HC Deb 14 March 1895 vol 31 cc1047-9
MR. P. FFRENCH (Wexford S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether he is aware that the tenants on Lord Temple-more's property have offered to purchase their holdings at 18 years' purchase if the landlord will first allow them to go into Court and get a judicial rent fixed, but that Lord Templemore has refused his tenants the usual reduction of 25 per cent., and threatened to distrain if they do not either pay up the full rents or buy at 18 years' purchase of same; and (2) whether he will refuse the forces of the Crown to assist in collecting these claims?


I understand the landlord has refused the offer of the tenants to purchase at 18 years on the valuation. His demand is for 18 years' purchase on the present rental. With respect to the concluding inquiry I can only refer the hon. gentleman to my reply to his similar question regarding the Conlan Estate.


I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that writs have been served on the Tintern Estate for rents and old arrears although tenants have for years back been allowed an abatement of 5s. in the pound. And, whether, as the arrears are from 20 to 40 years due, as the tenants have offered to pay their rents at the usual reduction, and as agricultural depression is greater now than at any previous time, he will refuse the forces of the Crown to the receiver to collect these rents and arrears.


I am glad to learn from a telegram received this morning that a settlement was arrived at on this property yesterday.


I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether he is aware that the tenants on the Conlan estate bid,£965 17s. 8d. more than the Norwich Union Insurance Company, to whom the estate was knocked down; that the Company commenced bidding at 14 years' purchase, and bid over the tenants step by step until the tenants bid 17 years' purchase; that the tenants were then told that they could have their holdings for 19 years' purchase, although the Company had not bid 17 years' purchase; that when the Company became the owners of the estate they demanded the full rent and arrears due, including the hanging gale, which had never been called for by the landlord, and which was due for half a century; and that the tenants were not satisfied to pay their rents at 30 per cent, on non-judicial rents and 15 percent. on judicial rents; (2) whether he is aware that the landlord allowed 22½ and 30 per cent, reductions; and (3) whether, in the face of the present unequalled depression of prices, if the Company do not accept the tenants' offer, namely, the rents at the reduction asked for, or 17 years' purchase of the rental, he will imitate the right honourable gentleman the Member for Bristol, when Chief Secretary for Ireland, by refusing the forces of the Crown to collect the rents?


I have no reason to doubt the accuracy, of the statements in the first paragraph, though, as I stated in reply to the hon. Gentleman's previous question of Tuesday last, the Registrar of the Land Judge's Court had informed me no official record was kept of offers which, in such transactions, have not been accepted. As to the second paragraph, I am informed by the police that in former years there was no abatement on judical rents, but from 15 to 20 per cent. on non-judicial rents. As regards the concluding paragraph, I can only express the hope that an amicable arrangement will be brought about between the parties, and legal proceedings in ejectment or otherwise thus obviated. The question, of affording protection to the Sheriff or his officers has not yet arisen, but my hon. Friend is doubtless aware that the Executive Government has but one alternative open to it in such cases.


asked whether, in view of the extraordinary discontent existing in this district over this subject, and in view of the fact that there was likely to be disturbance and possibly a breach of the peace, the right hon. Gentleman would not feel justified in making some representation to the Norwich Insurance Company as to the advisability of allowing those tenants to become owners of their own farms.


It is a very delicate mailer for the Executive to interfere in bargains of this kind. At the same time there can be no harm in my representing to the Norwich Insurance Company how the matter really stands.

MR. C. J. DARLING (Deptford)

asked whether, now that the right hon. Gentleman had been informed that there was likely to be a breach of the peace, he would see that there were plenty of police in that part of the country.


I disclaim the interpretation put on my acts by the hon. Member when I was Chief Secretary.


asked the Chief Secretary whether it was not the fact that the right hon. Member for West Bristol, in circumstances somewhat similar to those now under discussion, declared it to be his intention to put on pressure within the law.

No answer was given.

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