HC Deb 27 April 1883 vol 278 cc1274-5

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he is aware that dissatisfaction exists among the tenantry on the estate of the representatives of the late Mr. Ebenezer Bustard, in the County of Donegal, in consequence of the effect of appeals from the decision of the local Sub-Commission, brought by the landlord before the Appeal Court of the Land Commission, heard at Lifford on the 3rd and 4th instants, and decided at Derry on the 7th instant, with the result that increases amounting to £12 10s. a-year, above the rents fixed by the Sub-Commission, were placed upon five of the tenants; whether the Sub-Commissioners, Messrs. Bourke, Sproule, and Mahony, who fixed the judicial rents on this estate, made a careful examination of the soil, in various places, in each field, of every holding; and, whether the reductions decreed by them amounted in the average to no more than 20⅔ per cent, or nearly 2 per cent less than those given in March last by Mr. Gray and Colonel Bayley, the latter of whom has been removed from Donegal, after a public meeting of tenants, calling for his removal on the ground of the insufficiency of the reductions; whether he is aware that, seventeen years ago, a substantial increase of rent was imposed upon the tenants on this estate, the landlord engaging to expend the increase on improvements, and that the said engagement was never carried out to the least extent, but that, on the other hand, the tenants have since considerably increased the value of their holdings by improvements; and, whether the Court Valuers, acting for the Court of Appeal, valued the five farms on which the Court of Appeal decreed increases at a higher figure than that fixed by the Landlord's Valuer (who was examined before the Sub-Commission, but not before the Court of Appeal)?


At the request of the First Lord of the Treasury, I will answer this by merely acting as the channel of information from the Land Commissioners, who have made the following remarks:— The Land Commissioners are always ready to give the fullest information that may be asked for in Parliament as to every administrative detail of their proceedings; but they must respectfully decline to enter into any justification of their judicial decisions, or any explanation of the considerations and causes which led to those decisions. The Commissioners notice that it is implied in this Question that Colonel Bayley was removed from Donegal in consequence of his removal having been called for at a public meeting. The Commissioners have already given an unqualified contradiction to that allegation; they stated that they were not aware of any such public meeting as that alluded to having been held when they appointed Colonel Bayley to the Mayo Sub-Commission. I have given the whole of the statement, and I cannot add anything more.