Dáil Éireann - Volume 63 - 23 June, 1936
In Committee on Finance. - Vote 37—Land Registry and Registry of Deeds.
Acting-Minister for Justice (Mr. Boland) Acting-Minister for Justice (Mr. Boland)
Acting-Minister for Justice (Mr. Boland): I move:—
Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £31,326 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1937, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Oifig Chlárathachta na Talmhan (54 & 55 Vict. c. 66; 40 & 41 Vict. c. 57, agus Uimh. 10 de 1924, a. 102); agus Oifig Chlárathachta na nDintiúirí (2 & 3 Will. 4, c. 87; 27 & 28 Vict. c. 76; 38 & 39 Vict. c. 5, agus 46 & 47 Vict. c. 20).
That a sum not exceeding £31,326 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1937, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Land. Registry (54 & 55 Vict. c. 66; 40 & 41 Vict. c. 57, and No. 10 of 1924, sec. 102); and of the Registry of Deeds (2 & 3 Will. 4, c. 87; 27 & 28 Vict. c. 76; 38 & 39 Vict. c. 5, and 46 & 47 Vict. c. 20).
The Land Registry is mainly a registry of owners of small holdings. It was established primarily for the registration of purchasers under the Land Purchase Acts, in order to facilitate the ascertainment of the ownership of the holdings purchased and future dispositions by the owners. Prior to the creation of the Irish Free State there were 239,830 owners registered of land in what is now Saorstát Eireann; 105,569 additional owners have been registered since that date; so that the total number of owners of land registered in Saorstát Eireann is now 345,399. This is over 25,000 more than the total number of owners of land registered in the whole of Ireland in the year 1919-1920. It is estimated  that 100,000 or more additional owners will be registered on the completion of pending and future sales under the Land Purchase Acts.
Recent legislation has increased the purchase of small houses by means of advances under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act. All owners of houses so acquired must be registered. Eight hundred and ninety of those houses were registered in 1935.
The scheme to vest all labourers' plots in the occupiers will add a large number of owners to the register. The effect of the proposed Labourers Bill will be to increase the number of registered owners by 50,000. Having regard to the foregoing, it is expected that the total number of registered owners of land in Saorstát Eireann will be increased to 500,000 in the next 10 years.
The increase in the number of registered owners has increased substantially the dispositions by them that have to be registered. More dispositions of registered land in Saorstát Eireann are now being registered annually than were registered for the whole of Ireland in the year 1919-1920. The dispositions registered during the year ending the 31st December, 1935, were 25,163. Legislation has also contributed to this increase. Since 1929, 8,264 charges have been registered for loans made by the Agricultural Credit Corporation under the Agricultural Credit Acts; and during the same period over 1,400 charges have been registered for loans made under the Gaeltacht Housing Acts. The work has been done by a staff whose numbers are 25 per cent. less than the staff for the year 1919-1920, when the work was less. In addition to the normal work of the Registry, the maps of all registered land, which were destroyed in 1922, have nearly all been reconstructed. It is hoped that this reconstruction will be completed in a short time. The further increase expected in the number of owners to be added to the register will necessarily involve a considerable annual increase in the registration of dispositions by registered owners.
The sum of £15,000 given in the  estimates as the estimated receipt of fees in the Land Registry for the year ending 31st March, 1937, is probably an underestimate. The fees actually received for the year ending 31st March, 1935, were £17,066 8s. 4d. A complete return of the fees for the financial year ending 31st March, 1936, has not yet been obtained, but they will be at least £18,000. There has been a substantial increase in the dealings registered during the year over the dealings registered in 1935, and the fees increased in proportion. A further increase in dealings is expected this year, and the fees for the year ending 31st March, 1937, should not be less than £18,500. The difference between this sum and the gross total of all estimated expenditure chargeable against the registry including expenses such as accomodation, stationery, superannuation, non-headquarter expenses, which are charged on other Votes, is about £11,000. At least three-fourths of this apparent deficit on the working of the registry is caused by legislation that requires registrations in certain cases to be made free of charge or for charges less than the cost of the work done, and by work being done in the registry for other Departments without the cost of it being debited against them as part of their expenses of administration, which it is. Under the Labourers Acts, local authorities must be registered free of charge as owners of all land acquired by them for the purposes of those Acts. Under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act and the rules thereunder, registrations have to be made for fees less than the cost of the work done. And under the Gaeltacht Acts, charges for loans made by the Board of Works have to be registered free of charge.
If the cost of registrations and other work done in the Registry for Public Departments was debited against those Departments in the same way as other Departments debit the registry with work done for it, and if credit was given to the registry for work done that it is obliged to do free of charge or for fees less  than cost, the estimates would show correctly the actual loss on the working of the registry, and it would appear that, as between the State and registered owners, the deficit now borne by the State but which should be contributed in fees by owners is not more than £2,400, and probably less. It may be added that the pending Courts of Justice Bill creates an authority for making rules and prescribing fees for the registry, thus filling a gap which has existed since the abolition of the old judicial system in 1924.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: The Minister said something with regard to the amount required to settle the new proprietors on the land. I gather that is particularly so with regard to these migrants from the West. The Minister must realise that every acre of land now divided means a perpetual charge on the State, perhaps I should not say a perpetual charge but a charge for possibly a generation. That will continue as long as the present policy with regard to housing and land division holds. Perhaps the Minister could give us the average, not dealing with registration alone but with the operation of which land legislation is only a part. We might get an estimate of this some time or other from the Minister. If the Minister forecasts 100,000 proprietors in the near future the amount under this head will be considerably increased when it is taken into account that 100,000 new proprietors will have to be registered.
Mr. Boland Mr. Boland
Mr. Boland: That is under the expected forecast. As a matter of fact we estimate the number at something like half a million entirely.
Mr. McGilligan Mr. McGilligan
Mr. McGilligan: Then in that case we would have 156,000 new proprietors in the next five years. The sum will vary according to the acreage given. Every one of these operations means an addition to the national debt.
Vote put and agreed to.
Dáil Éireann 63 In Committee on Finance. Vote 37—Land Registry and Registry of Deeds.