I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he can state the total number of estates, the number of tenants on those estates, and the net rental paid by these tenants which were in the Land Judges Court to which the 40th section of the Land Act of 1896 applied when the Act was passed; also the number of estates, the number of tenants on the estates, and the net rental paid by the tenants which had been disposed of by the Land Judge in accordance with the 40th section; and whether, considering the tardy rate of progress in applying the 40th section, the Government will endeavour to have these encumbered estates more rapidly dealt with?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
No statistics are at present available which would enable the Department of the Land Judge to give the information desired in the first paragraph, and in the existing pressure of public business in the Department I see no sufficient reason for requiring this statistical in- 1096 formation to be prepared. With regard to the second paragraph, it appears to me that the progress made in dealing with estates under section 40 of the Act of 1896 has been satisfactory. I would refer the honourable Member to my reply to the Question put by the honourable Member for Cork on Friday last, containing some particulars as to the extent of the operations already carried out under section 40. In addition to this, many agreements to purchase have been voluntarily arrived at between the parties interested in cases where the tenants would have been entitled to the benefits of section 40—agreements which, but for the existence of that section, might not have been arrived at at all.