HC Deb 21 March 1906 vol 154 cc393-4

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the fact that the lay Sub-Commissioner has recently, in several second-term applications by tenants on the estates of Earl Annesley and the Marquess of Downshire, county Down, confirmed the first judicial rents, and has in other cases granted only nominal reductions below the scale voluntarily proposed by the landlords; what reason, if any, the Sub-Commissioner gives for fixing a higher acreable rent on these estates than was assessed by former Sub-Commissions; whether he is aware that in consequence of the Sub-Commissioner's conduct the landlords concerned have withdrawn the scale of voluntary reductions heretofore offered to the tenants on executing second-term judicial agreements; and whether the attention of the Chief Land Commission will be called to this matter.


The Land Commission inform me that during the period which has elapsed since the passing of the Act of 1903, eighty-seven second-term rents have been judicially fixed by the Sub-Commission Courts on the estate of the Earl of Annesley. In seven of these cases the second-term rents are the same as the first-term rents, and in eighty the first-term rents have been reduced. The total average reduction in respect of the eighty-seven cases represents 18.2 per cent. During the same period 427 second-term rents were fixed on the estate of the Marquess of Downshire. In one case the second - term rent is the same as that fixed for the first-term. In 426 cases the first-term rents were reduced. The average percentage of the reduction is the same as in the case of the Annesley estate. The Commissioners consider that they ought not to discuss the judicial decision of the Sub-Commission Courts in any particular case, and, moreover, appeals are pending in some of the cases referred to. Agreements fixing fair rents entered into in accordance with the provisions of Section 8, Sub-section 6, of the Land Law (Ireland) Act, 1881, during the period mentioned, have been received by the Land Commission in respect of the estates in question, namely, 410 from the Annesley estate, and 1,976 from the Downshire estate. The reduction as between the first and second - term rents represents 14.1 and 15.5 per cent. respectively.


Is it the case that landlords are withdrawing the scales of voluntary reductions heretofore offered to the tenants? On what basis do the Sub-Commission fix the rents higher than the landlords are willing to agree to?


I cannot go into the question of the reasons actuating the Commission.