§ MR. CAREW(for Mr. GILL) (Louth, S.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the fact that Mr. Justice Monroe, in the Land Judges' Court last week, having abated by 30 per cent the rents of the tenants on the Bomford Estate, in the County of Westmeath, and having been applied to by the tenants' counsel to wipe out all arrears of old rents due by said tenants, decided as follows:—There was not the slightest use in holding on to arrears on small holdings of this kind. He (Mr. Justice Monroe) would make an order that the year's rent of 1887 should be paid, less abatements of 30 per cent, or such abatements as the Land Commissioners might fix, before the 1st of May, and that all arrears should be wiped out;And, whether, in view of this judicial action, and of the great number of ejectment decrees obtained recently by landlords in Ireland for non-payment of arrears of rent, Her Majesty's Government will reconsider their decision not to deal with the arrears question by legislation this Session?
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that Question, I beg to ask him whether Mr. Justice Monroe and the other Judges in the Landed Estates Court have not this power of remitting the arrears on 1,500 estates in Ireland?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
In answer to the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, I believe there is a very large number of estates in the Landed Estates Court. I will not pledge myself to the exact number. In regard to the Question on the Paper, I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the report. Mr. Justice Monroe appears to have been of opinion that it was expedient to remit 851 the arrears, not on the ground that they were inequitable, but that they were irrecoverable. He was acting as owner, and many other owners have come to a similar conclusion; but I fail to see that this fact has any material bearing on the policy of the Government with respect to arrears.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE (Bradford, Central)
asked, had not the Judge referred to granted the application of the tenants, notwithstanding that the owners objected?