HC Deb 20 February 1908 vol 184 c991

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, whether his attention has been called to the negotiations for sale of the Greenisland estate of the Earl of Shaftesbury, in which the tenants are called upon to pay over twenty-six years purchase of their present rents, which invested at 3¾ with the bonus would tiring in 109 per cent. of the gross rental; whether the Commissioners are bound to sanction such prices without inquiry; and, if so, whether they are bound to secure a bonus to the landlord by declaring the holdings in question an estate.

(Answered by Mr. Cherry.) The advances referred to in the Question come within the limits of the zones, and as such the Estates Commissioners are bound to make the advances. The Commissioners, following the decision of the Court of Appeal, hold that, so long as the prices are within the zones, the fact that such prices are high is not in itself a reason for refusing to declare the lands to be an estate. There may be other reasons which would justify the Commissioners in refusing to declare lands to be an estate for the purposes of sale by landlord to tenant direct although the prices are within the zones, such as that the estate is congested, or that the holdings are held in rundale, or are uneconomic. No such reason, however, existed in the case of Lord Shaftesbury's estate, and the Commissioners, therefore, felt bound to declare the lands to be an estate.