HC Deb 21 May 1883 vol 279 cc570-1

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether he has observed that practically the whole of the applications to the Irish Land Commission under the Arrears Act had been lodged before the 31st December 1882, the number of applications received up to that date having been 45,703 joint and 40,382 separate, whilst the number of additional applications up to the 31st of March, the date of the latest available return, was only 136 joint and 55 separate; whether, notwithstanding the length of time that has elapsed since the applications practically ceased, there still remained at the date of the last return an enormous arrear of business, there being yet about 50,000 holdings to be investigated, the orders for payment reaching only to three-eighths of the estimated amount involved in the applications, and the amount actually paid £122,224, being only about one-seventh of the estimated amount involved, £808,502; whether he has observed a Note to the Return of Applications up to the 30th November last, from which it appears that 14,271 of separate applications had then been investigated by the proper official persons, and how it happened that four months later, namely, on the 31st of March, orders for payment had only been made in 6,392 of these separate applications (and payments made in less than half as many), leaving 53,062 holdings the subject of joint applications, and 34,045 holdings the subject of separate applications, still remaining to be dealt with by the Commission; and, whether anything can be done to expedite the discharge of the arrears, and by what date the Commission expect to be able to bring to a close their business under the Arrears Act?


Sir, it is the case that the great bulk of the applications were received before the end of last year. The hon. Member for Longford is, how- ever, mistaken in referring to the March Return as the latest available in connection with this subject. The Return for April was laid on the Table of this House on the 7th of May, and shows a substantial rate of progress, which, I understand from the Land Commissioners, has been sustained during the present month. As far as I can learn, up to the 12th of this month, orders for payment have actually been made in upwards of 85,000 cases, or nearly two-thirds of the whole number to be disposed of. Three hundred and eighty-four thousand pounds had been paid on the 12th of May; and payments are being made at the rate of £10,000 a-day; which is, surely, a fair rate of progress. The Commissioners anticipate that by the end of next month almost all the applications will have been dealt with; but they cannot, at present, fix a date upon which they will be able to bring their business to a close.