HC Deb 06 March 1906 vol 153 cc308-9

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he has seen a letter of Colonel Smythe, of Collinstown, Westmeath, dated January 22nd, 1906, allowing his tenants a month to consider his terms of sale; a letter from Colonel Smythe's solicitors, dated February 2nd, demanding from one of these tenants immediate payment of a hanging gale with costs of demand, and a copy of a writ for this amount, served on the February 5th, before the month allowed for consideration had run half its course; and whether, in view of the danger to social peace, and to the security of the State for the payment of annuities so contracted, of this method of forcing tenants to sign improvident purchase agreements, His Majesty's Government will take any steps to check or counteract such conduct.


The hon. Member has sent to me, for my inspection, the documents referred to in the first two paragraphs of his Question, and the facts appear to be correctly stated. As to the final inquiry of the Question, it must be remembered that, supposing the facts to be as stated, His Majesty's Government have no power to intervene. The Estates Commissioners, however, inform me that should proceedings for the sale of the estate come before them, they will, before sanctioning any advance, make such inquiry into the circumstances of the case as may 'be within their province as denned by law.