HC Deb 17 May 1900 vol 83 cc421-2

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland on whose representations was Mr. Thomas Davidson, Sub-Commissioner, who was an official with a complete knowledge of the Ulster custom, removed from South Antrim, and replaced by persons with no such knowledge, and whose agrarian experience has been chiefly gained in the offices of land agents and landlords; is the Government aware that the Presbyterian and Protestant litigants strongly resent the removal of Sub-Commissioner Davidson at a time when he had given his decisions on a number of holdings which might be supposed to represent his views of present values; do the Land Commission preserve the letters sent to them (either individually or collectively) regarding appointments or removals; are these public documents; and do they minute conversations held with them affecting Sub-Commissioners; would the Government be prepared to give Sub-Commissioners an assurance that they will not, without a public investigation, remove them from their districts unless on consent; and what explanation was afforded Mr. Davidson as to the cause of his transfer.


In answer to the first paragraph, I would refer to my reply on Tuesday last to the question of the hon. Member for South Down. I have no information as to the second and third paragraphs. With regard to the fourth paragraph, the transfer of Assistant Commissioners is at the absolute discretion of the Land Commission, and the Government have no voice whatever in the matter. It would have been quite unusual to afford to Mr. Davidson any explanation such as suggested in the last paragraph, and none was given. See page 245 of this volume.


I shall call attention to this matter on the Estimates.