§ MR. VINCENT KENNEDY (Cavan, W.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he has received a resolution from the Cavan Board of Guardians requesting the Government to appoint an additional Judicial Commissioner to dispose of the appeals in fair rent cases in the Land Commission Court, which have remained unheard for years, and asking that the Judge who shall be appointed shall have no connection with the landlord's interests, but shall be independent; and will this matter be dealt with at once.
I have received the resolution referred to. I have ascertained from the Land Commission that during the past six years the number of appeals annually lodged has steadily diminished, the number lodged last year being less than half the number lodged six years ago. During the same period, the number of appeals annually disposed of has steadily increased, the number dis- 246 posed of last year being 2,000 more than were disposed of in the year 1900–1. The net result is that the number of appeals pending on March 31st last was very much smaller than the number outstanding six years ago. It may, I think, be assumed that with the progress of land purchase the number of outstanding appeals will continue to diminish. The question whether it may be necessary to appoint an additional Judicial Commissioner is, nevertheless, one which deserves consideration, but I am not at present in a position to make any statement on the subject.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
Will the right hon. Gentleman inform the House as to the number of outstanding appeals at the present moment: do they not amount to nine or ten thousand, and will it not take a considerable period of time —some years indeed—before they can be disposed of?
§ MR. VINCENT KENNEDY
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that of the 9,000 or 10,000 appeals at present pending-more than one half are from two to six years lodged, and is he not aware that this serious delay is entirely to the prejudice of the tenant and does not affect the landlord?
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
Inasmuch as this matter seriously affects the working of the Land Purchase Act, will the right hon. Gentleman see if steps can be taken to remedy this state of things?
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
Does not the Act provide for the appointment of an additional Judicial Commissioner?
It authorises the bringing in of one of the Judges of the High Court to act as an additional Commissioner. There is no doubt that the great delay which has occurred is very much to be regretted.
§ MR. FLAVIN
Is it not a fact that many landlords refuse to sell until the appeals have boon disposed of?