HC Deb 20 February 1834 vol 21 cc628-9
Mr. O'Connell

rose for the purpose of moving for leave to bring in a bill to amend the law relative to distress for rent in Ireland. The first Amendment he had to propose, would go to diminish the costs which very often ruined those small farmers who were distrained upon. Another Amendment he wished to introduce had reference to the goods seized under distress for rent. At present goods taken in distress for rent could not be sold under fifteen days; seven days were allowed for their valuation, and seven days were allowed to the tenant to redeem them; and the fifteenth day was always appointed for the sale. It very often happened that, in case of cattle being seized, the poundkeeper allowed the tenant to retain them, on his giving security; but that was a matter of grace and favour. He (Mr. O'Connell) had known many cases in which the pound-keepers, being afraid to offend the landlords, had refused to let the tenants have their cattle out of the pound, notwithstanding they offered the most ample security. He had known instances of poor men's cattle having been impounded, which, at the end of fourteen days, were not worth one-third of what they were when they were seized. It was formerly the law in this country, that Sheriffs, when they arrested on mesne process, could retain a debtor in custody till judgment took place; but, by an Act of Henry 6th, it was made compulsory to accept good bail or adequate security. Now he (Mr. O'Connell) proposed that the pound-keeper should be compelled to liberate the cattle till the expiration of the term allowed by law previous to the sale, provided good security was tendered; and it would be for the tenant to prove the solvency and sufficiency of the security. He thought that no one would say, that this, in the least degree, could be injurious to the landlord. In consequence of the present law great hardships were often inflicted on the tenants, and he did not conceive that there could be any objection to the introduction of the Bill.

The motion was agreed to.