HC Deb 21 February 1888 vol 322 cc996-7
MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If, in granting the Return of evicted farms in Ireland before and since the passing of the Criminal Law and Procedure Amendment (Ireland) Act, he will exclude (or show) those which have been re-let to the evicted tenants themselves or with their goodwill; and, would there be any difficulty in exhibiting in the Return, where re-lettings to anybody have been effected, the former and present rentals to which the respective occupiers were and are liable, or any differences in the old and new tenures, such as the granting of leases, statutory terms, &c., or exemption from rates, &c.?


I think that the hon. and learned Gentleman is labouring under a misconception on account of an interruption which I made during the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) on Friday. I believe that the right hon. Gentleman himself is also labouring under the same misunderstanding, and I have written to him privately. I do not think that the information asked for can be given in the form of a Return; but if the hon. and learned Gentleman will put a Question on the Paper, I will give him, in the form of an answer, such information as I possess.


Did not the right hon. Gentleman state, at the time he answered a question of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, that he would give a Return showing the number of evicted farms at the time of the passing of the Coercion Act and subsequently? My point is that any such Return would be misleading, unless it shows how many of the evicted farms have been re-taken by the tenants themselves. Will the right hon. Gentleman state in what form it is proposed to enlighten the House on this point, which it is admitted is one of the material points in the working of the Coercion Act?


Information has been collected during the time of Earl Spencer, and since, giving a few of the derelict farms in Ireland; but I cannot hold out any hope of supplying the additional information asked for in the Question. If the hon. and learned Member will put down a Question I will give him an answer.


May I ask whether, in case I put down a Motion for such a Return, the right hon. Gentleman will undertake that the Government Whip will not block it?


I think I should be obliged to resist such a Motion as that, because I do not deem it a proper subject for a Return.