§ MR. SHEEHY (Galway, S.)
asked Mr. Solicitor General for Ireland, Whether tenants under £4 valuation who have purchased under Lord Ashbourne's Act can be sued for rates which became due previous to the confirmation by the Land Commission of the purchase scheme; did Lord Ashbourne's Act contemplate payment by such tenants of arrears of poor rates; what are the powers of Guardians to recover arrears of rates from tenants under £4 valuation; and, whether it is the duty of the 1122 Guardians to exhaust the means at their disposal to recover the rates from the landlord in such cases before suing the occupier?
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. MADDEN) (Dublin University)
The occupier for the time being of any land may be compelled to pay the poor rate as soon as it is four months in arrear. If the valuation of the land is not more than £4, the occupier, if compelled to pay, may recover the whole amount from the lessor of the land by civil bill, or he may deduct it from his rent, if he is liable to pay a rent. Lord Ashbourne's Act does not affect the question. The person in actual occupation of land can be equally sued by the Guardians whether he is a tenant or a purchaser, and in either case he can recover from the person ultimately liable. The Board of Guardians are by law entitled to sue either the lessor or the occupier of land. Where the lessor is ultimately liable it is, I am informed, the usual practice to use all reasonable endeavour to compel him to pay before resorting to the occupier. The mode of enforcing payment is either by distress, which, of course, only affects the occupier, or by civil bill, which is available against either lessor or occupier.