The Committee jumped at the suggestion and a deputation was appointed to appear before the old Millstreet Rural District Council and ask that body to put the Small Dwellings Act in force in the Rural District which, to its credit, let it be said, the Council unanimously did and thus had the honour of being the first Council in Ireland to do so.
As the procedure was entirely new, it took some time to put things going but under the guidance of the late Mr. T. M. O'Connor, Clerk of the Council, who was an acknowledged authority on Local Government matters, and with the help in Dublin of the late Mr. P.C. Connor, Chief Engineering Inspector of the Local Government Board, matters were finally completed.
Loans under the act were advanced to the tenants for four-fifths of the purchase money at 51/2% interest and Sinking Fund, repayable by weekly instalments spread over thirty years, and may I say here that not one single penny was lost to the ratepayers despite the croaking of those who prophesied all kinds of disaster.
In this necessarily short account of this unique sale, unique because it was the first moved through the Small Dwellings Act in the country, I have not been able to give any adequate idea of the immense amount of time and trouble the Committee, more particularly the Rev. Chairman and the Secretary, gave to bringing the sale to a successful conclusion. It was entirely due to the Rev. Chairman and the Secretary, who held the people together through disappointment after disappointment that the people of Millstreet are the owners of their houses today.
Contrast the position then of the weekly tenant who leaving his house before the sale, just handed up the key to the Estate Rent Collector, with his position now when if he leaves for any reason, he sells his house for the full market value in a town where prices are high.
No praise is too much for the Rev. Chairman and the Secretary, who on more than one occasion, when the funds of the Committee were exhausted, paid the Counsel's fees themselves.
Nor can too much gratitude be expressed to the members of the old Rural District Council, but for whose help, matters would have been much more difficult for the tenants.
And now in what we may describe as the Golden Jubilee Year of Millstreet, may we ask a little prayer for the soul of the Rev. Chairman and all the members of the Committee, all of whom, with the exception of the Secretary are gone to their reward. To him we sincerely say " Ad multos annos".
The Kerry man, March 1,1952.