§ MR. O'DOHERTY (Donegal, N.)
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he will take into consideration the Report of the Select Committees appointed in 1890 and 1891 to inquire into the disposition of the proceeds of sale of the Irish estates of the London companies, with a view to seeing whether legislative effect could now be given to their recommendations; and whether he can state what is the total amount which those companies received under the Land Purchase Acts, and what is the annual sum which they now expend on educational or charitable purposes in Ireland.
(Answered by Mr. Bryce.) The conclusions reached by the Select Committee referred to in the Question do not seem to be in accord with the judgments delivered by the Master of the Rolls in Ireland and subsequently by the Court of Appeal there in 1898, and I could not say, without much consideration of the full effect of those decisions, whether legislative measures could be introduced, with a prospect of success, to give effect to the recommendations of the Committee. The total amounts advanced to the different companies, under the Land Purchase Acts prior to the Act of 1903, was £927,009. In addition, proceedings are pending before the Estates Commissioners in respect of the sales, under the Act of 1903, of the 58 Mercers Company's estate, involving a purchase money of £191,709, and the Irish Society's est te, the purchase money of which amounts to £88,918. I have no means of ascertaining the annual sum which the companies expend on educational or charitable purposes in Ireland, but am told that it is no longer a large one.