MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that a sum of £1,900 was, on the representations of Father Stephens, P.P., granted, through the Congested Districts Board, to Bridget Stephens, to enable her to purchase in the Land Judges Court portion of the estate of Mr. John Edward Tighe, at Coarsefield, in the congested district of Cloghermore, county Mayo; and that the tenants on this portion of the estate wished to become the purchasers of their holdings, and instructed Father Stephens, their parish priest, to take the necessary steps on their behalf; whether he is aware that the Mrs. Stephens, to whose credit this £1,900 was paid into Court on the 23rd of August, is a relative of the Reverend Father Stephens, and that there is much discontent amongst the tenants, who allege that they were deceived, and their homes purchased under false pretences over their heads and without their knowledge; whether he has received a memorial from the tenants; and whether, under the circumstances, he will 830 stay the issue of the £1,900 to Mrs. Stephens and investigate the case with the view of giving the tenants the option of purchasing their farms?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I am informed by the Registrar of the Land Judge's Court that on the 16th July, 1897, Mrs. Stephens was declared the purchaser of the lands referred to, and that she paid the purchase money into Court the following month. No advance out of the public funds was made either by the Land Commission or by the Congested Districts Board in respect of this transaction.