§ (1) The Land Commission shall not, after the passing of this Act, enter into an agreement for the purchase of any land situated in a congested districts county, save with the consent of the Congested Districts Board: Provided that this Subsection shall not apply in the case of any land required for the purposes of the Evicted Tenants (Ireland) Act, 1907.
§ (2) No estate situated in a congested districts county shall, after the passing of this Act, be sold under the Land Purchase Acts, to persons other than the Congested Districts Board without the consent of that Board, which consent shall not be withheld unless the Board undertake to 200 purchase the estate within a reasonable time: Provided that this Sub-section shall not apply in the case of any sale of a congested estate in pursuance of an originating application or request lodged before the passing of this Act.
§ Lords Amendment: In Sub-section (2), leave out the words, "undertake to purchase the estate within a reasonable time," and insert instead thereof the words "to enter into an agreement or to send a final offer for the purchase of the estate within one year."
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Mr. Birrell)
I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
I think it is a reasonable one. "Reasonable time" is now defined by imposing the obligation upon the Board to make the final offer for the estate within the year.
§ Mr. DILLON
I do not propose to divide the House, but I think it is a most unreasonable time, considering the progress of land purchase in Ireland at the present time under the present Bill, when an estate—many estates—that have been offered for sale are waiting for five, six, or seven years to be paid for. I think the time proposed is absolutely unreasonable, and I suggest that it is another attempt to render the powers of the Congested Districts Board absolutely nugatory.
§ Mr. MOORE
Secondly, it illustrates the way the hon. Member for East Mayo and his Friends approach everything, reasonable or unreasonable, which can do the class they are always attacking some harm. See how this stands: Notice is served by the Congested Districts Board that they are going to take a man's land under their compulsory powers——
§ Mr. MOORE
I am quite used to that kind of compliment. Under the proposal in the Bill this public Department has a right to serve a notice on a man that they 201 are going to take his land compulsorily. The Amendment provides that within a year they are to make up their minds whether they are going to do so or not. During the whole of the year the man has this notice hanging over him, and he cannot sell his land to anybody else, and he cannot improve his land in the meantime, because he might be throwing his money away if he did. The Chief Secretary, with absolute fairness and reason, says that this period of indefiniteness is only to last 12 months, and at the end the man will be told whether or not his land will be taken by the Department. Such a desire does not meet with the approval of the hon. Member for East Mayo. This notice has to be kept hanging over a man's head for five, six, or seven years——
§ Question, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment," put, and agreed to.