HC Deb 01 April 1897 vol 48 cc266-9

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland when the case of Adams v. Dunseath was heard on the second statutory application, and what was the result?


The application to fix a fair rent for a second statutory term in this case was heard on February 10th, and it is expected that the decision will be announced next week.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman could explain how it was that these gentlemen had taken two months to make up their minds in reference to this case.


No, Sir. I am unable to give any explanation on the subject.

MR. R. MCGHEE (Louth, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he will make inquiries as to the correspondence which has passed between William Livingstone, of Annsborough House, Lurgan, and the Land Commission respecting the purchase of a farm of land on the estate of Mary Leney, in the town-land of Drumnakelly, conveyed by a vesting order as 30a. 2r. 10p. by the Land Commission; whether he is aware that, on a survey being made since by a highly qualified surveyor, the farm has been found to contain only 29a. 2r. 5p. 0r 1a. 0r. 5p. less than Mr. Livingstone has been charged for as conveyed to him; and whether he will communicate with the Land Commission with the view of having Mr. Livingstone recouped out of the balance of the purchase money still in the hands of the Land Commission?


An agreement for purchase of the holding referred to was signed by Mary Livingstone who subsequently conveyed her interest to William Livingstone. The agreement was for the purchase of the holding therein described as containing 30a. 2r. l0p. The Land Commission Inspector reported that the area appeared correct and the boundaries correctly marked on the map, and the holding was accordingly described in the vesting order as containing 30a. 2r. 10p. or thereabouts. The Land Commission has no reason to believe that this description is inaccurate, but it should be borne in mind that what is vested in the purchaser is the holding as in the occupation of the purchasing tenant. What was agreed to be purchased was the holding; the purchase money was arrived at by agreement between the parties, and would not be affected by such an error in the description of the area, if such had been made. The holding which he contracted to buy has been vested in the purchaser, and he does not appear to have suffered any injury for which he should be recouped.

MR. M. MCCARTAN (Down, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware of the important question as to the Ulster custom raised by Mr. Hume, B.L., before the Chief Land Commission at its recent sitting in Belfast, as published in the Belfast papers of Saturday last: whether the Sub-Commissioners and Court valuers have been in the habit of making no allowance in rent in respect of rights under the Ulster custon over and above the exemptions given for improvements made by the tenant: and whether considering this serious infringement of the Ulster custom, some steps will be taken to protect the tenant farmers of Ulster in the full enjoyment of that custom which Parliament has already' recognised as their light?


Questions as to allowance from rent in respect of the Ulster Tenant-right custom were raised in several cases before the Land Commission at their recent sittings at Armagh and Belfast. The questions referred to were so raised on the re-hearing of cases by way of appeal from the decisions of Sub-Commission Courts. Judgment has not yet been given and the Land Commission are unable to make any statement in reference to these cases which are still sub judice


May I ask if the right hon. Gentleman is aware that there is not a single Ulster man a member of that Sub-Commission?


That does not arise out of the Question.


I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether, considering that according to the recent Return it appears that out of 73 Lay Sub-Commissioners in connection with the Irish Land Commissioners, 43 of them have been appointed by the present Government temporarily only, and that their period of appointment will expire on the 31st December next, he will make a statement to prevent them from being in any way influenced against the tenants in their decisions by reason of their present appointment being only temporary?


I altogether decline to accept the assumption made in the question that these Assistant Commissioners will be influenced against the tenants by reason of their present appointment being only temporary.


I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware of the feeling of deep dissatisfaction prevailing among the farmers of the North of Ireland, owing to the insufficiency of the reductions of rent for the second statutory term given by the Sub-Commissions now administering the fair rent provisions of the Land Acts there?


I am aware that there are complaints amongst, the tenant-farmers in the North of Ireland that the rents are not being sufficiently reduced for the second statutory term. There are corresponding complaints amongst the landlords that the reductions are too great. [Cheers.]

MR. P. FFRENCH (Wexford)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether he is aware that out of 60 cases of appeal by the landlords on the Colclough and other estates in Wexford, the rents fixed by the Sub-Commissioners were nearly all increased; and (2) will the schedules to be filled by the Chief Commissioners under the new Land Act, showing the ground of increase in each case, be available for inspection; and how can they be obtained?


It is the fact, I am informed, that nearly all the rents referred to in the first paragraph were increased by the Land Commission. The Schedules under Section 1, Sub-section 1, of the Act of 1896, are being prepared in these cases and will shortly be ready. Copies may be obtained in the ordinary way.


I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland how many estates have so far been referred by the Land Judge to the Land Commission for valuation under section 40 of the recent Land Act; whether the valuation by the Land Commission is made by persons appointed as Sub-Commissioners, and whether by one or by two; how many Sub-Commissioners the Land Commission have at their disposal for this work; whether Sub-Commissioners are withdrawn for the purpose from the work of fixing fair rents; and whether the Land Commission propose to make arrangements to allocate Sub-Commissioners for this special work?


Fourteen estates have, so far, been referred to the Land Commission by the Land judge under Section 40 of the Act of 1896. The holdings in all cases under the Land Purchase Acts, as well as eases coining under Section 40, are inspected and valued by the Resident Inspector or by one Assistant Commissioner out of a number of eight who are now employed on this work. Two of these Assistant Commissioners were recently withdrawn from fair-rent work, their places in the latter department being filled. The six remaining Assistant Commissioners have not been employed on fair-rent work for some years past.