§ MR. M. J. KENNY (Tyrone, Mid)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If he can state how many applications have been made by purchasers of glebe lands in Ireland pursuant of the 23rd section of the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, 1885, to the Irish Land Commission, and if he can state the principal sum upon which the reduced rate of interest therein specified is now payable; if he can state the amount of outstanding purchase-money and interest now in arrears on account of glebe lands; if he is aware that sub-section 3 of section 23 of the above Act, which necessitates the payment in full of all interest on simple mortgage debts and all instalments due upon debts secured by an "instalment mortgage" before an order for the re-auction of the rate of interest on the amount remaining due can be made, renders it impossible for the greater 164 portion of glebe purchasers to avail themselves of the advantages provided in the Act; if the Church surplus money, voted by Parliament for the relief of ordinary tenants under "The Arrears of Rent (Ireland) Act, 1882," was derived in part from the payments of glebe purchasers who have themselves received no corresponding relief; and, whether Her Majesty's Government is prepared to give effect to the claims of the glebe purchasers by cancelling all sums outstanding and over six months in arrears, and thus allowing them to partake of the benefit of reduced annual payments provided by Parliament?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Sir MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH) (Bristol, W.)
Seven hundred and forty applications have been received from instalment mortgagors for the advantages provided by the 23rd section; but in 85 of these cases the necessary conditions as to payment of arrears had not been complied with. In 1,132 cases the interest on "simple mortgages" has been reduced from 4 to 3⅛ per cent. In 362 cases of this kind the reduction has been postponed on account of the non-payment of arrears as required by the Act. The principal sum on which the reduced rate of interest is now payable is £300,213. The total arrear on March 31 last was £40,963. It is a mistake to suppose that, as alleged in the Question, the conditions laid down by the Act render it impossible for the greater portion of glebe purchasers to avail themselves of its advantages. The records of the Land Commission show that 597 out of 2,834, or about one in five of the glebe purchasers, are so affected. The sum borrowed under the Arrears Act was secured on the Church revenue, which is only to a small extent derived from payments by purchasers under the Church Act. The proposal to cancel arrears due by the glebe purchasers would not, I think, be fair to those who have paid their instalments; but I have already promised to look into this question after the end of the Session, and I will certainly endeavour to do so.