HC Deb 20 July 1905 vol 149 cc1394-5
MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the estate of Henry J. McFarlane, which has been in the Land Judge's Court for twenty-five years past, was transferred to Mr. Justice Meredith by the present Land Judge on account of the personal relations which Mr. Justice Ross had with the matter; that Mrs. Ross has since 1900 prevented the sale to the tenants taking place because she could not secure the entire sporting rights, and that Mr. Justice Meredith more than a year ago made an order directing the solicitor having carriage to put up the sporting rights as a separate lot, which order was upheld by the Court of Appeal, and that since then nothing has be n done; and whether, seeing that five-sixths of the holdings on this estate are under £5 valuation, and that the lands over which the sporting rights are claimed would be essential for the purposes of enlargement of holdings, grazing, and reclamation by these tenants he can take any steps to secure that the tenants shall no longer be deprived of the opportunity of becoming the proprietors of their holdings.


Mrs. Ross, whose estate almost surrounds the McFarlane Estate, took some years ago, before her husband became a Judge, a I lease, under the Court, of some bog and rough warren on the latter estate with the shooting rights over it. When Mr. Justice Ross was appointed Judge, he refused to act as Receiver Judge over this matter, and it was transferred to Mr. Justice Meredith, it had previously been managed under Mr. Justice Boyd. When the incumbrancers proposed to sell to the tenants, they asked Mrs. Ross to buy the portion of which she had a lease, and she made an offer of £740, which, the incumbrancers were willing to accept. Some of the tenants refused to buy unless they got the game rights, but that difficulty, I believe, was surmounted. The tenants' offers were accepted without giving them game rights, and Mr. Justice Meredith ordered that the game lights and the rough warren comprised in Mrs. Ross's lease should be sold by auction. The delay has not been caused by Judge or Mrs. Ross, but by the action of the tenants themselves, and by unforeseen difficulties which have arisen with regard to the title and boundaries. Steps are now being taken to carry out the Judge's under, and it is expected that the matter will be concluded within a short time, have no power to interfere in the manner suggested.


Is it the fact that the case has been in the Land Judge's Court twenty-five years? Cannot the right hon. Gentleman recommend Judge Ross to facilitate its settlement?


I understand it is in process of settlement. I think the Judge has taken the right and proper course in abstaining from interference.


What number of years purchase did Mrs. Ross pay?


I cannot say.

MR. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)