HC Deb 28 July 1896 vol 43 cc840-3

"No advance under the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, 1891, shall be made to a tenant for the purpose of enabling him to purchase mines, fishery or sporting rights where such rights have been reserved to the landlord by order of the court when fixing a fair rent, bat any such tenant shall have the right to have conveyed to him in the vesting order the fishery and sporting rights on payment of such amount to the court as the court may determine to be the fair value of such rights, and if not so purchased by such tenant the fishery and sporting rights of the holding shall vest in the Land Commission to be held or disposed of in such manner as the court may determine. AH mines and mineral rights shall vest in the Land Commission.

Provided that all moneys received by the Land Commission on account of the sale or letting of mines, fishing or sporting rights shall he placed to the credit of the Guarantee Fund."

It would be admitted that mines, fisheries and game were amongst the elements of wealth of a country; and it was because those elements of wealth were becoming extinct in Ireland as land purchase developed, and were likely to be extinguished altogether, if something were not done to save them, that he moved his Amendment. The clause only dealt with rights which were absolutely excluded from the tenant by law when he had a fair rent fixed. They were reserved to the landlord. But when a purchase transaction was completed, those rights of mines, sporting and fishing were made over to the tenant. The result was that the sporting rights of an estate which were valuable when held by the landlord in the concrete or the whole, disappeared when the estate was divided amongst several tenant purchasers. The tenants were unable themselves to preserve those rights. In one case the tenants begged him to take over the sporting rights for nothing, but he could not do it because there was no power, and the result was that game was disappearing against the tenants' own wishes. He did not consider that the tenant should have handed over to him when he made a purchase valuable mining rights. He thought those rights should be retained by the State, so that when prosperity smiled on Ireland, and there was a demand for quarries and mines, the State would be possessed of a valuable property. Then, in regard to fishing rights, it happened that when an estate, through which a river flowed, was sold, the Land Commission vested in each tenant his own portion of the river. That river might be worth thousands of pounds if preserved, but the tenants could not preserve it, and the result was that a national property disappeared which, if preserved as a whole, would command a good round sum, would give employment, and would bring money into the district. He knew a river on an estate which might go into the Encumbered Estates Court. At the mouth of the river were two different tenants, one at each side. Forced sale would thus destroy the "several" fishery. With regard to sporting rights, there were gentlemen taking part in demonstrations and meetings to promote the attraction of capital to Ireland, and, above all, to draw attention to the great advantages offered by the natural capabilities of Ireland in regard to sport. But what was the use of all that if, on the other hand, they were killing all possibility of it? This was a matter which ought to have received more attention than it had. He admitted that they could not have sport without the co-operation, and the willing co-operation, of the tenants. Unless some such clause as he proposed were put in, every operation of purchase was doing an injury to Ireland, and was injuring the elements of wealth that exist.


sympathised with what he conceived to be the object of his hon. Friend, but he did not think the proposals he had made were either practicable or consistent with provisions already in the Bill. He saw great difficulties in connection with the whole question of sporting rights, and in any case He did not think it was the proper way of dealing with them to vest those rights in the Land Commission, and depriving the landlord of any power of obtaining them for himself, and leaving the Land Commission to be the body which should be intrusted to let sporting rights all over Ireland.

MR. P. J. POWER (Waterford, E.)

expressed satisfaction that the hon. and gallant Gentleman had made use of one expression, namely, that you could not have sport in Ireland or any other country without the co-operation of the occupiers. ["Hear, hear!"] He regretted to say that was not a view always shared in in his part of Ireland, because he remembered very well it was not observed by the old Marquess of Waterford, for he had seen the Curraghmore Hunt followed by six or eight cartloads of police. The Irish were a sport-loving people, and if the landlords treated them with moderation the people would co-operate with them in promoting sport in that country.


suggested to the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Great Yarmouth, that he and his friends should offer inducements to the tenants to take part in sport, and give them a reasonable chance of showing they took an interest in it.

Clause negatived.

MR. J. J. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.) moved the following new clause:—