§ MR. GINNELL (Westmeath, N.)
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, whether his attention has been called to the amount of the rents charged to tenants of Colonel Smythe of Collinstown, Westmeath, which have only been paid in obedience to writs and out of moneys received from America and other extraneous sources; is he aware that the landlord wrote on the 23rd January last an offer, to remain open for a month, to sell at prices based upon those rents; that the proposed sale broke down owing to the landlord's refusal to consider the reinstatement of two evicted tenants whose former holdings are untenanted; and that on the 5th February, before the month for consideration had run half its course, Colonel Smythe had again served some of the tenants with writs for the hanging gale, there being no more due; and whether, seeing that such duress is extensively practised, and a danger to 765 social peace and to the security of the State for the payment of annuities so contracted, His Majesty's Government propose to check or counteract in any way such conduct.
(Answered by Mr. Bryce.) No originating application or request as to the sale of this estate has been lodged with the Estates Commissioners, and they have no knowledge of the statements of fact alleged in the Question. I have no means of making a satisfactory inquiry as to the facts, and, even supposing them to be as stated, His Majesty's Government would have no power to interfere.