HC Deb 03 April 1905 vol 144 cc123-4

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether his attention has been directed to a Report of the Comptroller and Auditor-General upon the account prepared under the provisions of the Military Works Acts, 1897, 1899, 1901, and 1903, in which it is stated that the charge under Head I., Defence Works, on page 3 of the account, includes a sum of £2,040, paid into the Supreme Court of Judicature in Ireland, in respect of the piece of land compulsorily acquired by the War Department which was valued on behalf of the War Office at £30, an amount which the Irish Valuation Commissioners considered to be fair and reasonable; where is this land situate; who is the owner; what was the necessity for proceedings under the Defence Act of 1860 to compel him to sell this land; and whether the War Office authorities have any explanation to make with reference to the comment of the Comptroller and Auditor-General that similar cases, in each of which the account has been largely in excess of the valuation, had come under the notice of his Department in the examination of the Account, 1904–5.


My attention has been drawn to this case. The land is at Ned Point, Buncrana, county Donegal. The person who claims the land, a Mr. Richardson, asked for £8,000, and as this was deemed very excessive and the site was essential for defence works, it became necessary to resort to compulsory purchase, under which a sum of £2,040 was ultimately awarded. Mr. Richardson has, however, been hitherto unable to prove his title. It is the case that the sums paid under compulsory purchase in Ireland are largely in excess of the valuation, and in this respect the Military Lands Acts have proved very unsatisfactory.