§ MR. J. E. ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)
asked the Chief Secretary to the 1422 Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the following paragraph in the Report of the Poor Relief (Ireland) Inquiry Commission, 1887, page 12:—It might be supposed that in these congested districts the majority of the occupiers are rated under £4, and are not liable, therefore, for the payment of poor rates. It was stated in evidence, however, that a custom prevails in some of these western unions of joining together a certain number of small occupiers, valued severally under £4, as tenant 'in Co.' on the rent roll. Thus, although they occupy distinct holdings, the aggregate value of the 'Co.' tenancy is raised to above £4, and the landlord is able to evade his liability for the entire of the poor rate which he would have to pay if the ratings were separate. "We found other cases, noticeably on the property of Lord Sligo, where no reduction in respect of poor rates was allowed in the rent to tenants above £4, and where the tenants valued below that amount were also obliged to pay all rates. This arrangement appears to be opposed to the principle of the Act of Parliament; and, although it is a fact that in some cases the rent has been reduced by the Land Commissioners in consequence, still, as rates have a tendency to rise in these years of depression, it is likely that the tenant, whose rent was reduced some years ago, will bear an undue share of public taxation;and, whether the Government propose to take any steps with a view of protecting the tenants from these alleged contraventions of law by certain landlords?
THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER SECRETARY (Colonel KING-BARMAN) (Kent, Isle of Thanet)
As my attention has been particularly called to this matter, the hon. Gentleman will allow me to answer it.
§ MR. J. E. ELLIS
I would remind the right hon. and gallant Gentleman that the Chief Secretary stated that when any question of policy arose he would himself answer.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
Where tenants in Ireland are rated under £4 the landlord cannot throw upon them the obligation of paying any portion of the poor rates, and if the landlord on any pretext attempts to contravene this provision, I am advised that the existing law is sufficient to protect the tenants; nor can the landlord evade his legal obligation by joining together a number 1423 of occupiers who are rated severally under £4.
MR. OONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
asked, whether the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was not aware that in Glenbeigh and other places the landlords had most shamefully evaded their legal obligations in this respect?
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
said, he was not aware that any such charge was made in the case of Glenbeigh. He was only aware of its having been made with regard to Galway, and, he believed, in some parts of County Mayo. He never heard of the matter before with regard to Glenbeigh; but he would inquire, and give the hon. Gentleman what information he could obtain.
§ MR. EDWARD HARRINGTON (Kerry, W.)
inquired, whether the right hon. and gallant Gentleman was not aware that the practice prevailed on the estates of Lord Bantry, Mr. Rowland Winn, and on several other estates in the South of Ireland; and, whether, as a landlord, he (Colonel King-Harman) did not know as a fact that the practice was common in Ireland?
§ MR. CONYBEARE
asked the Attorney General for Ireland, whether there were no means of bringing these landlords to justice, if it could be proved that they had been guilty of these illegal acts?
§ THE ATTOENEY GENERAL FOE IRELAND (Mr. HOLMES) (Dublin University)
replied that if the hon. Member would put him in possession of any circumstances which he thought would be a foundation for legal action, he would very carefully consider the statement put before him and would give an answer upon it; but he certainly could not answer an abstract question of this kind, of which no Notice had been given.
§ MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary, S.)
asked, whether the right hon. And learned Gentleman would be good enough to look over the records of the Local Government Board, and to see the Report which was made before the Commissioners in the case of——