§ MR. JOHN ROCHE (Galway, E.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been directed to a resolution passed by the Ballinasloe No. 1 Rural District Council, disapproving of the action of the Congested Districts Board in connection with the estates of Oatfield 307 and Newcastle, of which the Board has been in possession these two years past;and will he say whether the Board has dismissed the permanent staff of labourers kept by the late owner, Mr. Longworth; whether he is aware that these lands were taken from the local peasantry whose descendants are now agricultural labourers in the district; and whether, when these lands come to be distributed, the claims of those who were deprived of their birthright will be considered and provided for before strangers or outsiders are allotted any portion of these estates; and whether he will consider the advisability of transferring these lands from the Congested Districts Board to the Estates Commissioners with a view to an early distribution.
The Congested Districts Board inform me that they have received the resolution referred to, and will consider it at their next meeting towards the end of this month. In the meantime, I am not in a position to answer the remaining inquiries in the Question; but it must not be assumed that the Board will consider that the only Irishmen to be placed upon lands that may come into their hands are those who live in the immediate vicinity.