§ MR. STANLEY LEIGHTON (Shropshire, Oswestry)
asked Mr. Solicitor General for Ireland, Whether the tithe rent-charge in Ireland, formerly the property of the Church, is now commuted into a fixed money payment, instead of fluctuating with the rise and fall of the cereals; whether the amount fixed upon 1826 is the par value of the tithe rent-charge at the time of the original commutation; whether the number of years' purchase at which the tithe-rent charge can be redeemed has been fixed by Act of Parliament at 22½ years; whether such redemption is compulsory in cases of sale under Lord Ashbourne's Act; and, whether it has been found necessary by the Government to make any general abatement of tithe rent-charge during the recent collapse of agricultural values?
§ MR. H. GARDNER (Essex, Saffron Walden)
said, he would at the same time ask a Question of which he had given private Notice—namely, whether the tithe in Ireland was not commuted at 75; whether the average of tithe rent-charge in Ireland was 9d. in the £1, whereas in England it might be roughly estimated at a minimum of 4s. in the £1; and whether, notwithstanding its being 9d. in the £1, the Irish landlords at the present moment complained of it as an excessive charge.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. MADDEN) (Dublin University)
The tithe rent-charge referred to in the Question, where it has not been merged under the provisions of the Irish Church Acts, has been fixed in amount by the 6th section of the Irish Church Amendment Act, 1872. I presume, from the second paragraph of his Question, that the hon. Member desires to know at what date the amount of tithe rent-charge became permanently fixed. This date is the 1st of November, 1871, and the tithe rent-charge payable at that date is now the fixed charge upon the lands. My answer to the third paragraph is in the affirmative. As to the fourth paragraph there is no statutory requirement; but the Land Purchase Commissioners, in practice, require tithe rent-charge to be redeemed in cases of sales under Lord Ashbourne's Act. No such abatement as that referred to in the concluding paragraph of the Question has been made. With reference to the Question of the hon. Gentleman opposite, I must ask him to place his Question on the Paper, as I cannot state, without Notice, what the figures exactly are.