§ MR. M'CARTAN (Down, S.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to a Resolution passed 733 at a meeting of the Newtownards Farmers' Association, held in the Ulster Hall, Newtownards, on the 2nd instant, with Mr. Hugh Ferguson, Chairman of the Newtownards Board of Guardians, presiding, complaining of the difficulty in getting fair rents fixed by the Sub-Commissioners and the exaction of the old rents by the landlords; whether he is aware that Mr. Ferguson, the Chairman, is a tenant of the Lord Lieutenant, and, though entitled to the benefit of the fair rent from May, 1887, has been threatened with a writ of summons if the old rent, besides 10.s. costs, be not paid forthwith to the solicitors for His Excellency; and, whether he will cause some relief to be given to such tenants pending the hearing of their fair rent applications?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
I have not seen the Resolution mentioned, nor have I any information as to the circumstances of Mr. Ferguson. As, however, I have already pointed out, the Land Act of last Session protects a tenant from loss who may be required to pay the old rent pending the fixing of a judicial rent, inasmuch as the new rent becomes retrospective; and should it be less than the old rent, the tenant is empowered to deduct from the next payment any previous over-payment he may have made.