§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, What is the explanation of the delays in hearing fair rent cases in Ireland; is he aware that the landlords are taking advantage of this delay to serve eviction notices under Section 7 of last year's Act, for arrears accruing due since the originating notices were served, plus the previous half-year's rent, which destroys the tenant's right to go into the Land Court; can any steps be taken so that at least one Sub-Commission shall be appointed to operate in every county; will the Government compensate in any way tenants whose rights have been lost by these delays; have they seen the observations of Lord Chief Baron Palles, in a case of "Kilkelly v. Brennan," as to the complications that would arise unless the Executive took steps to expedite the hearing of land cases; and, how many fair rent notices have yet to be heard, and what is the average rate per month at which they are being disposed of? He would also ask what remedy the Government were going to apply?
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER SECRETARY (Colonel KING-HARMAN) (Kent, Isle of Thanet)
(who replied) said: The Land Commissioners inform me that there is no unnecessary delay in hearing fair rent cases, all the Sub-Commissioners being steadily at work in their various districts. They are not aware whether landlords are taking ad- 867 vantage, where fair rent applications are not disposed of, to serve eviction notices under Section 7 of last year's Act. But they apprehend that the service of such notice would not destroy the tenant's right to have a fair pent fixed if he should redeem. It is their practice not to dismiss an originating notice in cases where an eviction notice has been served, but to adjourn it pending the time for redemption. The Government are at present considering the question of increasing the number of Sub-Commissioners. They are not aware of any cases in which tenants have lost their rights through the non-hearing of their applications. They have not seen the observations attributed to the Lord Chief Baron. There are in all 58,839 fair rent applications now pending in the Court of the Land Commission, this number being mainly due to the Act of last Session admitting leaseholders and attracting a large accession of yearly tenants by reason of the provision which made the judicial rent run from the gale day after the application instead of after the order fixing the rent. The number of cases pending on August 1, 1887, was only 11,075. The average rate per month at which these cases are being disposed of is about 2,000.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
If that is the case, does it not follow that it will be a year and a-half before many of them are reached? I would like, under these circumstances, if the Land Commission have furnished the right hon. and gallant Gentleman with the information, an answer as to the relative number of Sub-Commissioners at present, and the number of cases as compared with what was done in 1884. Are there as many Sub-Commissioners now in operation as compared with 1881, when the Land Act was passed?
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
repeated that the Government were considering the question of appointing fresh Sub-Commissioners, and they were consulting with the Treasury on the subject. The matter would be disposed of as soon as possible.
§ MR. SHAW LEFEVRE (Bradford, Central)
How many new Sub-Commissioners have there been appointed since the Act of last year?
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
said, that as the Land Commissioners had denied that that they had absolutely dismissed any of these cases under Section 7, he begged to give Notice that on an early day, or on the consideration of the Vote—if it was taken at an early day—he would call attention to several cases, notably on the Mitchelstown Estate, and in the County of Louth, in which the Land Commission must be well aware that the fact of postponing the hearing of the fair rent applications has resulted in the tenants being evicted.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
May I ask the right hon. and gallant Gentleman how many such Commissions are working now?