§ MR. BIGGAR
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, If he will state the estimated acreage which will be reclaimed when the Clare Slob lands works are finished, and the basis of calculation upon which it is assumed that such reclaimed land will be worth over £70,000; if the Clare Slob Land Reclamation Company only expended the £92,000 borrowed from the Government for the purpose, and if they expended money derived from other sources, such creditors are to be taken as having suffered a dead loss, owing to the Treasury 1898 having a first claim on the property; whether it can now be stated upon whose recommendation the original loan was made to the so-called "Clare Slob Land Reclamation Company," and what was the nature of the securities given, and also their present value; if the Herbert Charles Drinkwater, who obtained this loan, is the same person who has recently been returned for trial by the Manchester stipendiary for obtaining large sums of money from private individuals on bogus securities; and, whether any inquiries had been made into the antecedents of Drinkwater by the Irish Government to satisfy themselves that he was a person fit to be entrusted with an enormous loan?
§ MR. HIBBERT
About 1,300 acres will be reclaimed, and they are valued at nearly £55 an acre. The Company expended, besides the Government loans, £10,000 of their own and £8,000 belonging to private persons. The loan was made after full inquiry by competent professional authority, the securities being a mortgage on the lands reclaimed and a bond of the Directors of the Company. It is at present impossible to get a sufficiently trustworthy estimate of the value of these securities. None of this money was advanced to the Drinkwater referred to, who was merely a contractor, and his services were dispensed with last May.