Dáil Éireann - Volume 1 - 29 June, 1920

DECREES. - CLAIMS TO LAND—DAIRY, AGRICULTURAL AND RESIDENTIAL HOLDINGS.

The MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS moved:

“WHEREAS it has come to our knowledge that claims to farms of land (Dairy and Agricultural and Residential Holdings worked by the Occupiers) have been and are being made in parts of the country, such claims being based on the fact that the claimants or their ancestors were formerly in occupation of the property so claimed.

“AND WHEREAS these claims are, for the most part, of old date, and while many of them may be well founded others seem to be of a frivolous nature and are put forward in the hope of intimidating the present occupiers.

“NOW IT IS DECREED BY DAIL EIREANN IN MEETING ASSEMBLED

1. “That the present time, when the Irish people are locked in a life and death struggle with their traditional enemy, is ill-chosen for the stirring up of strife amongst our fellow-countrymen; and that all our energies must be directed towards clearing out—not the occupier of this or that piece of land —but the foreign invader of our country.

2. “That when the national triumph has been achieved—immediately the Republic has received recognition and finds itself unhampered by enemy Armies of Occupation, steps will be taken by legislation of An Dáil and otherwise, to do justice and equity to all those who have suffered wrong in the past through the power and operation of England's unjust laws.

[179] 3. “That pending such recognition no claims of the kind referred to shall be heard or determined by the Courts of the Republic unless by written licence of the Minister for Home Affairs.

4. “That in the meanwhile claimants may file particulars of their claims with the Registrar of the District Court in which the property is situate.

“AND IT IS FURTHER DECREED

That any person or persons who persists or persist in pressing forward a disputed claim of the nature above referred to shall do so in the knowledge that such action is a breach of this Decree. AND IT IS ORDERED that the forces of the Republic be used to protect the citizens against the adoption of high-handed methods by any such person or persons.”

He explained that people who were putting forward these claims were not nationalists at all. They were merely out to create a state of anarchy which ought to be put a stop to. It was put down in Kerry and Clare and in parts of Cork, when the members for the Constituencies there took action and issued announcements in the press condemning these claims.

It was now suggested that the Dáil authorise the issue of this decree in the form of a Proclamation for circulation all over Ireland. The knowledge that the Dáil had put its foot down would effectively prevent any amount of trouble in connection with these matters.

FIONAN O LOINGSIGH (Kerry South) seconded.

The ACTING-PRESIDENT suggested that clause No. 2 of the motion be omitted.

The MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS accepted this suggestion.

P.J. WARD (Donegal South) asked if this would do away with all claims to land?

The MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS replied that it would not interfere with claims to land which were being used as ranches and demesne lands.

The MINISTER FOR DEFENCE stated that the Constituency that he represented deemed to be a place where every second farm was a grabbed farm. The Ministry had come to the conclusion that this was the best way to deal with these claims.

B. O'HIGGINS (Clare West) hoped that the Proclamation would have a very good effect.

JOSEPH MACDONAGH (Tipperary North) was in agreement with the provisions of the motion. There was no doubt that if this movement was allowed to go on the energies of the people would be diverted to a struggle for land. Provision had been made in the motion for dealing with exceptional cases.

P.J. WARD (Donegal South) thought the motion was a mistaken one.

After a general discussion the motion was amended to read as follows and was adopted:—

“WHEREAS it has come to our knowledge that claims have been made and are being made in various parts of the country to farms and holdings which are being used and worked by the occupiers as Dairy, Agricultural and Residential Holdings, and that such claims are being based on the assertion that the claimants or their ancestors were formerly in occupation of the property so claimed.

“AND WHEREAS these claims are, for the most part, of old date, and while many of them may be well founded others seem to be of a frivolous nature and are put forward in the hope of intimidating the present occupiers.

NOW IT IS DECREED BY DAIL EIREANN IN SESSION ASSEMBLED:

1. “That the present time, when the Irish people are locked in a life and death struggle with their traditional enemy, is ill-chosen for the stirring up of strife amongst our fellow-countrymen; and that all our energies must be directed towards clearing out—not the occupier of this or that piece of land—but the foreign invader of our country.

[180] 2. “That pending the international recognition of the Republic no claims of the kind referred to shall be heard or determined by the Courts of the Republic unless by written licence of the Minister for Home Affairs.

3. “That in the meanwhile claimants may file particulars of their claims with the Registrar of the District Court in which the property is situate.

“AND IT IS FURTHER DECREED:

That any person or persons who persists or persist in pressing forward a disputed claim of the nature above referred to shall do so in the knowledge that such action is a breach of this Decree, AND IT IS ORDERED that the forces of the Republic be used to protect the citizens against the adoption of high-handed methods by such person or persons.”