MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN
On behalf of the hon. Member for West Waterford, I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland what instructions have been given by the Irish Government to the Estates Commissioners with reference to the making of advances under the Land Act of 1903 for the purchase of holdings which are not mainly agricultural but which form part of estates which are mainly agricultural; whether, seeing that under the Land Purchase Acts, previous to the passing of the Land Act of 1903, advances were frequently made to tenants of holdings not mainly agricultural, he will say whether the policy of these Acts has been borne in mind in connection with the instructions given the Estates Commissioners; whether he is aware that the Estates Commisioners have had applications made to them by a large proportion of vendors under the Land Act of 1903 for the inclusion of such holdings in their estates; and that they had agreed to make such advances before instructions to the contrary were conveyed to them in or about November last; and whether, seeing that since these instructions a number of intending vendors of estates partly agricultural have been informed that advances will not be made in such cases, he will say whether the reason for these instructions is the difficulty of obtaining a loan without serious loss to the Irish Development Grant.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
It is impossible to deal satisfactorily, in replying to a Question such as this, with the numerous and complicated points raised in it. I have already stated that no general instructions of the kind contemplated by Section 23 (8) of the Act of 1903 have ever been drawn up or formulated; that I am at present engaged in formulating them, and hope soon to lay them on the Table of the House; and that, while the, administrative machinery of the Act was being brought into operation, informal communications of a confidential character took place from time to time between the Executive and the Estates Commissioners. I would ask the hon. Member to wait until the regulations have been published, when he will have ample opportunity of discussing all these matters.