§ MR. M'CARTAN (Down, South)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with reference to the eviction of the tenant Barr on the estate of the Lord Lieutenant, near Newtownards, whether he is aware that the eviction was carried out under the superintendence of his agent, Mr. Brownlow, J.P., at seven o'clock at night; whether Barr (nursing an infant) and five children were carried out and left in the snow; whether his sick wife was carried out and left lying on some straw in the snow, and all were afterwards placed in the workhouse cart and removed to the workhouse at Newtownards; whether, on the following day, Mr. Brownlow, J.P., procured some dynamite from a road contractor, and having unroofed Barr's house, then destroyed the walls with dynamite; whether this house had been built by the tenant, and without any contribution from the landlord; whether the tenant had offered to the agent £34 on the day on which the agent had agreed to accept £40 in satisfaction of all rent due, and also promised to pay the balance in a few days; whether a few days subsequently Barr offered the full amount agreed upon, but the agent refused to accept same unless Barr would sell the farm and give up his home; 951 whether the rent due was the old rent and not the judicial rent; and, whether, considering the hardships of this case, and of many similar cases in Ireland, he will not advise the Government to bring in a Bill to deal with arrears of rent?
§ * MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I am informed that the agent with the sheriffs officers arrived at Barr's house at 12, noon, and were about to proceed with the eviction whereupon Barr's wife feigned illness. The agent considered it advisable to have the opinion of a doctor before proceeding with the eviction. This occasioned a delay of some two hours and a half. The doctor having pronounced the woman to have nothing wrong with her the eviction was then proceeded with, the agent receiving final possession at seven o'clock in the evening. It is the case that the man Barr, who is in good health, and is now earning £1 a week in Belfast had to be carried out, as he refused to leave, and likewise his wife, but she was not sick as is alleged. This family was not removed to the workhouse in the workhouse cart. A covered conveyance was provided by the agent, but the family would not use it. On the following day the agent did render the house uninhabitable. The house had not been built by Barr, but was on the farm when he came into possession ten years ago, and had been allowed by him to fall into complete decay. The rent due was the old rent. I have already replied to the remaining portion of the Question, but as the hon. Member seems to desire it, I have no objection to repeat that reply, viz.:—The circumstances under which Mr. Brownlow acted were, I am informed, of the following character. Nearly five years ago (April, 1884) proceedings were taken for two years' rent, but owing to illness in the family the proceedings were stopped, and Lord Londonderry gave the tenant a donation of £5. Two years afterwards an ejectment was taken out for three years' rent, but withdrawn on a promise from the tenant to sell his farm. A year afterwards a second ejectment was issued for four years' rent, but further proceedings were delayed on account of repeated promises by the tenant to sell. The agent then offered to take £40 in full discharge of the arrears of £79 9s. 0d. due, on the ex- 952 press condition that the tenant was to sell the farm. The tenant subsequently offered the £40, but would not fulfil the condition as to sale. A warrant for possession was obtained on 13th December, 1888, but the agent consented to stay execution for a month, but as a matter of fact waited until the warrant was about to expire. It is evident that no Arrears Bill would meet a case of this kind.
§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
I wish to ask whether the conveyance to which the right hon. Gentleman refers was not the cart which was used for the conveyance of fever and small-pox patients; whether the house the Lord Lieutenant blew up with dynamite was not built by the tenants; and whether when Barr offered the full amount the condition of its acceptance was not that the man should leave the farm?
§ * MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I know nothing about the cart beyond what I have stated, and I very much doubt whether Barr was entitled to the house. As to the remaining question, I have no knowledge of the circumstances mentioned.
§ MR. M'CARTAN
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the rent due was the old rent and not the fair rent?
§ * MR. A. J. BALFOUR
So far as I understand it the rent was the old rent.