HC Deb 15 February 1898 vol 53 cc626-8

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether the Land Commission have, in the county of Cork, adopted the practice of having fair rents fixed by one lay Sub-Commissioner; whether this practice is confined to the county Cork or prevails generally; whether appeals from a single Sub-Commissioner are more numerous than when the case is heard by two Commissioners; whether the proportion of cases in which the fair rent is varied on appeal is larger when it is fixed by one Sub-Commissioner than when it is fixed by two; what the object of having only one Sub-Commissioner is; and whether, in view of the fact that both landlord and tenant strongly object to the practice of having only one Sub-Commissioner, the Land Commission will now revert to their former practice of having two lay Commissioners to hear and inspect in every case?


I have referred this Question to the Land Commissioners, who report to me to the following effect:—The Sub-Commission at present working in the county Cork consists of one legal and one lay Assistant-Commissioner. The practice is not confined to Cork; there are a number of Sub-Commissioners similarly constituted at work in various other districts. The Commissioners are not aware that the facts are as alleged in the third and fourth paragraphs. Though they are inclined to think the facts, if ascertained, would not support the inference suggested, they have not considered it necessary to have their numerous appeal files examined for the purpose, as they believe such a test would have little bearing on the Question raised. The object of having only one lay Assistant-Commissioner attached to a Sub-Commission is to avoid waste of public money whenever the Land Commissioners consider the economy can be effected without detriment to the efficiency of the tribunal. They are thus enabled to distribute the number of outstanding cases to be dealt with more equally, than otherwise would be possible. The Commissioners are not aware that the majority of landlords and tenants object to the practice of having only one lay Assistant Commissioner attached to each Sub-Commission.


I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he will state the number of fair rent applications from County Cork lodged with or transferred to the Land Commission and still unheard, and how long ago the first of such applications was lodged; how many of such fair rent applications lodged in the year 1896 are still unheard; how many of such applications were lodged or transferred in the year 1887; how many were disposed of by the Sub-Commission in 1887; and how many lay Sub-Commissioners were assigned to the work of fixing fair rents in County Cork in the year 1887?


There are at present 780 applications to fix fair rents from the County Cork still awaiting hearing. The case longest outstanding is one in which the application was received in September, 1896. Of such fair rent applications received in the year 1896, 84 cases are still undisposed of; 17 of these cases have already been listed for hearing, but were adjourned for various reasons, the remainder are mainly from Unions for which the list will be issued to follow the present list for County Cork. There are 591 of such applications received in the year 1897 (not 1887 as stated, apparently in error, in the Question), over 400 of which were received during the last six months of the year. There were 255 cases disposed of during that year. There was one lay Assistant-Commissioner assigned to the work of fixing fair rents in the County Cork in 1897.