HC Deb 23 July 1896 vol 43 cc564-6

"So much of the Land Law (Ireland) Act, 1881, as gives to a landlord a right of pre-emption on the sale of a holding by the tenant shall be and the same is hereby repealed."

The acceptance of this clause would tend to remove a very grievous blot in the Land Act of 1881. It would secure that, in certain estates in Ireland, where some friction existed between landlord and tenant, the tenant would be able to go into the market and sell, as he used to do on all well-managed estates. It would compel a few unreasonable men, who having some small difference with their tenants would not give them the right to sell, to do what the great majority of landlords did.


said he was afraid they could not accept this new clause. It was perfectly true that the right of pre-emption by the landlord was not used in a very large number of cases, but he thought it was also true, to some extent, that the existence of this right, which was very reasonable in itself, somewhat checked the excessively high prices which were now given for tenant right. So long as the right of free sale existed unchecked, there would always be a danger that although the power of the landlord to exact full competition rent was abolished, the evil would reproduce itself whenever a sale took place, inasmuch as the incoming tenant would pay a full competition rent for the tenant right. It was generally acknowledged that this right of preemption did exercise a check, perhaps not to a very large extent, upon these very high prices paid for tenant right, and as such they thought these reasonable rights should be maintained.


asked the Government, by way of compromise, at all events to limit the landlord's right of pre-emption to bonâ fide sales of farms.


said it would be calamitous if this Amendment were not accepted.

MR. J. J. SHEE (Waterford, W.)

mentioned one extraordinary anomaly in connection with this right of the landlord. In the case of a marriage settlement it had been decided that a transfer from father or mother to son or daughter on the occasion of marriage required the usual notice to the landlord, and that the landlord had the right to buy and prevent the transfer under the marriage settlement. That had been availed of in some cases by the landlord to grab the farm of a tenant who merely desired to make a settlement in the interest of son or daughter.


urged that the right of pre-emption had not worked in the way originally intended, particularly in regard to family settlements.


agreed that it was unreasonable that this right of pre-emption should exist in the case of marriage settlements. The Government were prepared to consider the matter and to bring up a clause on Report excluding cases of the kind.

* MR. DOOGAN (Tyrone, E.)

cited the case of a tenant in Ulster, who, on selling his farm, gave the necessary notice to the landlord. The landlord then went into Court and succeeded in his contention to have "true value" fixed. He broke up the sale which had taken place, paid the vendor the Court price, which was about half what he had already sold at, and then resold to the original purchaser at the same price which he had agreed to pay the outgoing tenant. So that, under this provision of "pre-emption," he was enabled to set aside the Ulster custom of free sale and confiscate a large amount of the tenant's own improvements.


made an appeal to the Committee to come to a decision. They had to deal with the Irish Estimates to-morrow.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

MR. CLANCY (for MR. HAYDEN) moved the following clause:—