, Balance Sheet of the Industrial Credit Company—all that sort of thing is on the Order Paper. We get it officially. There is a principle involved. Members of the Oireachtas should get official notification into their own hands that schemes have been prepared. I think there is a very important principle involved, and personally I must confess I see no reason—unless the Parliamentary Secretary has a reason of his own— why it should not be done.

It is unreasonable to ask me to do more than I have done here.

A scheme may involve expenditure of £500,000 and more. What is the objection to notifying members of the Oireachtas, on the Order Paper, that the scheme has been prepared. There is not the least fear of Senator Hayes trapesing over to the Office of Public Works, demanding papers and documents about the Erne drainage, but there will be a few people who will do that. I put the proposal to the Parliamentary Secretary. He may reject it if he likes.

When a scheme involving that expenditure is approved, the next step will be to come to the Dáil for the money. Will not the fact of coming to the Dáil and saying the scheme is prepared at a certain estimated cost, be publication enough? What further publication do you require? I think it is met entirely.

Amendments Nos. 10 and 11, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 9 agreed to.
SECTION 10.

I move amendment No. 12:—

To delete sub-section (2), and to substitute therefor the following sub-section:—

(2) Notwithstanding the exemption conferred by the foregoing sub-section of this section, the commissioners shall, when constructing drainage works in pursuance of a drainage scheme, take such precautions and make such provisions as the Minister for Agriculture, in consultation with the commissioners, may consider adequate for the protection of and avoidance of injury to fisheries during or in consequence of the construction of such drainage works, unless the commissioners, after such consultation as aforesaid, are satisfied that taking such precautions and making such provisions will cause substantial detriment to such drainage works or substantial hindrance to their construction.

In order to understand and appreciate my amendment Senators may find it necessary to refer to the sub-section in the Bill which I am moving to delete. It would appear on a superficial examination that there is very little difference between the sub-section as it stands and my amendment, but when both are considered carefully it will be seen that there is a very substantial difference because in the Bill as it stands, in sub-section (2) of Section 10, power is given to the Minister for Agriculture, as the Minister in charge of fisheries, to determine finally, above and beyond the Commissioners of Public Works, what is or is not detrimental to drainage works. The Minister for Agriculture is quite qualified and quite entitled to decide what is detrimental to fisheries, but he is not entitled to decide what is detrimental to a drainage works or what is a substantial hindrance to the construction of drainage works. This sub-section makes its appearance in this form for the first time in this Bill. It is well recognised that where operations are carried on in connection with lakes and rivers, whether those operations are hydro-electric works, waterworks or drainage works, there is a possibility of injury to fisheries. Whether there is in fact injury to fisheries is in my submission very much in question. At all events it has been the practice, since Saorstát Eireann was set up, in Bills dealing with operations carried on in connection with lakes and rivers to insert a clause with a marginal note entitled "Protection of Fisheries". The first Act in which that appears, as far as I know, is the Shannon Electricity Act, 1925. It appears in Section 16 of that Act, which reads as follows:

"When constructing works under this Act it shall not be obligatory on the Minister or any contractor to comply with the Fisheries (Ireland) Acts, 1842 to 1909, but the Minister—

that is the Minister for Industry and Commerce—

shall take and make or, in the case of works executed for him by a contractor procure that the contractor shall take and make such precautions and provisions as the Minister, after consultation with the Minister for Fisheries, shall consider adequate for the protection of and avoidance of injury to fisheries during or in consequence of the construction of any works under this Act, unless the Minister—

that is the Minister for Industry and Commerce—

after such consultation as aforesaid is satisfied that such protection cannot be afforded or such injury cannot be avoided without substantial detriment to the works or substantial hindrance to their construction."

In that section the right perspective appears, that is, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who was then responsible for the construction of the Shannon Electricity Works, was given power to decide whether the requirements of the Minister for Fisheries in the construction of the works would or would not be detrimental to the Shannon works or would be a hindrance to their construction. That was common sense. That same section was repeated in the Liffey Reservoir Act, 1936. I will not weary the House by reading it, but it is in exactly the same form. It winds up by saying:

"unless the Minister after such consultation is satisfied that such protection cannot be afforded or such injury cannot be avoided without substantial detriment to the Liffey works or substantial hindrance to or substantial increase in the cost of their construction."

The Minister there was given power to decide whether the requirements of the Minister for Fisheries as regards the nature of the works would result in a substantial increase in their cost of construction. I shall show the House where this present amendment will lead to in the Bill which has now been introduced in the Dáil, namely, the Electricity Supply (Amendment) Bill, 1944, in which the Minister for Fisheries is given power to decide whether the works which he requires the Minister—in this case the Minister for Industry and Commerce—to carry out will result in an increased cost of construction. In other words, the Minister for Fisheries has unsurped in this Bill the functions—I say the constitutional functions—of the Commissioners of Public Works, because in the section now under consideration by this House we find the following provision in sub-section (1):—

"It shall not be obligatory on the commissioners, when constructing drainage works in pursuance of a drainage scheme, to comply with the Fisheries Acts, 1842 to 1944."

In the first instance, I should like to say that that is not a very elegant sub-section. It has been copied from previous Acts, and if this were a Bill intended for the ordinary layman I would strenuously object to such loose phraseology, because "compliance" means the doing of something positive, whereas in the Fisheries Acts there are a number of restrictions, or rather a number of negative provisions. At all events, I make no comment on sub-section (1) of section 10, because I am satisfied that the Commissioners of Public Works are well provided with lawyers to advise them on what are the relevant provisions of the Fisheries Acts, 1842 to 1944, with which they are not bound to comply. I now come to sub-section (2), which is as follows:—

"Notwithstanding the exemption conferred by the foregoing sub-section of this section, the commissioners shall, when constructing drainage works in pursuance of a drainage scheme, take such precautions and make such provisions as the Minister for Agriculture may consider adequate for the protection of and avoidance of injury to fisheries during or in consequence of the construction of such drainage works."

If we stop there, we see that it is obligatory on the Commissioners of Public Works to take such precautions and make such provisions as the Minister for Agriculture may consider adequate for the protection of and avoidance of injury to fisheries. In other words, the commissioners must carry out, so to speak, the instructions of the Minister for Agriculture. Then we come to the proviso:

"provided that the said Minister —that is the Minister for Agriculture— shall, in consultation with the commissioners, satisfy himself that taking such precautions and making such provisions will not cause substantial detriment to such drainage works or substantial hindrance to their construction."

The Commissioners of Public Works are bound in the first part of that subsection—it is mandatory on them—to carry out the directions of the Minister for Agriculture. They are bound to carry them out if the Minister for Agriculture is satisfied that his directions will not cause substantial detriment to the drainage works or substantial hindrance to their construction. In other words, this sub-section transfers the responsibility for drainage works from the Commissioners of Public Works to the Minister for Agriculture, who has no constitutional or legal responsibility for the construction of drainage works. While the Government, under the Constitution, is collectively responsible to Dáil Eireann, the Minister under whose control any interests are placed by the Ministers and Secretaries Acts is in Practice responsible to Dáil Eireann.

If the Parliamentary Secretary is questioned in the Dáil about the construction of certain works, his answer will be, if this sub-section is allowed to remain in the Bill: "Oh, that is not my responsibility; it is the responsibility of the Minister for Agriculture, who is the Minister in charge of fisheries". Now, it would be an extraordinary thing that the Minister for Agriculture should be required to speak in the Dáil on a matter which is not placed under his control by Parliament. It appears to me that there must have been some consultations behind the scenes between the Commissioners of Public Works and the Minister for Agriculture which brought about this drastic change in this clause. I say it is drastic because it differs from a similar clause in the Shannon Electricity Act, 1925, Section 16, and a similar clause in the Liffey Reservoir Act, 1936, Section 16. I can see that the Parliamentary Secretary is not and never was very happy about it, because speaking in this House on the Second Reading of this Bill on 6th December last, in reply to some remarks by Senator Kingsmill Moore, he said, as reported at column 708, of the Official Reports:

"As far as Section 10 is concerned, to my regret I should say that it gives to the Minister responsible for looking after fishery interests much more power than I should like to see him having. Instead of sympathising with Senator Kingsmill Moore, my whole tendency would be not only to resist doing anything in the way of meeting his point, but to try to curtail the powers which the Minister secures here in regard to that question."

The Parliamentary Secretary admitted to this House that he felt that the Minister for Agriculture had secured too extensive powers in connection with this matter. He apparently has surrendered to the Minister for Agriculture. However, as a member of the Oireachtas and as a legislator, I will refuse to surrender to either party, as I think it would stultify the Oireachtas if we pass a measure giving power to the Minister for Agriculture—as Minister responsible for fisheries— to decide, without any expert help in his Department or at his control, what is or is not detrimental to drainage.

This section is bad enough, but it is worse in that it has formed, and is forming a very dangerous precedent which may appear in future Bills. As a member of the Seanad, I have been furnished with a copy of a Bill introduced in Dáil Eireann recently, the Electricity (Supply) (Amendment) Bill, 1944. Section 11 of that Bill has a marginal note: "Protection of Fisheries." This is what it says—and I read it to show how this present section will form a precedent, if it is not stopped in time:

"11. In the carrying out of an approved scheme, it shall not be obligatory on the board or any contractor employed by the board to comply with the Fisheries Acts, 1842 to 1944, but the board shall take and make or, in the case of works executed by a contractor, procure that the contractor shall take and make such precautions and provisions as the Minister for Agriculture may consider adequate for the protection of and avoidance of injury to fisheries during or in consequence of the carrying out of such approved scheme, provided that the said Minister shall, in consultation with the board, satisfy himself that taking such precautions and making such provisions will not cause substantial detriment to the works provided for by such approved scheme or substantial hindrance to or substantial increase in the cost of such works."

If, therefore, this section is allowed to remain in this Bill, it will be the precedent to be followed in regard to the Electricity Bill which has been introduced into the Dáil, empowering the Minister for Agriculture to decide as final authority whether his requirements as regards fisheries will cause substantial detriment to the works or substantial hindrance to their construction or substantial increase in cost. I say that that Minister has no machinery at his disposal to enable him to determine—nor is he the proper authority to do so—whether any particular work or variation of a work would cause an increase in the cost of such work.

I also oppose this sub-section because it has been introduced into this Bill in the teeth of the recommendation of the Drainage Commission. In the Report of the Drainage Commission, page 84, paragraphs 288 to 294, we have recommendations as regards what might be called the reaction of drainage operations on fishery interests. Everybody is willing, I am sure, to protect fisheries as far as it is humanly possible to do so. That also was the attitude of the Drainage Commission. Of course, the protection of fisheries implies that there is a possibility of injury to fisheries. On the Second Reading of this Bill, the Parliamentary Secretary quoted an extract from the Drainage Commission Report as follows:—

"293. We endeavoured to secure specific evidence of actual damage done in fishing rivers as a result of drainage operations. Very substantial work has been already carried out all over the country, and it is remarkable that we have not received at any stage of our proceedings any real evidence of serious or even appreciable injury to fisheries. We had, in fact, evidence from the representatives of an anglers' club that, while fishing in their locality suffered a temporary set-back during drainage operations, it has actually improved since."

So there is very little danger or possibility of any substantial injury to fisheries. There may be a temporary set-back, but no substantial damage was proved before the Drainage Commission. The commission at paragraph 294 of the report state:

"294. We consider that generally the interests of drainage should be considered as of paramount importance but, in order to avoid as far as possible serious injury to fishery interests, we recommend that:—"

and made recommendations thereafter. This Bill is a Drainage Bill and the interests connected with drainage are of paramount importance. The interests of fisheries are incidental and, therefore, the Bill should be framed so as to make the interests of drainage paramount. But for this unfortunate sub-section, it has been so framed. Section 16 of this Bill provides for compensation for any injury to fisheries, so that the most ardent fisherman is protected, as he is entitled to claim and obtain compensation, under Section 16, if his fishery interests are interfered with.

While regarding drainage interests as paramount, the commission made certain suggestions for the purpose of avoiding serious injuries to fisheries— there may be slight injury—and two of the recommendations were:—

"(a) close contact should be preserved between the Central Drainage Authority and the Fisheries Branch of the Department of Agriculture in the design, execution and maintenance of drainage works;"

That is provided for in my amendment —consultation and

"(f) powers should be conferred on the Central Drainage Authority similar to those conferred on the Minister for Industry and Commerce by Section 16 of the Shannon Electricity Act, 1925, which reads as follows:—"

and then follows the section which I have read.

I am, therefore, only voicing the recommendations of the Drainage Commission, which I respectfully submit are based on sound sense, and I cannot understand why in this case the Minister for Agriculture, as the Minister in charge of fisheries, should have succeeded in obtaining in this Bill powers to which, in my submission, he is not constitutionally entitled. I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary to consider the amendment I have proposed, and I cannot see why there should be any objection to it.

I must say it does look as if the Parliamentary Secretary had been worsted in his argument with the Minister for Agriculture behind the scenes and, not being able to say everything he would like to say in answer by reason of the restraints of courtesy towards his colleague, has successfully briefed Senator Ryan to pour out everything he would like to have said but felt himself precluded from saying. I would be the last to deny that there is some element of logic in the remarks of Senator Ryan, but, as was pointed out to me once by a Senator opposite, good logic must often give way to knowledge of human nature and what I imagine is behind the section is a shrewd appreciation of the knowledge of the human nature of engineers. Engineers are professional men and artists and, like all artists worthy of the name, they take pride in doing a thing as perfectly as it can be done from their own point of view. When they sit down to conceive a scheme and put their conceptions on paper, they have before them an ideal conception of what is the best possible scheme in the world and what ultimately the most beautiful solution of the problem would be, and, having once got that in their heads, they are people who are very hard to shake. If the ultimate word were to rest with the engineers they would always be convinced in their own minds, even if they convince nobody else, that the slightest yielding to the Minister for Agriculture, when he was pleading for fisheries, would have involved the ruination of the scheme. No mother has ever been willing to consent to even the slightest and most trival mutilation of her child. I cannot conceive any engineer finding himself capable of looking at the problem from the point of view of the Minister for Agriculture.

It seems to me absolutely necessary that the enthusiasm of the artist should be restrained by the practical wisdom of the Minister and, in spite of the passages which have been read from the Report of the Drainage Commission, I am very far from convinced that no injury is done to fishing by drainage. That passage has been cited twice. Of only one drainage scheme have I any particular knowledge—the Barrow one—and that only of a very small portion of the area affected. But, in that small portion—it is a matter of about two miles—I am personally aware that a fishery which was let, not at a high rate but at a reasonable rate—a small trout fishery—could not be let at all after the scheme. I am also aware that many business people in Athy who used to get much-needed relaxation and recreation after office hours by fishing in the Barrow had entirely to give up their favourite sport. These are small things, but I am only dealing with an area of a few miles and with one scheme. Having regard to that experience, I cannot accept the generalisation upon which Senator Ryan relies and I appeal to the House to allow the Minister for Agriculture, who is the trustee of the sport of the people, to have at the least the power which is given him in the original framing of the section. Otherwise, for the sake of the mere logical working out of a thing, we are likely to do the exact kind of damage which is in one sense difficult to estimate, but in another sense impossible to overestimate.

I should like to support the remarks of Senator Kingsmill Moore. It is very difficult for a layman to understand the technical arguments of Senator Ryan. Had I known that such arguments were to be put forward, I would have taken out the sections and compared them very carefully but, so far as I can make out, it is a case of pitting the Minister for Agriculture against the Commissioners of Public Works. It boils down to that. So far as I can make out the argument, the net effect of the change proposed by Senator Ryan would be to weaken the case for the preservation of the fisheries, such as they are, and I certainly would appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to be as adamant as he possibly can and not accept the amendment. Personally, I shall vote against it.

I presided at a meeting last night at which about 200 fishermen attended. Some of them travelled from 15 to 20 miles to show their interest in the subject, which was a lecture on fisheries. We had quite an interesting discussion and the great complaint was the deterioration which is setting in generally in a number of rivers and the big loss to the country which was involved. I have received a circular —possibly other Senators have also received it—from one association formed for the protection of fisheries. According to this circular, the value of salmon fisheries alone, exclusive of others, is something in the neighbourhood of £250,000. I also listened to a lecture by Captain Paget some time ago, and he said that the total value of the inland fisheries with the sea fisheries from the economic standpoint was only second to agriculture. Looked upon as an industry alone, I think it is an industry that we should be anxious to protect and that we should give all the power possible to the Minister for Agriculture to see that such protection is given. I would appeal to the House to look at it from the standpoint that fishing is an old and fine from of sport. We are becoming more and more mechanised in our ideas and, if we continue, we will be just as mechanical as other people and there will not be that attraction to people to come amongst us. We will be too sophisticated in every way and the charms of this country, which have been so frequently commented upon, will disappear. Surely fishing is one of the sports that we should all do our level best to encourage. The sum mentioned seems a very large sum, but it might easily increase to four times that amount. If arterial drainage schemes are going to injure fishing I certainly would be opposed to that. I agree with Senator Kingsmill Moore when he states that a scheme equally efficient from the standpoint of arterial drainage should be possible while also preserving the fishing amenities as a whole. I appeal to the members generally not to support any amendment which would have a tendency to weaken the power of the Minister responsible for this very important industry and magnificient sport.

I do not think any deep sentiment should be allowed to sway our minds in regard to fishing. I feel, in any case, that if the country is to develop and expand industrially and otherwise fishing should not stand in the way of progress or development. There should be a much more sound basis to work for than the fact that fishing is an old sport in this country and should be preserved. Listening to Senator Ryan, I think he has made a very good case and has shown the House that there is a good deal to be said for taking all the powers necessary. It seems to me that other bodies, such as the Electricity Supply Board, have taken power to avoid risk of serious financial loss and to make sure that progress in the development of their schemes will not be held up by fishery rights. It has not been done in this case, and I think the reason is that drainage does not affect fishing. As the Senator pointed out, it may improve the fishing amenities. If that is so, there is a substantial reason why the Board of Works did not stand firm and assert their interests in seeing that the Minister for Agriculture should have a certain power or interest in preserving fishing. I would be rather disposed to resist what Senator Ryan proposes.

I know that the remark made by Senator Kingsmill Moore was made in a purely jocose fashion.

At the same time, I must entirely repudiate it. While saying that, I confess I have a great deal of sympathy, naturally, with the point of view expressed by him. I admit freely I would not dare to hope that at any time I could put the argument in favour of this case better than he has done. The truth is that this is a compromise section. Maybe we came out of the compromise with the most bruises, but I think I can say that neither Fisheries nor ourselves would be found to be completely satisfied with the section as it stands. As a compromise section it does not please me or the Board of Works, and I am sure it does not please Fisheries. There you are. What can I do about it?

I suggest that the Parliamentary Secretary should consider the matter between this and the Report Stage; that he should submit my amendment to the Minister for Agriculture and ask him whether or not he would agree to it. I am sure that the Minister for Agriculture would not like to be too grasping; in other words, I think the Minister for Agriculture would be very slow to set himself up as a drainage authority or to persist in his demand that the Oireachtas should give him power to decide what is or is not detrimental to drainage works. I can only suggest that if this is a compromise section it is a very badly drawn one. It is unusually badly drawn and I may say that both the Minister for Agriculture and the Commissioners of Public Works have come out of it badly by producing a sub-section which provides that the Minister for Agriculture has to satisfy himself that the taking of certain precautions is not detrimental to drainage works.

I am merely suggesting to the Parliamentary Secretary that he should have a further consultation with the Minister for Agriculture on this matter and perhaps the Minister for Agriculture may see that there is very little danger to fisheries, but there is a great danger that an unfortunate precedent may be established and that this sub-section may find itself in subsequent legislation. At a later stage we may find a Minister for Agriculture deciding whether the income-tax should be 7/6 or 8/6 in the £ and a Minister for Finance deciding whether or not a certain type of Shorthorn would be best for County Tipperary or County Limerick.

From that point of view I look upon this matter in a rather serious light. We are now mixing up in legislation Departments of State which heretofore were kept in water-tight compartments. Under the Ministers and Secretaries Act, each Minister is responsible for the administration of certain specified work, and it is an unfortunate departure from our legislation that this sub-section should now appear and obtain the assent of the Oireachtas, because, as I have shown the House, if that sub-section reappears with an addition in any Bill which may be introduced, one does not know where this will end.

Senator Kingsmill Moore and Senator O'Reilly, who spoke on the subsection,-spoke as if they were appealing to an assembly of fishermen. Senator O'Reilly said he was at a meeting of fishermen last evening. If this were an assembly of fishermen, and not a Legislature, I could quite understand their appeal, and I would certainly accept their appeal. But this is not an assembly of fishermen. I am here as a legislator, not as a fisherman, and it is as a legislator I have brought forward this amendment. So far as fishing is concerned, I have no feeling. I am not a very successful fisherman, but I am not trying by this amendment to have revenge upon the fish that I could not catch, or upon the Minister for Agriculture, who is in charge of fisheries. I am just dealing with it in a cold-blooded way from a legislator's point of view.

I consider that this sub-section, as it stands, is illogical—you have the Minister for Agriculture dealing with drainage works. It is unnecessary, because, according to the Drainage Commission's Report, there has been no injury to fisheries at all by reason of drainage works. There may be greater injury caused by hydro-electric works, but not by drainage works. Finally, while it is not unconstitutional, it is bordering on it, because, instead of having one Minister responsible to the Dáil, whether he is the Minister for Finance or a Parliamentary Secretary, for the carrying out of drainage operations, you have another Minister who is not responsible to the Dáil for drainage operations, but who ought to be, if this sub-section is allowed to stand—that is, the Minister for Agriculture.

For instance, on a vote in the Dáil the Parliamentary Secretary may be able to say: "I am not responsible for these drainage works at all; the responsibility lies with the Minister for Agriculture." The Minister for Agriculture may say, "Under the Ministers and Secretaries Act I am the Minister for Fisheries," although the drainage works may be the result of his interference.

I say that is bad for legislation. It is bad government, and for that reason I would earnestly ask the Parliamentary Secretary to reconsider this matter and not turn it down finally. Perhaps, on further consultation with the Minister for Agriculture, he may be able to bring forward his own amendment—I care not in what form it is, so long as it segregates the functions of the Minister for Agriculture, who is in charge of fisheries, from the functions of the Commissioners of Public Works, who are in charge of drainage works. I should be glad if the Parliamentary Secretary would reconsider the matter.

May I call the attention of the House to the fact that Senator Ryan has been a little disingenuous? Members of this House may or may not know, that amongst his many other distinctions the Senator has attained a degree in engineering. He accuses me of speaking here as a fisherman but he is talking here as an engineer and he has pleaded with all the fine frenzy which an engineer can develop in regard to a pet project. Notwithstanding that plea, I would now appeal to you, Sir, to take the general feeling of the House on the question whether the Minister for Agriculture should have these powers.

When I used the term "fishermen" in describing the people who attended the meeting at which I presided I did not mean by that people who made a livelihood as fishermen. I should perhaps have said "sportsmen", because the people of whom I spoke were drawn from various occupations. I mentioned the matter to show the very general interest taken in this very ancient sport. I do not think there was a single professional fisherman, that is to say, a person whose livelihood depended on fishing, present.

I could not follow the logic of Senator Ryan's observations. I intended when he first spoke to say something but I abstained because I could not follow his arguments very closely. Now that he has spoken again I cannot refrain from making some reply. He said in his first speech that the Minister for Agriculture was claiming rights to which he was not constitutionally entitled. I do not know on what basis, or in what sense, he uses the word "constitutional". The Minister is perfectly entitled to exercise his claim in the matter of fisheries just as much as the Board of Works, or the Minister responsible, is in the case of drainage. It is obviously a case of conflicting interests. Where conflicting interests arise they can be dealt with in the form of compromise. I have no doubt there can be machinery within a Department whereby, I presume, the Government in the last resort would act as arbitrators between rival claimants.

You cannot separate this into water-tight departments. Because the Bill is a Drainage Bill you cannot say that drainage considerations shall override all others. That is what Senator Ryan seems to claim. In fact his whole attitude seemed illogical. He said that we are not a Legislature of fishermen. Neither are we a Legislature of drainage experts, but our duty is to try to harmonise conflicting interests for the good of the country, and I feel that the interests of sport and of every other interest have to be considered as against the meticulous standards that engineers may set up. It is a matter of compromise and I cannot help feeling that it has been done in the best way possible in the section.

I am afraid that Senator Sir John Keane has misunderstood me. I have not claimed that drainage should override everything but I said that in a Drainage Bill, the interests of drainage are paramount. That is why Section 10 has the marginal note: "Protection of fisheries." In other words, while the interests of drainage are paramount, the Bill must protect fisheries as far as possible having regard to the fact that drainage must be paramount. I suggest, likewise, that in an Electricity Supply Bill, the question of the supply of electricity is paramount. If the Board must acquire land for the purpose of hydro-electric schemes it may interfere with the rights of owners of land just as it may interfere with fishery interests, but then it must take steps to protect the interests which are bound to suffer. In this Bill the rights of owners of land may be interfered with and they will get compensation. Fishery interests may be interfered with and these interests may be compensated under Section 16 of the Bill. So, while the Bill gains its object, the object being the drainage of the country, it does so by causing the minimum injury and hardship to other interests. This section is for the protection of fisheries, but I say that the protection of fisheries must be brought about in a reasonable way, having regard to the object of the Bill itself. In other words, it is not a Drainage Bill at all if the Minister for Agriculture can veto the Commissioners of Public Works as regards drainage works as the Minister for Agriculture can do here. Under the section as it stands the Minister for Agriculture can say: "Construct these works in this way. I do not mind what your engineering experts or your drainage experts may say as to the form of construction. I, the Minister for Agriculture, in charge of fisheries, am satisfied that what I require to be done will not cause substantial detriment to the drainage works or substantial hindrance to their construction." In other words, he sets himself up as an authority on a subject about which he knows nothing and can know nothing, because he has no expert advisers at his disposal or no department of engineers to advise him as to what is, or is not, detrimental to drainage works or a substantial hindrance to their construction.

I say that if this were a Fisheries Bill it would be the other way about. Then the question of fisheries would be paramount. In that Bill you could impose restrictions on drainage works. That is the principle followed in sub-section (1) of Section 10 of this Bill, which says that the commissioners when constructing drainage works are not bound to comply with the provisions of the Fisheries Acts 1842 to 1944. Notwithstanding that exemption, the commissioners must carry out whatever the Minister for Agriculture requires to be done provided he is satisfied that it will not cause substantial detriment to the drainage works. In other words, they have no option. They must carry out the directions of the Minister for Agriculture. That is what I object to in this section. In other words, the great Commissioners of Public Works, with a century of experience behind them, must yield in this matter to the Minister for Agriculture who has no drainage advisers, no experts, at his disposal and no history of drainage achievement behind him. That is why I say it is illogical and that is why I protest against the sub-section in its present form because I foresee it will form a precedent. It has formed a precedent already in the new Bill introduced in the Dáil. I therefore earnestly ask the Parliamentary Secretary to reconsider it. I am afraid that Senator Sir John Keane misunderstood me when he said that I stated that this was a Legislature of fishermen. I said no such thing. I said that if this were an assembly of fishermen it would be one matter, but it is an assembly of legislators, not a legislature of fishermen. I therefore repeat what I have already said, that I have no adverse interest in fisheries. I am only concerned with the form of the section which is to form part of our permanent legislation.

It appears to me that Senator Ryan has completely missed the point of the moral of his concluding statement. We are an assembly of legislators; therefore, it is precisely for us to consider this Bill, not purely from the drainage angle, but to try to fit it in to the whole general picture of legislation.

If anything should be done in such a case, it is to try to get down to the realities of the situation and avoid getting away on a pure technicality as to whether it is a matter for this or that Department. There is a Government here and it is the Government's duty, as it is our duty, to fit each Bill which comes before us into the general picture. If we are to spend our time in trying to segregate each piece of legislation and, so to speak, to focus our minds on the point of view that when a Drainage Bill comes before us, we will consider only drainage as the paramount consideration, and when a Fisheries Bill comes before us, we will consider only fisheries as the paramount matter, we will fail to do the very thing which Senator Ryan asks us to do, that is, to consider ourselves an assembly of legislators and not an assembly of experts in a particular field.

I should like to congratulate Senator Ryan on the manner in which he put forward his amendment. I understand that the suggestion now is that the Parliamentary Secretary should reconsider this sub-section. While the debate was being carried on, I tried to paraphrase it in order to try to satisfy myself as to its meaning, but I must confess that I am still in the position of not understanding it. I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that, if he does decide to reconsider it, he should consider making two sentences of it, or at any rate clarifying the last two lines. The phrases therein have been repeatedly quoted by Senator Ryan.

The sub-section says that the Minister for Agriculture shall "satisfy himself that taking such precautions and making such provisions will not cause substantial detriment to such drainage works...." I do not know what is meant by "will not cause substantial detriment to such drainage works". Does the phrase mean substantial detriment to the ultimate success of the drainage scheme, or does it refer only to the drainage works as drainage works? The sub-section continues: "...or substantial hindrance to their construction". Does that apply only to the works or to the ultimate success of the scheme? If the latter is the meaning, it should be phrased in that way. I certainly cannot clearly understand its meaning, and I suggest that that long, ambiguous sub-section be divided into two sub-sections which would make it clearer, for some of us at any rate, than it is at present.

I can see no point in asking me to reconsider this, in view of the statement I have already made. I should be only too willing in the ordi- nary way to reconsider it, but I cannot reconsider it without bringing the other fellow into the arena as well. That is my difficulty. I assure Senator Ryan and the other Senators who spoke in favour of this course that this matter has received a great deal of consideration by us. It is only natural, since we are the drainage authority, that we should seek the widest possible powers, and there is no use in my trying to pretend to the House that I am satisfied with this compromise section. I am not, and never was, satisfied with it, and so far as I could make the case with the assistance of the advisers I had, it was made, and this is the result.

I listened to the arguments on both sides, and I must say that I am more suspicious of the arguments which came from my right, because they came from fishermen. I do not object to fishermen. It is all right to go after fish, but, like Senator Ryan, I do not know anything about the sport. When, however, I hear Senators Kingsmill Moore, Sweetman and O'Reilly striking that fishermen's note, I become terribly suspicious. It does not make the position better or easier for me to harbour these suspicions, because the facts, so far as I am concerned, are that this section is a compromise section. I should like to be able to reconsider it, but I should have to call into that reconsideration somebody else who would not see eye to eye with Senator Ryan or me.

Might I suggest that the Minister for Agriculture should be here to answer for this sub-section? I say that the proper course would be for both the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary to come here in charge of this sub-section, and, for the Minister, if he is to get his way, to explain to the House why he wants to decide whether certain works are detrimental to drainage or not. I say that the House is entitled to have an explanation from him as to why he claims these rights, and I therefore suggest that the House should adjourn until the Minister can attend the further discussion of the sub-section. The Parliamentary Secretary is not entitled to come here and tell us that this is a readymade agreement between the Minister for Agriculture and himself and that there is nothing further to be said in the matter. He cannot say to the House: "Whatever is said here is immaterial and whatever arguments are put forward cannot be considered because the Minister for Agriculture and myself have arrived at a settlement"—on a subject which is a matter for the legislators and not for the Government.

I think that is unfair. I have only stated the extent to which I have committed myself. I hope I have not conveyed the impression that, in reaching a compromise with another Department, I have compromised this House in any way.

I never suggested that. It is agreed, I think, that this is a compromise sub-section between the Commissioners of Public Works, on the one hand, and the Minister for Agriculture, on the other. The commissioners are represented by the Parliamentary Secretary, but the Minister for Agriculture is not represented. He is not here, although he is as much in charge of this sub-section as the Parliamentary Secretary, and I think he owes it to the House to explain why he claims these extraordinary powers. These powers were not granted to him under Section 16 of the Shannon Electricity Act, 1925, or under Section 16 of the Liffey Reservoir Act, 1936, and they were not recommended for him by the Drainage Commission in their report. Why, in the face of these precedents, there has been a change of front in relation to this sub-section, I cannot understand, and it has not been explained to the House. The Parliamentary Secretary has said it is a compromise section and the Minister may be able to throw some light on why fishery interests require the vesting in him of these extraordinary powers.

Therefore, I say that, as this is not merely a Drainage Bill but partly a Fisheries Bill; the Minister for Agriculture should be here so as to enable us to carry out a discussion on this sub-section in a proper way. I say, accordingly, that this House is at least entitled to have the Minister for Agriculture here in connection with the discussion of this Bill, if not on the Committee Stage, certainly on the Report Stage of the Bill, when this matter comes up for discussion again. Of course, I realise that it may be an extraordinary thing to expect to have two Ministers here to deal with a particular matter, but I suggest that if the Bill deals with two matters, involving two Ministers, there is no reason why the two Ministers concerned should not be here. It may not be convenient at the moment, but my suggestion is that the Minister for Agriculture should be present on, at least, the Report Stage of the Bill, in order to enable the House to discuss this matter properly.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 10 agreed to.
SECTION 11.

I move amendment No. 13:—

In sub-section (1), paragraph (b) (ii), line 12, and in paragraph (b) (iii), line 20, page 9, after the words "Public Health" to insert in each place the words "and the council of the county affected;" and in paragraph (c) after the word "shall" in line 35 to insert the words "after consultation with the council of the county affected."

I should like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that Section 11 has for its object the giving of powers to the commissioners in regard to public roads and bridges, where a drainage scheme provides for the diversion, removal or other interference of or with a public road or bridge. Now, in one paragraph of sub-section (1) there is a proposal to the effect that, after consultation with the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, the commissioners can do certain things. Perhaps I should put it this way: that portion of the sub-section says that the commissioners shall, before the completion of the carrying out of the scheme, do whichever of the following things they shall think proper, that is to say: (i) restore the said road or bridge to its former condition or (ii) after consultation with the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, construct a new permanent road or bridge sufficient to carry the like amount, in quantity and character, of traffic as the original road or bridge was able to carry and not substantially less convenient in gradient and curve than such original road or bridge, or (iii) with the consent of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, so improve, by widening, strengthening, reconstruction or otherwise, an existing alternative road or bridge that it will be sufficient to carry the traffic which will be likely to use it and will not be substantially less convenient than the original road or bridge.

Now, my proposal is that if they are going to construct a new road or bridge, they are going to do something in an area under the authority of a local council, and that there should be consultation, not only with the Ministry of Local Government and Public Health but with the local authority. I think that there is a number of people here who have had association with the work of local government in the country, and I think it will be agreed that if the commissioners find it necessary to carry out the reconstruction of roads or bridges, it would seem to be right that there should be consultation with the county council of the county concerned. It would mean having contact with the engineering staff of the local authority concerned, and it does seem to me to be reasonable that there should be such consultation. My first proposition is that there should be consultation with the county council affected by the scheme, and my second proposition is that in paragraph (c) of the sub-section there should be inserted, after the word "shall" the words "after consultation with the council of the county affected". My next proposition is that, in paragraph (iii) of the sub-section, which says: "With the consent of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, so improve (by reconstruction, strengthening, widening, or otherwise) an existing alternative road or bridge that it will be sufficient to carry the traffic which will be likely to use it and will not be substantially less convenient than the said original road or bridge," the words "after consultation with the council of the county affected" shall be inserted after the word "shall".

My reason for urging that these amendments should be inserted is that, later down in this sub-section, you find that these improvements, and so on, may have to be paid for by the local authority, or some such portion of the cost as the Minister for Local Government and Public Health may decide, and it does seem reasonable, therefore, to ask that if, in the carrying out of such a scheme, alterations are made in those existing roads or bridges for which local authorities may have to levy a rate, or if such improvements have to be paid for by the local authorities, they should be consulted in the matter. I think that the procedure proposed here is very highhanded and will not tend towards respect for the local authorities; it certainly will not tend towards making the people have any respect for their own local authorities. I think there is every reason to urge the House to accept these amendments, that the rights of the local authorities should be borne in mind, and that there should be consultation with them in connection with any improvement or alteration in existing roads or bridges in respect of which a demand for payment may be made upon them.

An effort was made in the other House to distinguish between the Minister for Local Government and Public Health and the various local authorities. I do not think that such a distinction should be made. I look upon the Local Government and Public Health Department as the authority which is, in fact, responsible for the guidance of all the local authorities in the country, and when the Minister for Local Government and Public Health is mentioned here, what is intended is, in fact, the local authority concerned. Would it not be impossible to imagine that if a question of reconstruction, under-pinning or erection of a new bridge, or any matter of that kind should arise, it would not be, first of all, discussed between the engineers concerned? In the course of the preparation of such a scheme, the engineers of the Department, in all probability, would meet the county surveyor and have discussions with him as to what was to be done. That is the usual practice, but when the Minister for Local Government and Public Health is mentioned here in relation to the reconstruction or improvement of a bridge over a river in an area where drainage operations were about to take place, he would naturally have to consult the local authority and take their advice.

Not in business.

Yes, of course. I was a member of a local authority for a number of years. I may have learned nothing in the course of those few years, but I entirely disagree with Senator Sweetman that a Minister for Local Government and Public Health would make a decision without consultation and without taking the advice of the technical advisers of the local authorities concerned. It is impossible to imagine anybody who knows anything about the business suggesting anything of that kind.

If it is impossible, what is the objection to putting it in the Bill?

That is the kind of hackneyed thing the Senator would put in, I suppose.

It is not put in for that reason at all.

What I am trying to say is that there is no reason at all for this thing of trying to distinguish between the Minister for Local Government and Public Health and the local authorities, and therefore I shall resist the amendment. The Minister for Local Government and Public Health will be bound to consult the local authority concerned and seek their advice for his own assistance. I think it is only natural to expect that that would be the case.

The Parliamentary Secretary takes the line that consultation with the Minister for Local Government is automatically consultation with the local authority. That is one part of his argument. Let me refer the Seanad to paragraph (d). The commissioners are, before the completion of the scheme, to do whichever of the following things they think proper, that is to say:

"(d) if any doubt, dispute, or question shall arise as to whether the commissioners, in the construction or maintenance of any temporary road or bridge or the restoration of an existing road or bridge or the improvement of an existing alternative road or bridge (as the case may be) pursuant to this section, have complied with the relevant provisions of this section, or as to whether a permanent new road or bridge constructed by the commissioners or an existing alternative road or bridge improved by the commissioners (as the case may be) confers substantially greater advantages on the public of any county or urban district than the original road or bridge, such doubt, dispute, or question shall be decided by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health whose decision shall be final and conclusive.

Consultation with the Minister for Local Government, according to the Parliamentary Secretary, is automatically consultation with the local authority. We find, however, that if any doubt, dispute or question arises in the case of an urban council or county council, that dispute is to be resolved by the Minister for Local Government whose decision is to be final and conclusive. How can the insertion of the name of the Minister for Local Government mean one thing in the first part of the sub-section and another thing further down?

It seems to me that, when I try to give a plum to the local authorities, Senator Baxter tries to misrepresent it.

How am I to meet members of this House, as I am doing in this clause if, when I try to do so, I get abuse? In this case, it is provided that local authorities should be consulted. That is a common-sense provision. Then, in the event of disagreement, we are giving the Minister responsible for the local authorities, who will be interested in their welfare, the right to decide the issue as against the Minister for Finance. If any one of us were acting as Minister for Local Government and were asked to arbitrate as between a local authority and the Board of Works, as part of the Department of Finance, would we not be prone to decide the issue in favour of the local authority? I think it is entirely reasonable to assume that we would. The clause to which Senator Baxter is taking exception leans towards the local authority by deliberate design. I do not think I can be blamed, having some little experience of local authorities and their sensitiveness, for protesting when I come under the lash for making a gesture in favour of the local authorities.

I have no experience of any other House but, since the Parliamentary Secretary feels so extraordinarily sensitive to abuse and to the lash, I cannot understand how he has been a member of a local authority for a few years.

It was a well-conducted local authority.

Without a manager. That was probably why it was so well-conducted. The Parliamentary Secretary believes that consultation with the Minister for Local Government is exactly the same as consultation with a local authority. I accept his word that he believes that. I admit that we have taken a long time to travel six sections, but it is peculiar that in Section 5 he was sending documents not to the Minister for Local Government but to the local authorities directly concerned. Let us face the issue. If you say that the Minister for Local Government is the same as the local authorities, then nobody should be such a fool as to take part in local government; it should be left to the dictation of the Custom House.

It struck me that, if the words "after notice to the local authority and consultation with the Minister for the Local Government" were inserted, it might meet the point which Senator Baxter has in mind. Senator Baxter, probably, feels that there should be some notice to the local authorities concerned, and this might be a way of bringing them into it. I am inclined to agree with the Parliamentary Secretary that it would be rather difficult, in the case of arbitration between two Government Departments, to bring in the local authority directly, but if they were given notice they would have an opportunity of making representations, before the arbitration, to the Department concerned.

I do not know if the Senators raising this question have adverted to sub-section (2). If they did, they would have seen that there was not much in the argument they put forward. This sub-section provides that the commissioners may ask the local authority to make the road to be substituted for that which has been removed or to make a larger road, under contract, the commissioners paying for the work. Senators may be satisfied that that is what will happen. When a road is to be made for the benefit of a local authority, the usual procedure is to ask the local authority to make that road. The local authority will, therefore, have to get proper notice, and will have to agree with the commissioners as to how they are to make the road and how they are to be paid for it.

I would draw Senator O'Dea's attention to this fact: In sub-section (2) provision is made for the commissioners to arrange with the local authority to alter or reconstruct a road and for the commissioners to pay to the local authority the cost of so doing. In the preceding sub-section, there is provision for agreement between the Minister for Local Government and the commissioners to do certain things. Having done these things without any evidence that there is going to be direct consultation with the local authority, the later is to be assessed. It will have to pay out of its funds certain moneys for this reconstruction about which we have no evidence except what the Parliamentary Secretary gives us.

I must confess that this Jekyll and Hyde business is not clear to me. The Minister for Local Government and Public Health is one person in the beginning of the sub-section and a different person at the end of it. The Parliamentary Secretary admits that the arbitrator at the end of the section is the Minister for Local Government, while in the beginning of it the Minister for Local Government is apparently the local authority. I think it is reasonable to ask that there shall be consultation with the local authority before these changes are made. It would be a courteous thing to do. After all, the local authority is going to be assessed. I have not made any attempt to lift the responsibility off it for the payment, but at least if it has to pay it ought to be consulted.

The local authority gets a copy of the scheme under Section 5 which deals with bridges, roads and everything else that is interfered with. I am not trying to put anything over on the local authority.

I did not suggest that.

I am not offering any insult or injury to it. I do contend that in this section the local authorities are being met in a very generous fashion indeed. If, in relation to matters of this kind, they can get an arbitrator who would be as likely to be as favourable to them as their own Minister, then I think they will have no cause for complaint.

That is not what the people down the country think.

The people down the country well know that to be so.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Section 11 agreed to.
Amendment No. 14 not moved.
Section 12 agreed to.
SECTION 13.
Amendment No. 15 not moved.

Mr. O'Reilly

I move amendment No. 16:—

In sub-section (4), before paragraph (b) to insert the following new paragraphs:—

(b) the Minister shall send to the council of the county or councils of the counties (as the case may be) by which the costs of maintenance of the drainage works are to be borne a notice stating that he proposes to issue the said certificate and the council or councils may, within two months after receipt of the said notice, send to the Minister an objection to the issue of the said certificate;

(c) the council or councils on which such notice has been served under the foregoing paragraph of this sub-section may, within two months after the receipt of the said notice, send to the Minister an objection in writing and stating the grounds of objection to the issue of the said certificate."

I think, having regard to the fact that local authorities will be charged with the responsibility of maintenance of existing drainage works for a very long time prior to any reconstruction work being carried out, and that they have had responsibility prior to reconstruction and will have responsibility subsequently for the cost of maintenance, it is only right that before the issue of the certificate of completion reasonable time should be allowed to them to consult with their engineering staff to have certain inspections carried out. That would enable them to submit such objections or recommendations to the Minister as they may think fit before the final certificate is issued.

It will be agreed that members of local authorities are very much concerned about the success of drainage work. They will be delighted to see the schemes prepared by the Parliamentary Secretary a success. They may be critical of them, but their criticism will be constructive. I think that a period of two months should be allowed them to consult with their engineering staff so as to be able to make objections or recommendations as they think fit. By the end of that time they will know how the work is proceeding and will have a fair opportunity of submitting evidence to the Parliamentary Secretary. The latter will have no way of finding out whether a scheme is a success or not except on the information given to him by the Board of Works which, naturally, will be biased in favour of a scheme because of the fact that it is its own. It is reasonable to ask that an independent view should be brought to bear on the matter before the Parliamentary Secretary issues his certificate.

The object of the amendment seems to be acceptable. I am prepared to see if we can cover it by means of an amendment on the Report Stage. Its acceptance may necessitate a number of consequential amendments, but the object, as I say, seems to be acceptable.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 13 agreed to.
SECTION 14.

I move amendment No. 17:—

In sub-section (1), page 12, to delete lines 2 to 18, inclusive, and to substitute instead the words "obligatory on the commissioners to acquire compulsorily any land, easement, fishery, water-right, navigation-right, or other right proposed in such drainage scheme to be so acquired in respect of which it appears to the commissioners, in the course of carrying out such drainage scheme, that the acquisition of such land, easement, fishery, water-right, navigation-right, or other right is not necessary for the purpose of such carrying out.

This is a drafting amendment. It aims at dividing the existing section but does not alter the meaning of it in any way.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 18:—

To insert before sub-section (3), page 12, a new sub-section as follows:—

(3) It shall not be obligatory on the commissioners to make any interference with any land, easement, fishery, water-right, navigation-right, or other right or any road or bridge proposed in a drainage scheme to be compulsorily made in respect of which it appears to the commissioners, in the course of carrying out such drainage scheme, that such interference is not necessary for the purpose of such carrying out.

This is complementary to the previous amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 14, as amended, agreed to.
Section 15 and 16 agreed to.
SECTION 17.

I move amendment No. 19:—

To delete paragraph (c) lines 46 to 54, and to insert instead a new paragraph (c) as follows:—

(c) shall, in the case of a claim in respect of interference with water or a watercourse providing power for a mill or other industrial concern in addition to such other consideration as may appear to be relevant and equitable have regard to—

(i) the extent to which the power so provided was used for an industrial purpose during the 20 years next preceding the date of the confirmation of the said drainage scheme by the Minister;

(ii) such expenditure as may have been incurred during the period specified in the next preceding sub-section by the person claiming compensation in connection with a scheme for the utilisation of the power in respect of which interference is necessary for the purpose of the drainage scheme;

(iii) the extent to which the interference with the water or watercourse required for the purpose of the drainage scheme has actually interrupted, varied, prevented, or will interrupt, vary or prevent the implementation of a scheme such as that mentioned in the next preceding sub-section, has involved the loss of the whole or portion of the expenditure actually incurred or will, through the provision of an alternative source of power involve such loss to the persons claiming compensation for such interference;

(iv) any alternative source of power which the commissioners may provide or may be in a position to provide subsequently in lieu of the power in respect of which interference is required for the purpose of the drainage scheme and the terms upon which such alternative source of power will be provided for the benefit of the person claiming compensation.

This can be a very contentious section. A number of interests are involved by it and, as was stated in the other House, if there is not a substantial alteration in the wording it may affect the progress of arterial drainage work. I assure the Parliamentary Secretary that I have no desire to hold up arterial drainage in any shape or form, but I am very keen on seeing that persons who may be affected will get reasonable compensation. There is nothing in the amendment that need delay the work of arterial drainage. Many of us can recall the condition of things in the country in the past, when there was a very large population and a large number of mills erected. We hope that these mills will be worked again and take part in the industrial regeneration of the country. I am interested in this matter, because for over 100 years my people have been connected with industry. It is my desire to do my part in pushing on the industrial movement. One of the conditions of the Bill is that the question of compensation will be considered only in the case of a mill that has been used within a period of ten years. The present war has been in progress for over five years and it may continue for three or four years more. The effect of the war has been to upset the economic condition of things, so that no matter how anxious a person might be to instal machinery or to equip a mill it is out of the question to do so for a considerable time. That may affect a number of places. The arbitrator would appear to be confined to the criterion set out in the Bill into consideration. If power from the hydro-electric scheme became available, I suggest that would entitle the arbitrator to consider what power would be at the disposal of a mill-owner in place of power that was being taken away. Should the hydro-electric scheme spread, as we hope it will, to all parts of the country I suggest that the amount of compensation to be provided would be comparatively small. Therefore, from the point of view of finance I do not think there is any need to be afraid of the proposals in the amendment.

As the section may be a contentious one, and in order to avoid a very great injustice to many people, or the creation of a certain amount of social stress or unrest, it would be desirable to frame the arbitration clause in terms that would allow a greater degree of comprehensiveness, by permitting the arbitrator to consider, not merely the actual use to which a mill was put within a certain period, but to consider whether there had been any expenditure during that period which would tend to prove that abona fide scheme of development was contemplated, and that, in certain circumstances, that particular scheme might be implemented.

The Parliamentary Secretary is acquainted with Cavan, where there is a deposit of gypsum, and also with important works at Kingscourt. It would appear that if some person was aware that there was a valuable deposit on land which circumstances might prevent the owner using for a number of years, that person might come along and say he wanted the land as it had not been made use of during a period of 10 years and, therefore, the owner was not entitled to get compensation. For a number of years the Department of Education has been encouraging its instructors to devise schemes for the utilisation of small streams and water-power generally. I am aware that a number of streams have been utilised in that way. I have here a document showing that the alternative is to have a big national scheme of hydro-electric development. There are very efficient small schemes through the country. If we take water away from a mill we are taking away a potential source of power, which may be of great value to a particular district.

We have gone through various phases of thought with regard to administration since 1921. We have had on the one hand an enlargement of local areas. We found certain defects in that type of administration. If we get a purely national scheme of hydro-electric development we might find subsequently that we had put all our eggs in one basket. Local mills, though not in use, are a valuable asset. If a person buys land through which a river or a stream flows he must naturally have placed some value on that source of power. Why then should that value be taken away without reasonable compensation? I am not suggesting that the amendment submitted is perfect, but having had considerable experience of the drafting of documents of the kind, I tried to make it as wide as possible. I have put it in a form which would exclude any bogus claims being submitted. I move to report progress.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
The Seanad adjourned at 9 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, 18th January, 1945.