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Treacy, Seán

Thursday, 29 September 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 224 Nbr. 3

Committee on Finance. - Vote 27—Local Government (Resumed).

Nobody could now deny that the past year has been a year of deep disappointment, disillusionment and bewilderment for all those associated with the work of the local authorities in this country. De...More Button

Looking through the Minister's lengthy speech, I could find no grain of hope or solace at all of an improvement in this sorry situation. Despite any kind of facade the Minister and his Department ...More Button

It is usual for a Deputy to refer to local matters in a debate of this kind. To indicate the truth of my statement, I can do no better than refer to the situation in my own constituency, first taki...More Button

This financial accommodation is not forthcoming. So concerned were my council in South Tipperary that they appealed to the Minister to receive a deputation to discuss the most important of these s...More Button

The schemes to which I refer are, firstly, the Ardfinnan water scheme costing £203,500. The loan for this scheme was applied for on 11/8/65 and has not as yet been approved. There is not ev...More Button

Again, the Emly regional piped water scheme, a vast scheme requiring years of preparation, costing £232,000, was submitted to the Minister's Department in finalised form on 15/6/1965 and desp...More Button

Another important regional scheme, the Dundrum scheme, costing quite a substantial amount of money— £407,000—was submitted to the Minister's Department on 15/6/1965 and again no i...More Button

Direct labour water schemes costing £53,000 were submitted on 10/9/1965 to the Department, the Lisronagh piped water scheme costing £14,000 and the Cahir public convenience scheme costi...More Button

One can well imagine how utterly frustrating this is for the council of South Tipperary which has been making such progress in the provision of piped water. Indeed, we had rather claimed for ourse...More Button

Even where we have these group water schemes in operation, of which we fully approve, especially in those areas where no piped water can be supplied—hilly, mountainous areas, perhaps—I ...More Button

Despite the position we claim for ourselves in South Tipperary in respect of the amenity of piped water, it is still true to say that quite a large percentage of our people lack piped water; certai...More Button

The situation is very similar in regard to housing. A proposal for 22 rural cottages, for a supplementary loan of £3,200, was submitted to the Minister's Department on the 9th October, 1964....More Button

I do not have to paint the rural picture of housing problems so often painted in this House. We have all these problems in our county, in our main towns, of people living in condemned dwellings, i...More Button

I express the hope, therefore, that, in respect of the great national problem of the rehousing of our people, the Minister will insist on his Cabinet making available to him more moneys for this pu...More Button

Many of the grants and subsidies which housing now enjoys could be eliminated had we done as other progressive countries and insisted that this essential service be taken out of the hands of the ba...More Button

I want to refer briefly to planning. We believe in the necessity for county planning, town planning, and national planning for that matter. We believe it is necessary to have planning and orderlin...More Button

There is one aspect of this planning to which I want to advert briefly. The planners are obviously concerned about people, about population trends, about settlements, about industrial zones, but I...More Button

I understand that at a seminar recently in respect of town and county planning, one authoritative spokesman indicated that it was envisaged that we would achieve a growth rate of 500,000 by 1985 an...More Button

At present in my own county the balance of population between the rural and the urban areas is that approximately 43 per cent are living in the rural areas and 57 per cent in the urban areas. That...More Button

Many of us feel that all that is best in our society lies in the rural areas and that they should be preserved. It is disconcerting in the extreme to realise that our planners, under the plans for...More Button

Another aspect of town planning which I feel is accelerating the transfer of people from the rural areas to the cities and towns, or abroad, is the policy which has now been decided in certain coun...More Button

I appreciate the reasons for this policy. We have been told that the idea is that cottages will be built in groups in future near the appropriate town or village where piped water, sewerage facili...More Button

It is the policy of the planners.More Button

The Parliamentary Secretary will appreciate that the functions of a county council are, in the main, those of the manager. If the manager adopts a policy of this kind, that will be the policy desp...More Button

We can invoke section 4 from time to time but this is a positive recommendation from the top— the Parliamentary Secretary can check up on it—that in future cottages shall be grouped and...More Button

Before leaving various works schemes and essential services which had been approved and which I indicated were submitted to the Minister over 12 months ago, I want to emphasise the importance of s...More Button

Because of the acute shortage of money, apart from the human problem involved of distress, disappointment and the hardship of waiting, there is also the problem of employment. There has been a fal...More Button

——that there is no money for these purposes either. I appreciate what the Leas-Cheann Comhairle says but the schemes to which I have referred are similar in every way, and if I do adv...More Button

I want to refer to the controversial matter of rents. The impression which the Minister created in his statement to the House is that while he admonishes local authorities to rationalise their ren...More Button

Not only did the Minister virtually direct local authorities to increase rents but he threatened them if they did not do so. He issued a circular on 30th March, 1966, entitled “Modification of the...More Button

It has been represented to the Minister for Local Government that the arrangement known as the deficit principle has deterred some local authorities from reviewing the rents of their housing estat...More Button

A further passage from the circular reads:More Button

The primary purpose of the concession, however, is to ensure that if local authorities decide that an increase in the rents payable by particular tenants of houses covered by the concession is ineq...More Button

There is then a further passage couched in blunt terms:More Button

The Minister will reintroduce the deficit principle in any area where it appears to him the housing authority has not taken reasonable steps to rationalise its rental schemes. He will therefore re...More Button

Most housing authorities interpreted this circular as a threat that if they did not rationalise rents, take steps to increase them, the subsidies would be withdrawn. I accuse the Minister of black...More Button

The Housing Bill also provides that the subsidy policy will in future be influenced by the rent policy of the housing authorities and also the performance of these housing authorities in their obl...More Button

Rents have been increased under threats of this kind. The plea has been made that no hardship will accrue but the plain fact is that the Minister, bereft of money, has thought up this gimmick of i...More Button

This is very evident in my town of Clonmel where we were faced with the possibility of a very high rate this year. It evidently occurred to the conservative members of the housing authority that th...More Button

This is how the Minister's circular has been interpreted in many places. If anyone suggests to me that people have benefited by it, I can tell them the extent to which people benefited and who tho...More Button

Reading this revealing document one would get the impression that some people were getting houses for nothing. It is worth putting on the records of the House that the houses involved— about ...More Button

The next group comprise households whose income is between 20/- and 40/- per week, again a miserable figure on which a dog would not subsist. It does not even compare with the lowest social welfar...More Button

From these figures one will appreciate the benefits accruing from this to the lower income groups. I should like to place on record also that the tenants were given the impression that the revised...More Button

So outraged was I at this callous approach that I invoked section 4 of the County Management (Amendment) Act, 1955, directing the manager to exempt categories of persons from increases in certain i...More Button

I want to express here the sense of outrage felt by the tenants in Clonmel in respect of what this Minister, his Government, and his Party sitting on the corporation of Clonmel have done to them by...More Button

These tenants were reflected upon as being people who were enjoying subsidies from the ratepayers to which they were not entitled, as if they were not ratepayers themselves. These corporation tena...More Button

They were reflected upon in very many ways which they deeply resent. The only subsidy they enjoyed was the one-third subsidy which they got on entering their house. Housing has come to be regarded...More Button

What I resent most particularly in relation to this increase is that it was an attack upon the standard of living of the ordinary working class people in our community. There was an increase in wa...More Button

This is not to say that we are against the principle of differential rents as such. What I have been speaking about up to now was a global increase in fixed rents, an increase in rents of tenants ...More Button

I agree with the principle of differential rents. This is a principle for which the Labour Party, in the main, have been responsible. It was a principle first devised by the late Jim Larkin who, ...More Button

The only protest we make in respect of differential rent schemes as we know them is in regard to administration. They are administered in some cases by pretty ruthless, callous, indifferent officia...More Button

While on the subject of increased rents, I want to refer to the variation from local authority to local authority. In South Tipperary County Council, there has been a proposal to increase rents whi...More Button

On that subject, it is to be deplored that the Minister for Local Government should be the last man—not the Minister for Lands as was mentioned here yesterday—to deal with the employees...More Button

By direct negotiation, an agreement between the employer, the manager and the unions was arrived at that the operative date would be May and the unions are insisting that it shall be May. If they...More Button

I appeal to the Minister to concede the just demands in this instance of £1 as from May. If he has any regard for proper industrial relations, he will realise that a Minister of State should...More Button

I may have dealt sufficiently with the question of rents in general. I agree with the Minister that we should see to it that everyone can secure a house in the knowledge that he can afford to pay....More Button

It is rather late in the day now for the Minister to indicate to us by way of letters that the increase in the rents over 7/6 per week which might be inflicting hardship should be spread over a num...More Button

I was commenting on the various graded rents and differential rents schemes. I want to ask the Minister if he considers this type of scheme a good scheme. In my opinion, it contains some penal c...More Button

The rent shall be reviewed once a year and the council may at any time vary the graded rent in any manner or charge the economic rent without stating or being required to state the reasons therefor.More Button

I submit that tenants still have rights. A clause of that kind should not be in any decent agreement with a tenant. It might be well for the Department to draw up prototype graded rent and differen...More Button

I was pleased to hear in the Minister's speech a reference to the threat to our coastline and beaches which has been a matter of public controversy in parts of the country in recent times. Even in ...More Button

Access to our beaches should be preserved for the Irish people and it should not be the prerogative of the rich, who come here with packets of paper money thinking they can buy out our country. It...More Button

I want to join with other Deputies who referred to the lack of amenities in our towns and villages. When one goes abroad, one can see the disparity between amenities there and here. We lack parti...More Button

I have not much more to say except in respect of the employees of local authorities, whose wages and retrospective payments I have already referred to. I would ask the Minister if he would consid...More Button

I have come across many cases recently of men coming out on retirement, many of whom were forced to retire on grounds of ill-health, and, despite the fact that they were with the county council for...More Button

I am pointing out an anomaly to the Minister in the hope that he may see ways and means of redressing the situation so far as county council workers are concerned and grant the same rights to the l...More Button

I wish the Minister well in all he undertakes towards the elimination of death on the roads. I trust that his admonitions in that regard will be received with the consideration and respect they me...More Button