§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether it is a fact that an evicting force of many bailiffs and over 100 police men, under the command of County Inspector Hegel, proceeded on Thursday last to evict Jeremiah Keohane and family, of Car-hergariffe, County Cork, but were debarred from carrying out the eviction owing to the dangerous illness of one of the tenant's family; is he aware that the valuation of the holding is £82, whilst the rent is £110; that Mr. Keohane, being a leaseholder, served an originating notice to have a fair rent fixed immediately after the passing of the Land Act, 1887, but that, owing to delay in the Land Courts, the rent was not fixed until last December, and that meanwhile Captain Wheeler served the tenant with an eviction notice under the 7th section 1251 of the same Act, thereby breaking the tenant's title to holding; and whether, in view of the many cases of a similar character which have been brought under the notice of the Government, steps will be taken to protect the interests of the tenants either by legislation or other action on the part of the Government?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The Constabulary Authorities report that the forces protecting the sheriff and his bailiffs consisted of 40 police, and not 100, as stated in the question. The eviction was postponed in consequence of the illness of one of the tenant's sons. It appears that the man had three farms under a lease, the rents amounting in the aggregate to £109 10s., and the valuation to £82 5s. In respect of one of these farms only did he serve a notice to have a fair rent fixed on the passing of the Act of 1887. In March, 1889, he served a similar notice for the second of the farms, but he served no such notice in respect of the third. The tenancies were terminated as stated, but I am informed that at the time of the intended evictions the agent offered the tenant not to evict if he paid the amount due less 20 per cent., and also offered a permanent reduction at that rate on the annual rent, which, however, the tenant refused. As regards the inquiry in the last paragraph, the necessary legislation already exists. When the application to terminate the tenancies was before the Court, it was open to the man to apply for a postponement or suspension of the proceedings, on such terms and conditions as the Court might direct, until the termination of the proceedings on the application to fix judicial rents.
§ *MR. FLYNN
In view of the fact that evictions are now taking place in the case of tenants who applied two years ago to the Land Court to have fair rents fixed, and which cases have not yet been heard, cannot the Government introduce a short Act to prevent the evictions from being carried out until the cases have been heard?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
It is quite impossible to deal by an Act of Parliament with the case (that of the Ponsonby tenants) mentioned by the hon. Member.