§ MR. MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant or Ireland whether he is aware that by the recent rules issued by the Irish Land Commission under the provisions of The Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, it is prescribed that, on lodging the notice to fix a fair rent, such application shall be accompanied by an extract front the Valuation Books showing for the year referred to in The Local Government (Ireland) Act, 1898, as the standard financial year the valua 1306 tion of the agricultural lands and the hereditaments comprised in the holding, such extract to be certified by the proper officer of the Valuation Office, Dublin; whether he is aware that Mr. Ralph Hall Reid, solicitor, in answer to, an application on behalf of clients for such certificates made on 24th April, received on 26th April from the chief clerk of the General Valuation Office, Dublin, a lithographed form with the signature of the chief clerk in lithograph stating that in consequence of the great number of applications for standard year certificates, it would not be possible to supply those asked for till "about ten days or a fortnight from the present time"; and whether, having regard to the fact that this delay on the part of the officials of a Government Office will postpone the service of the notices to fix a fair rent till after the 1st May, and consequently deprive tenants of a fair rent for a further period of half a year, any steps will he taken to place the tenants who, through default in the machinery of the Valuation Office, have not obtained the standard year certificate, in as good a position as if they had obtained such certificate on the, day of their application for the same, and had lodged the notice to fix a fair rent on that day?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. G. W. BALFOUR, Leeds, Central)
The rule referred to in the first paragraph was issued on the 23rd March last, and relates to originating notices to fix fair rents lodged after the appointed day. Owing to the pressure of work on the staff of the Valuation Office it was not found possible to comply in every case before the 1st May with the numerous applications received for certificates of valuation for the standard year. With a view, however, to prevent any hardship arising in such cases, the Land Commissioners have already directed that applications to fix fair rents should, for the present, be received though unaccompanied by the certificates of valuation, and that, provided the certificates are furnished within a reasonable time, and no errors or discrepancies are found to exist between the certificate and the particulars in the originating notice which the parties are unable to remove, the case should be listed in due course.