HC Deb 04 August 1909 vol 8 cc1839-40
Mr. MOONEY (on behalf of Mr. Flynn)

asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether his attention has been called to the fact that different Government Departments in Ireland appear to entertain differing views concerning the legal status of persons who, as tenant purchasers, have signed agreements to purchase their holdings under the Land Act of 1903, but whose holdings have not been vested in them; whether he is aware that the Commissioners of Public Works, in the administration of the Acts enabling them to make advances for land improvement and other purposes, regard such persons as tenants merely, and that the Land Commission accept and act upon the assignment of the interests of such persons in their holdings as tenants, not as owners, while on the other hand the Inland Revenue authorities regard such interests as fee simple property subject to an advance, even though no advance has been made or sanctioned or no title or security investigated; and whether steps will be taken to obviate the confusion caused by such discrepancy, and to secure uniformity of practice in the various Departments of the public service in Ireland?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. I am advised that the action of the Board of Works and of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue is in accordance with the law governing the respective matters with which they deal; and no steps of the kind suggested could be taken without fresh legislation, which in view of the temporary position of both landlord and tenant, seems hardly necessary.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he has consulted the Irish law officers whether the action of the Revenue authorities is in accordance with law, and, if it is so, how he reconciles that with the action of the Commissioners of Public Works?


I am not sure whether the hon. Gentleman has correctly stated the circumstances.


Will the right hon. Gentleman consult the Irish law officers on the point?