Housing (Gaeltacht) (Amendment) Bill, 1959—Committee and Final Stages.

Section 1 agreed to.
SECTION 2.
Question proposed: "That Section 2 stand part of the Bill."

There are just two points I should like to put. I notice that Section 2 deals with certain grants for the erection of dwelling-houses and so on, their improvement and extension, under four heads. Sums of £80 for two rooms, £110 for three rooms, £130 for four rooms and £150 for five rooms are being granted. I notice that there is an implication here that the price per room will drop fairly considerably the more rooms you add. I should like to hear the Minister comment on that. At first sight, it seems to be a legitimate presumption, but I notice that when, for instance, a primary school of 78 classrooms is being put up, the price per classroom remains somewhere around £5,000 or £6,000. It does not seem to drop much, no matter how many classrooms you have. I wonder if the Minister has any precise data on this suggestion that it will be cheaper per room if you put up three or four or more. Will it be so in practice?

The second question I should like to ask is: have any steps been taken, or have any arrangements been made, to help the recipients of such grants with the design of the extension of their premises? Is there any help given to them in selecting the design or in planning the extension, or in making the best out of the money and also making the extension fit in best not only with their present accommodation but also with the countryside? Do they get any specific help with the planning of this improvement or extension of their dwellings?

These grants are improvement grants. They are not for additional rooms. They are normal improvement grants where you have a house which people want to improve, just in the same way as you have improvement grants under the Department of Local Government. As far as the design is concerned or any help being given to the applicants, if they wish to get help, our housing inspectors are there to help and advise them with any proposed improvements they wish to make. I think the Senator is under a misapprehension and that he is contemplating that these are additional rooms. Actually, the purpose here is to improve the house as it exists.

Arising out of that reply, this is for the improvement or extension of existing premises. I find it harder to justify in my mind, therefore, the reduction of the grants according as you improve three rooms or two rooms. If you decide, for instance, to put an additional window in each of the two rooms, it does not really become cheaper if you decide to put them in three or four rooms. I should like to hear why there is this implication that it will be cheaper per room if you do a lot of them.

Offhand, I would suggest to the Senator that the bigger the job of improvement, the cheaper it would be for the contractor. For instance, if he has to do only two windows as the Senator suggests, and has to get his equipment there, it would probably be much more economic for him, if he has to do three or four rooms. The Senator will appreciate that these grants, like the Local Government grants, are designed not to cover the full cost of the work. They are supplemental and in all these cases naturally the applicant has got to provide a certain amount of his own money. The Senator will also appreciate that we must keep somewhat in line with the Department of Local Government and the grants provided by them. We give a lot more for improvement than they do, but we have gone further in this than has been done before for this purpose, that is, for improving existing accommodation. In another section of the Bill, there is special help being given for additional rooms. I just want to make that clear, that this is for improving houses that are there and it does not contemplate additional rooms.

Is it not a fact that this money is intended, in the main, for people who will not employ a contractor at all? A great deal of the work in these areas is done by the people themselves, with the exception of certain jobs such as repairing roofs and windows and so on, and the price, therefore, is not a price which is such as would satisfy a contractor. I do not think the Minister is right when he says that it is not contemplated that a room will be added. It is quite plain that it is so contemplated and if you work mathematically, the more rooms you add on—and Senator Sheehy Skeffington was right—the less you get per room for doing so. The real argument for the section would appear to be to help people, who in their circumstances and having a considerable amount of free time at certain times of the year and having certain materials convenient to them, in the main, do the work themselves. That is the justification, I think, rather than the statement that the more you give a contractor to do, the less per unit it will be. It seems to me it is based largely on the consideration that people will put a lot of their own labour into the work.

In practice, the Senator is correct. They do quite a lot of this work themselves, but again I should like to make it clear that the purpose of this section is to increase the improvement grants that have been provided over the years. That is the main purpose of this section. Senators will see later on that we have special grants for additional rooms but the real purpose of this section is to increase the improvement grants which were in existence before under our housing code.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 3.
Question proposed: "That Section 3 stand part of the Bill."

Ní fheadar an bhfuil a fhios ag an Aire cad é méid tithe a tógadh fé'n mbunreacht, 1929, a tógadh ag daoine a fuair deontas ar an gcoinníoll go labhrófar Gaeilge ann; agus cad é méid acu go bhfuil Béarla dá labhairt ann tar éis na deontaísí a thabhairt dóibh? Bhfuiltear chun a thuille airgid a thabhairt dos na daoine a fuair na tithe sin, a fuair deontas agus go bhfuil Béarla dá labhairt acu anois?

Ní raibh sé sin beartaithe againn. Caithfidh siad a bheith oilte sa Ghaeilge. Téann an cigire ann agus níl sé toiltennach deontas a thabhairt gan an teanga bheith go líofa ag an iarratasóir. Is cuma cad a bhí ann blianta ó shoin. Braitheann sé ar an stad i láthair na huaire.

This section deals with the giving of grants for the provision of a water supply or sewerage facilities or for a bath-room. I notice that in each case the grant is described as being "not exceeding" a certain sum—£55, £30 or £140. I should like to ask the Minister—I have not been able to find out in the Act— what proportion of the required expenditure the grant is calculated to represent.

Under our regulations, the grant is designed to represent three-quarters of the cost.

Faoi Alt a 3 (1), ba mhaith liom ceist a chur ar an Aire. Mar shocraíonn fear tí, nó úinéir tí, uisce a tharraingt isteach go dtí a thí agus muna bhfuil casán poiblí ann chun an t-uisce sin a thabhairt chun an tí, bhfuil aon chumhacht ann chun cabhrú leis cead d'fháil ón bhfear gur leis an talamh timpeall an tí chun píopaí nó gléasanna camraí a chur tríd an talamh sin? Sin ceann de sna ceisteanna achrannacha atá ann. Go minic, bíonn tobar in áit amháin agus tigh cónaithe in áit eile, nó bíonn an tobar i bpáirc gur le daoine eile é. Bhfuil aon tslí ann chun ceadúnas d'fháil ó aoine, ceadúnas do-sheacanta, chun uisce d'fháil?

Tá ceist eile agus is dóigh liom gur ceart go mbeadh léargas ina taobh. Is minic nach bhfuil bóithre cearta, casáin chearta, isteach chun cuid de sna tithe. Tarlíonn tubaistí den tsaghas san. Tagann an fhairrge agus scuabann sí an casán nó an bealach sin. Bíonn an cheist chéanna ann, i gcás slí chun an tí a dheisiú. Bhfuil aon córas nó gléas a gheobhaidh chead dóibh chun na nithe sin a dhéanamh? Is dóigh liom go mbaineann an cheist sin leis an Roinn Talmhaíochta nó leis an Roinn Tailte. Is ceist í a thagann isteach go minic, go mór mhór i leith uisce, i dtaobh draeneacha, le hiad a chur go dtí áit oiriúnach chun nithe do bhreith ón tigh agus sa chás sin bíonn talamh ag an gcomharsan sa tslí. B'fhéidir nach bhfuil réiteach éigin chun ceadúnas den tsórt san d'fháil.

Ceist anachasta atá ag an Seanadóir. Tá seanchleacta agam ins an Iarthar ar an gceist chéanna. Níl cumhacht agamsa chun leigheas a chur ar na deacrachtaí sin. Tá an dlí ann, tá a fhios aige. Sílim go bhfuil cumhacht ag an Roinn Tailte.

An Roinn Rialtas Áitiúil.

Nó ag an Roinn Rialtas Áitiúil. B'fhéidir go bhfuil cumhacht acu faoi sin, ach níl aon chumhacht agamas. D'éirigh cúpla ceist mar seo sa Roinn agus bhí na comharsanaí toilteanach cead a thabhairt do na daoine eile. Pé scéal é, níl chumhacht agam i láthair na huaire agus b'fhearr liom, go pearsanta, nach mbeadh an chumhacht sin agam.

Bhfuil eolas ag an Aire ar aon dlí chun an cheist sin a réiteach, nuair ná bíonn an comharsa sásta? Bhfuil aon ghléas chun é sin a dhéanamh, ar mhaithe le sláinte agus maisiú na tíre?

Tá a fhíos agam go bhfuil cumhacht ag an Roinn Tailte sílim chun casán a chur ann, gan cead comharsan agus gan cead aoinne. Sílim go gcaithfidh fá faoi leith a bheith ann —chun uisce a thabhairt do na comharsana. B'fhéidir go bhfuil an chumhacht sin, freisin, mar adúirt an Seanadóir Ó hAodha, ag an Roinn Rialtas Áitiúil chun cuspóirí éagsúla; acht níl aon chumhacht mar sin agamsa. Sílim nach mbeadh mórán deacrachtaí faoin gceist seo sa nGaeltacht anois, mar tá na scéimeanna uisce réigiúnacha ann; agus ní raibh mórán trioblóide againn chead d'fháil.

The new subsection (8) at the end of page 4 of the Bill provides for a grant for a special extension and says that it shall not be made in relation to a house which is a holiday chalet. Am I correct in interpreting that as meaning that a water supply plant can be obtained for a chalet?

I understand that a sanitation grant would include water supply.

Section 3 (1) sets out the various grants which may be made. The first is a water supply grant; the second is for sewerage; the third is for a bathroom, including a hot water supply. These three are called the sanitation grant. The fourth is mentioned as an improving grant. This new subsection (8) to which I refer says that an improving grant, a sanitation grant or a special extension grant shall not be made in relation to a chalet; but it does not seem to say that the other two shall not be—that is, the water supply and the sewerage grant.

The answer is that a water supply grant is a sanitation grant.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 4.
Question proposed: "That Section 4 stand part of the Bill."

I asked the Minister a question on the previous section—I was under a misapprehension, and he corrected me, that the section related to new buildings. This section does relate to new buildings. It relates to the building of holiday chalets, or to the building of holiday hostels, and there are grants available up to the amount of £200 for the holiday chalets, and £5,000 for the hostels. The Minister told us earlier that with regard to design, the receivers of grants will have available to them the services, help and advice of Government inspectors. I should like to ask does that include architectural advice and help free of charge? Will that be provided? That is my first point.

My second point is: will there be any obligation upon them to seek architectural advice, because, particularly in the case of the bigger buildings, it would be necessary, from the community point of view, that they should be obliged to seek such architectural advice? That advice would be necessary even in the case of the smaller chalets and there should be an obligation on them to seek architectural advice because one can imagine springing up a sort of bungaloid growth which would be very unpleasing. Therefore, I should like to know (a) will free architectural help be made available to them and (b) will there be any obligation upon them to use that advice?

Senator Sheehy Skeffington has made a very important point. There is some risk of houses being built, under this Bill, which might really spoil the landscape and which might be ugly and unsuitable. Is there any provision for controlling that? If there is not, I suggest to the Minister that there should be. There is some risk that these houses might be on the cheap and ugly side. I am sure the Minister will do anything he can to avoid that.

I should be very anxious to avoid anything that has been suggested by both Senators on that line. At the moment, I am drafting regulations which will specify what we consider should be the minimum space to qualify for our chalet grants. I should tell Senators that the plans of the proposed chalets will have to be approved by my inspectors and, in so far as we have that power, we shall have control so as to provide against the type of development Senators have in mind.

Does the Minister mean that he will have aesthetic control as well as control over the physical side?

Not necessarily aesthetic control in the specific way the Senator puts it.

It would be very desirable.

We are examining the statutory rules which we are proposing to bring in to deal with this question. As I have told the House, the plans, at all events, will have to be approved by the officials of my Department. I cannot conceive that we would approve of some eyesore——

I can. I have seen it happen in other Departments.

I shall have another look at the regulations we are drafting——

——to see if there is any method by which we can guard against that.

The Minister's answer is satisfactory, as far as it goes, in relation to the power he has to ensure that these buildings are physically sound and I hope he will see to it that they are not eyesores, as he says. It would be possible for the buildings to be sound architecturally and yet be horrible to look at, or without necessarily being horrible to look at, they might be out of place in their context. He did not answer the other question as to whether free advice will be given to these people.

I should like to say that I have never been enthusiastic about increasing State control in every department of our lives as has gone on here since 1922. Aesthetic control is the kind of control that the State and civil servants are least able to exercise satisfactorily. I realise, of course, that these grants might have lamentable results from the point of view of the landscape, and the visitor's eye. At the same time, I rather think that if there is to be any form of control with regard to the type of chalet or building that is to be put up, that control should be as little as possible from Dublin. If it is to be exercised from Dublin, it should be done by some people who know something about the local landscape.

An effort should be made not to put something up which would be beautiful to the eye of a Dubliner, but something which blends with the landscape, which, by the way, the old comfortable unhygienic house did, and which a number of new houses built under the 1929 Act did not. I happen to know that very well. I have lived in some of these houses and they are hard to live in. The old houses were built by very intelligent country people in shelter and when the prevailing wind was blowing, you were always sheltered from it in the kind of house which a countryman built.

The house which an inspector built which was condemned in Irish as "tig ar árd""house on a height" was full of doors and in the month of July you were blown out of it. There is something to be said for the ordinary countryman as against the inspector or even the Dublin architect. I say that with bated breath and in a humble whisper. I feel it is a problem which cannot be solved by somebody in a Dublin office drawing up a plan and saying: "There now, put that up in Connemara or in Gweedore." He should know something about Connemara and Gweedore. If we are going to build these houses, an effort should be made to put them in the kind of place where they will have the most shelter and where they will blend best with the landscape. Notoriously, a number of newly built houses do not so blend.

There is another point with which I should like to deal, that is, the Irish language point. This whole scheme is supposed—I should not say supposed; I give the Minister credit for sincerity —to be in the interest of the Irish language and to enable people to provide accommodation for visitors in these areas. They are the Gaeltacht areas and, by definition, they are remote and they are all the more beautiful for being so remote. In them you get cleanliness, good food and great friendliness from the people, and if you add to that the advantages this Bill confers, you make them very satisfactory as resorts for the visitors and very cheap. I know people who go to Connemara who have not a word of Irish, and have no interest in Irish, but they find it very cheap, very friendly and very beautiful.

I do not know if the Minister or anybody else can frame any regulations to prevent this kind of building from being used simply for pecuniary benefit by people who have no regard for the Irish language. For example, when a grant has been made for this type of chalet, can it be sold? Can it not be sold without the Minister's consent? Is that right? Can it be transferred to other people who have no interest in Irish? I do not object to that but I think since people are getting these grants because of their situation and because of the Irish language, it should be used for the benefit of the language.

There is a considerable influx already into these areas, which are beautiful by definition and which are now clean, have good food and can be frequented by people who do not want to go to a luxury hotel in Dublin but who want a holiday and who want to benefit from the great friendliness and charm of the people, with no regard at all for the Irish language. If regulations can be made to prevent that situation from arising I should be glad, but I think it is a matter of very great difficulty.

I come back now to the first point about the aesthetic control. With regard to the bigger building which is contemplated here, the £5,000 building, I think great care should be taken to see that it is suitably built—and "suitability" to me means that it should blend with the landscape in the area. That would be my definition of "aesthetic control" in that matter.

I strongly recommend that the Minister should endeavour to get that done and not in accordance with new ideas, strange ideas, and so on. I recommend that he should see what happens in the particular area and see that any building put up is suitable for that particular area and blends with its features.

I want to make it clear that I agree with Senator Hayes. It is obvious that you cannot plan this simply from a Dublin office. On the other hand, I think he recognises, too, the danger of allowing them to go unplanned. The way in which they should be directed is the way he suggests. I think he would agree that if you leave it to the local man to put up a holiday chalet he will, in accordance with his usual practice, make a good job of it. However, the building of a £6,000 or £7,000 hostel is not part of the country craft and it is possible he might put up a monstrosity. I would plead, therefore, not just for desk help but for intelligent help which I think he would get from the Department and relate it very strictly to the locality.

I am inclined to inquire at this stage how far the powers given under this Bill will harmonise or clash with the Town Planning Acts. As things are, the control and the operation of the Town Planning Acts are matters for the local authority. Take the cases of Donegal, Mayo and Kerry. It would be a matter for the county councils of Donegal or of Mayo or of Kerry. While it is optional for these county councils to put a Town Planning Act into operation, once it is in operation and a town planning officer is appointed, the control of all buildings, private or public, would appear to be vested in the town planning officer. That would apply in the case of Mayo if the Mayo County Council put the Town Planning Act into operation and the same can be said in relation to Donegal or Kerry.

Since this power to control buildings is being given to the Minister, will he have extra territorial rights or will plans of those buildings still have to be perused by the town planning officer in the counties I have mentioned? I do not know the position. I fancy that if the Act referred to is in force, then the power given under this Bill will not prevent the town planning officer in the areas from having a word to say on the matter.

I want to support Senator Sheehy Skeffington. I think the person who objects to the use of the word "aesthetic" is often an inverted aesthete. I am sure it is possible to get minimum standards of quality and character. I am also quite sure it is not impossible that even a Dublin architect could devise buildings that will be both sheltered and aesthetic. I believe that standard should be admitted in this case. We could do a great deal of harm. The worst thing that happened to the countryside in my lifetime was the introduction of concrete. I have seen some horrible productions. Do not let that happen here.

In the case of the Bruanna or the hostels, plans from an architect will have to be submitted to my Department before we approve of a grant. Therefore, in these cases, the question of the architect comes in. I should also say that, where we give a grant for a hostel, for instance, to a local development committee or to a religious community or to an Irish college, they will have to appoint trustees who will be answerable to us and submit to us the plans from their architect of the building for our approval.

As far as the chalets are concerned, Senators will notice—I think there was some mention of it here the last day— that I did not attempt to define chalets in this Bill. I had a number of reasons for that, outside of the difficulty of getting a definition. One of the things I did not want to do was by this legislation to produce a mass product— the same all over the place. I wanted to give the people the opportunity to work out their own ideas on this matter. It may well be, and I am sure it will come to pass under this Bill, that you will have competition between different chalet owners. Some of them may be prepared to put up a much more elaborate chalet—three of them, for instance—than others for the sake of attracting better or a more remunerative type of occupant. Therefore, I wanted to leave that free.

I should also like to tell the House that it is my intention, with the help of some of our Irish organisations such as Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge, to start parish committees in the Gaeltacht that will, in conjunction with my inspectors or my stiúrthóirí, not alone urge the people to take advantage of these provisions but also give them any help and advice they may require on questions of location and other matters that have been referred to here.

Senator Hayes raised the matter of these people selling the chalets. I propose to take power under the regulations to provide that they will not be able to sell them for a period of five years. I think that will be sufficient control for my purpose. I hope that, having got their three chalets, they will be ploughing back some of the profits they make, to put up a couple more. That is the ultimate development I have in mind.

I do not think the question raised about town planning will affect us. As far as I know, I have not come across the provisions of the Town Planning Acts in any of the Gaeltacht areas I am dealing with. That has been confined, as far as I know, in the West to towns with a certain population. I do not think we will run up against any of the difficulties or have any clashes as far as the town planning question is concerned.

Ba mhaith liom beagánín eolais eile d'fháil ar scéal na mbrúanna atá beartaithe agus go bhfuil suas le £5,000 le tabhairt ar iontaobh "a body of persons". Is é is brí le "a body of persons", agus ansin an ceangal le cuspóir an rud go léir, ná go bhfuil sé ar son na Gaeilge agus tréithe na Gaeltachta. Is í an Ghaeilge an príomh-thréith a bhaineann leis an nGaeltacht chomh fada is atá baint leis an mBille seo leis an ngnó.

An bhfuil aon chumhacht ag an Aire nó an féidir leis an Aire rialacha a dhéanamh chun a bheith lán chinnte nach daoine Gallda, nach bhfuil aon tsuim ar bith acu sa Ghaeilge, a chuirfidh suas ceann de na brúanna seo i dtreo is go mbeadh tigh ósta Gallda san áit? An mbeidh an chumhacht ag an Aire cosc do chur le tógáil tí den tsórt sin ar son cosanta na Gaeilge? Is é an eagla atá orm ná go dtiocfadh "a body of persons"—tá cuid acu san sa Ghaeltacht chomh maith—chun tigh mar sin a chur suas mar mhaithe leo féin agus ní bheadh spéis acu i leas na teangan agus ba chuma leo cad é an úsáid a bhainfí as an mbrú sea ina dhiaidh sin. Is é an ní atá ag cur imní orm-sa ná nach mbeadh cumhacht ag an Aire cosc a chur le húsáid na mbrú seo nach mbeadh ar mhaithe leis an Ghaeltacht.

Pointe anthábhachtach an pointe atá ráite ag an Seanadóir Ó Siochfhradha. Is ar mhaithe leis an nGaeilge atámuid ag rith an Bhille seo agus caithfimid féachaint chuige ná déanfar aon rud a dhéanfadh dochar don Ghaeilge sa deire thiar thall. Má bhíonn dream daoine ann go mbeadh sé mar chúram orthu na brúanna seo do riaradh, ba cheart gur Gaeilgeoirí iad agus gur daoine iad a chuireann spéis sa Ghaeilge. Fé mar adúirt an Seanadóir Ó Siochfhradha, do réir mar a léimid an Bille d'fhéadfadh aon dream daoine —má tá an ceart agam, tá súil agam nach bhfuil an ceart agam—agus b'olc an rud é dá bhféadfadh aon dream daoine dul i mbun ceann de na brúanna seo sa Ghaeltacht, is cuma an sa Ghaeltacht féin a bheadh an dream daoine sin nó lasmuich den Ghaeltacht mura mbeadh sé de chuspóir acu an Ghaeilge do chur chun cinn san áit sin.

Is féidir liom a rá mar fhreagra ar an Seanadóir Ó Siochfhradha go bhfuil dóthain cumhachta agam faoin mBille. Tá an chumhacht agam an deontas a thabhairt nó a dhiúltú agus ní bheadh mé toilteanach an deontas a thabhairt gan bheith sásta leis an gcoiste nó an cuspóir atá acu i leith na teangan agus muintir na Gaeltachta. Is féidir leo freisin ranganna a chur ar siúl i rith an gheimhridh sna brúanna seo. Tá súil agam go mbeadh cúrsaí ann i rith an tsamhraidh ach is féidir úsáid eile a bhaint as na brúanna seo i rith an gheimhridh. Caithfidh coiste a bheith ann agus tá súil agam gur coiste fiuntach a bheidh ann. Bheadh an coiste freagarthach domsa. Tá an chumhacht agam rialacha a dhéanamh agus ar an chéad dul síos caithfidh mé bheith sásta leis an gcoiste agus an cuspóir atá acu, agus ní bheidh an deontas le fáil acu gan mise bheith sásta.

Is áthas liom a chloisteáil go mbeidh an chumhacht sin ag an Aire. Thaistigh uaim bheith sásta faoi sin.

I am still not satisfied with regard to the Minister's reply in relation to the operation of the Town and Regional Planning Act. As far as I know, once a county council decides to put the Town and Regional Planning Act into operation, say, in the case of the Mayo County Council, every building in County Mayo, whether in Castlebar or in Achill, must be submitted to the planning officer for a decision. While some counties have not put the Act into operation, other counties, even counties which have no urban area, have implemented it to try to prevent those monstrosities that have been referred to by the Senator on the other side of the House. It has been said that many of the monstrosities are made of concrete. That may be true, but many very useful buildings have been erected in concrete, more useful than monstrous; the monstrosities are few. With a certain amount of artistry and symmetry in design, quite graceful buildings can be erected in concrete. However, that is a separate issue. I still think I am right when I say that once a Town Planning Act is put into operation in Donegal or Mayo the officer is entitled to see that the plan of the building is all right, whether it is sited properly, and to give approval or refuse approval, as the case may be.

I wish to inquire whether it will be necessary when this Bill is enacted for people to submit their plans to the town planning officer, if and when the Mayo County Council put that Act into operation, if it is not already in operation. The Minister may say he does not foresee any clash in relation to these two measures. That is not the issue. It is the question as to whether the local authority or the town planning officer of the local authority will still have the power vested in him which he has under the Town Planning Act.

If Senator O'Reilly is right, of course we shall submit plans to the planning authority. I am speaking from recollection but I was under the impression that town planning, where it had been adopted by a local authority in my part of the world was confined to towns over a certain population. I may be wrong in that, but if the local authority has adopted the Town Planning Act and it is necessary for us to submit our plans, we shall certainly do so. We shall be very glad to co-operate with the local authority. In fact, my Department in every county in which there is a Gaeltacht area is relying largely on the goodwill we have built up with the local authorities and the county committees of agriculture. They have been very helpful to us in putting through some of our new schemes and we work in very close cooperation with them. I shall look into what the Senator has said and if it is necessary to submit plans, we shall have that done.

I have a query in relation to sub-section (3), which says: "A person shall not be eligible for more than one holiday chalet building grant." I take it that does not include a body of persons proposing to set up hostels. I presume it refers to chalets only. There is no restriction on hostels as far as I can read.

So that the bodies setting out to put up hostels in a region could get the same grant for each and every hostel put up in the region.

Provided my Department was satisfied with the objects and with what they proposed to do with them.

Would it not be well to have some diminution in numbers? In other words, to make a grant of £5,000, say, for one hostel, but when that group or company was going to put up a second hostel, there might be a certain diminution in the grant and so on for the third and fourth.

We are not contemplating the Senator's suggestion of one group putting up a number of hostels. What we are contemplating here is that we would have accommodation, in the first instance, for students in the summer time coming down there where we had a local committee, a religious community or some people like that in charge and that we could make use of some of these hostels in the winter time in conjunction with the local vocational education committee to put on classes or possibly use them for some social activities in the Gaeltacht in the winter months.

I do not think that the power suggested by the Senator is necessary because, needless to say, wherever we allow one of these hostels, we are certainly not going to let anybody run riot, putting up a whole series of them in one place. Mainly, I had this idea to fit in with where you have Irish colleges to make further accommodation available for children coming down in the summer months.

Arising out of the question of this grant, which is a very valuable one, for hostel purposes, would the Ministear be prepared to give an assurance that he will view with sympathy any application for the extension of the Gaeltacht? I know one area in Ballingeary, Inchigeela, which is some few miles outside the Gaeltacht area, where there is as much Irish spoken as in any other region. They are developing at present and they could benefit considerably from the provisions of this Bill.

Sin ceist eile.

Sin ceist eile ceart go leor.

Féacfaidh mé isteach sa scéal. Limistéirí na Gaeltachta have not been very long in force. It may well be as the Senator says. I know that there are some pockets left outside the Gaeltacht but there are certainly some pockets inside it that should be outside it.

I should like to draw the Minister's attention to a situation we have in Louth. Would the Minister clarify the position as to which is the supreme authority with regard to the supervision of the construction of houses or of any building in Louth?

County Louth does not arise under this Bill.

We have adopted, both towns and county, the Town and Regional Planning Act. Is the Regional Town Planning Act to be subsidiary to the proposals in this Bill or is it not? I should like to have that situation cleared up.

As the County Louth does not come within Limistéirí na Gaeltachta, I am not concerned with their town planning up there.

Arising out of the point the Minister made in reply to Senator Quinlan, that he would not think it necessary to limit the section or sub-section in regard to grants for hostels, has the Minister anything in the Bill to stop people—they may be desirable or undesirable people—from building a chain of hostels under this Bill? The Minister might say he would not allow it but he has no power under this Bill to stop them.

I think these grants are solely in my discretion. I can refuse anybody a grant for a hostel.

Without giving any grounds whatsoever?

I explained the purpose of these hostels and the kind of people we want to get interested in them. It is all tied up with the language movement. It is solely for these purposes that I am providing these grants for hostels. It is in my discretion to refuse to give a grant or refuse a grant depending upon what we think of the proposition and the location and the use that will be made of the hostel.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 5 agreed to.
SECTION 6.
Government amendment No. 1:—
In subsection (1), page 6, line 36, before "is made" to insert, ", or a loan pursuant to a certificate under subsection (1A) (inserted by sub-section (4) or section 5 of this Act) of section 8 of the Act of 1929."

This amendment is to provide that the remission of rates set out in the Table in this section which is granted in respect of the first chalet built by an applicant will also be applicable to the second and third chalets which may be built by the same applicant without the aid of a grant. This had been the intention all along but the fact that, as the section stands, the remission could be granted only in respect of chalets for which grants had been made, was overlooked. There is a grant for the first chalet and loans for the other two. As the section stood, there might be some question of the other two not coming in for the rate remission. To put that right this amendment is being inserted.

The Minister expressed the hope that, having got a grant for one or two chalets, the owner might then expand and put up some others. We all hope that will happen but I should like to see some incentive given to such owners. I think the very least that might be given is that the rating provisions would apply equally to additional chalets which are constructed by the owners without the grant.

This, as Senators will appreciate, is a completely new start in a completely new line of country to develop the tourist business in the Gaeltacht areas. I think that, starting off at all events, the provisions in respect of rates for all three chalets is a very substantial inducement. It is very important on the other side of this Bill dealing with the ordinary new houses that we retain the goodwill of our local authorities. Many local authorities, as Senators are aware, provide supplementary grants. If we went too far in one direction without providing anything in the way of rates for local authorities, there would be the temptation for some of them to exclude the Gaeltacht areas, in view of the fact that they are getting substantially more grants than other parts of their jurisdiction. I think that, taking one thing with another, this rating provision, as far as the chalets are concerned, is as far as I could be expected to go at this stage. If further developments take place, we can always come in and amend the law when we have some experience in a year or two.

Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 6, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

With regard to the table headed: "Proportion of Increase in Valuation to be Reduced" in this section, in every case in which a building grant, hostel building grant or holiday chalet building grant is made, the valuation shall be reduced for rateable purposes for the next 19 years. Is it necessary in, say, the building of chalets to go as far as 19 years? To a certain extent, I appeal on behalf of the local authorities. Surely their time will be wasted calculating that over the next 19 years. Could the position not be met by removing the rate altogether for the first five years?

After all, if you take one of these chalets, or hostels, then long before the 19 years are up, the owner will either have made a success of it and be able to pay his rates, or will have sold it to some one else and the local authorities will be left working out the fractions that he will have to pay over 19 years. That will put an added burden on the local authorities if these chalets spring up in any numbers. The rates on one of these chalets must be very small. The Minister should be able to envisage what the valuation will be and what the rates will be. Under Section 4, the grant will be £200 or half the amount, whichever is the lesser, so it does not appear to be a very expensive building and therefore the rates will be very small and it will leave the local authorities the job of calculating those figures for the next 19 years, which seems rather unnecessary.

Perhaps the Senator may be under a misapprehension. The provision in the table to which the Senator refers, relates mainly to ordinary houses, the new houses in the Gaeltacht. It is true to say it refers also to the chalets but it refers to the ordinary houses, the new houses that will go up and the new rooms and so on. Up to now, they were completely free from rates for a period of 20 years. The Department of Local Government have introduced a sliding scale—I forget what the remission is but I think it is ten years—and we felt that outside the question of uniformity—I have found this in practice—some of the houses built 20 years ago never had to pay any rates and all the charges, rates, E.S.B. and so on, came in on top of them at the same time. I think it is more desirable that they would start off realising that they will have some rates to pay as time goes on. I am also informed that it is the Valuation Office who would have the headache of calculating the figures involved.

The rates demand note will still have to be written out.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 7 agreed to.
SECTION 8.
Government amendment No. 2:
In subsection (4), page 8, line 17, before "the Act of 1929" to insert "section 3 of".

This is purely a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Section 8, as amended, agreed to.
First and Second Schedules agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments received for final consideration and passed.