HC Deb 23 July 1896 vol 43 cc566-8

"Where a tenant of a holding to which, but for the eviction of such tenant or of his predecessor in title from such holding, the law applicable to present tenancies as amended by this Act would apply has been or shall be reinstated, or where a tenant of a holding, or his predecessor in title, who was in occupation of such holding as tenant before the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eighty three, and whose tenancy was before that date or has since been determined otherwise than by eviction, continues in occupation of his holding, then in each of such cases the tenant shall be deemed to be a present tenant notwithstanding anything contained in Section 57 of the Land Law (Ireland) Act, 1881, and the said section shall be and the same is here by modified accordingly."


said he could not accept this clause. A landlord might reinstate a tenant on the express understanding that he was to be a future tenant, and it would obviously be a hardship that the law should step in and say that he was to be a present tenant. There was a danger, if they enacted that a tenant was always to be reinstated as a present tenant, that the landlord might say that in these circumstances he would not reinstate at all. It was a reasonable thing that a landlord should have power to make a future tenant into a present tenant, whether he had previously occupied the holding or not, and the Government were prepared to accept a new clause to that effect.


said there was one case of hardship which had nothing to do with eviction. It was the case of the tenant whose lease dropped before the 22nd of August 1881, and whose landlord delayed in making him a further lease until the period under which he could be made a present tenant—January 1st 1883—had elapsed. The case was brought forward in 1887 and a section to provide for it was put in, but under the pressure of the landlord party, the present Judge Gibson, who was then Attorney General, took these words, which made the clause nugatory:— Provided that the Court, having regard to all the facts of the case, is of opinion that the making of such lease was deferred with the object of defeating the provisions of the Land Act of 1881. Although they knew, as a matter of fact that the intention was to defeat the Act, it was found impossible to dive into the sanctuary of any man's mind, and they had, therefore, been unable to bring the necessary proof that this was the object of the delay. He would suggest that as Judge O'Hagan decided that the delay or defeat should be something active and not passive, in the Repeal Section, the Government might put in a proviso repealing the last few lines of the section of the Act of 1887 which he had quoted.


observed that it would be a serious blot if this Bill became law without something being done for the future tenants. The Chief Secretary had said that the number of such tenants had been exaggerated, but he could assure the right hon. Gentleman, from his experience in his own constituency of South Leitrim that there was no exaggeration about the matter, hundreds of families having been turned into future tenants and deprived absolutely of any benefits under the Land Acts. This had been especially the case where the people happened to live in backward districts, and were ignorant of the rights conferred upon them by the Land Act of 1881. He urged the right hon. Gentleman to adopt, at any rate, some Amendment which would give these people the right to go into Court and have a fair rent fixed.


stated that a large number of these future tenancies existed in county Kerry, and he urged that some Amendment should be adopted with a view of admitting them to the benefits of the Land Acts.

Clause negatived.


had the following new clause on the Paper:—