§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Fermanagh, N.)
asked the Chief Secretary 556 to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the eviction of sixty-two persons, being the wives and children of thirteen small farmers on the estates of the Marquess of Ely in Wexford County; whether it is true that these people have been driven from their holdings into the workhouse, simply because they were unable, through bad seasons and fall of prices, to pay the rent demanded by the landlord; whether it is true that large numbers of farmers have been served with processes of ejectment under similar circumstances in Wexford County; and, whether it is the intention of the Government to take any steps to interfere in some way to prevent evictions during the coming winter?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH) (Bristol, W.)
The persons referred to, who were 49 in number, were not the occupiers of agricultural holdings, as the hon. Member appears to suppose. They were the tenants merely of small houses, held at rents which, I am informed, were not excessive. They obtained other houses in the town of Fethard; but were compelled by the influence of the local branch of the National League to leave them and go to the workhouse. I believe it is the case that writs have been served on a number of farmers in the county of Wexford. We cannot prevent evictions; it is our duty to protect the officers of the law in its execution. I have already deprecated harsh action on the part of landlords.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour)
I beg to give Notice that I shall ask the right hon. Gentleman—[Cries of "Order!"]
§ MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member must give Notice of his Question to the Clerk at the Table in the usual way.
§ MR. T. C. HARRINGTON
Perhaps the House will allow me to ask the Chief Secretary one Question, which I am sure he can answer now. It is, whether it is not the fact that the local branch of the National League have nothing whatever to do with the tenure of houses in towns; and whether the action which the right hon. Gentleman has referred to has not actually been taken by a 557 House League, and not by the National League?
§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
If I have done injustice to the National League by mistaking its action, for that of a House League I should be very sorry; but the action of a House League is at least equally objectionable.