§ MR. FETHERSTONHAUGH (Fermanagh, N.)
To ask the Chief Secretary 1107 to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he is aware that out of a list of 265 Land Commission Court appeals listed to be heard by Mr. Justice Dodd at Sligo, on 18th March, 1907, and following days, it turned out that thirty-two appeals only required a hearing, the rest having been withdrawn or settled as the result of land purchase; will he say if these 265 appeals were a portion of the number of appeals pending to dispose of which Mr. Justice Dodd was appointed; and is he aware that of the appeals at present recorded as pending a very large proportion are in reference to holdings already sold to tenants and will never require to be heard.
(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) I am informed by the Land Commission that the preliminary list for hearing at Sligo on 19th March and following days contained 265 appeals, of which sixty-four were excluded by the Judicial Commissioners from the final list. The remainder, 201, was the most that the Commissioners considered could be disposed of on the occasion. Between the dates of issuing of the final list and the date of the sitting fifty-six appeals were withdrawn by the parties, leaving 145 for hearing by the Court. Of this latter number thirty-two went to hearing, the remainder having either been, settled in Court or withdrawn by the parties because purchase negotiations were pending or for other reasons. The 265 appeals referred to were included in the Return of appeals outstanding on 31st January last, subsequent to which date Mr. Justice Dodd was nominated as an additional Judicial Commissioner for the purpose of hearing such appeals. The Land Commissioners do not think that any general deduction can be drawn from what happened on this occasion. They cannot say how many of the pending appeals may ultimately be withdrawn by reason of purchase proceedings. In many such cases the fact that purchase negotiations are pending and that the appeals will not be proceeded with is not brought to the Commissioners' knowledge until the very eve of the hearing. This was specially the case in regard to the Sligo appeals.