§ Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether it is with his concurrence that the Estates Commissioners have ceased to acquire and distribute any of the untenanted lands of Westmeath for which memorials have been addressed to them by willing purchasers of the classes intended by Parliament; and, in view of the continued emigration of those people from that depleted country for want of land to live by, whether the compulsory powers provided by statute to release the vacant lands for them will be put in operation and the lands distributed this year?
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL for IRELAND (Mr. Redmond Barry)
There is no foundation for the statement made in the first paragraph of the question. In the county Westmeath the Estates Commissioners have acquired over 7,000 acres of untenanted land which has been practically all allotted, and in addition they are in negotiation for the purchase of some 6,000 acres of untenanted land in the same county.
§ Mr. J. P. FARRELL
asked whether an inspector recently visited the Weatherall estate at Ballincurry, Drumlish, county Longford, with a view to valuing the same, and, as a result of his inspection, recommended that the amount of purchase money in the case of one judicial tenant and two non-judicial tenants on the property be reduced, no concession being given to the other eleven tenants, who claim they are deserving of a reduction as well; whether any petitions have been received from these tenants on the subject; and, if so, will a further inspection be ordered in order to equalise the treatment of all the tenants before the property is vested?
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
The Estates Commissioners inform me that this estate is the subject of direct sale proceedings by the owner to the tenants under the Irish Land Act, 1903, and where the agreements signed by the tenants did not come within the zone provisions of Section 1 of the Irish Land Act of 1903 the holdings were in the ordinary course inspected for the purposes of security. In four of these cases the Commissioners are not prepared to advance the full amounts applied for in the purchase agreements, and the owner has agreed to accept the amounts which the Commissioners are prepared to advance. The Commissioners have no power to inspect for the purposes of security the holdings in respect of which purchase agreements were lodged within the zones.
§ Mr. GINNELL
asked if the right hon. Gentleman will state the date of signature of purchase agreements by tenants on the Wilson Hospital estates, Westmeath; why the holdings are not yet vested, seeing that holdings on adjoining estates purchased subsequently have been vested; and if he can now say definitely when those holdings will be vested and the tenants relieved from their present extra payments which were not contemplated by them at the time of purchase?
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
The Estates Commissioners inform me that there are three estates in county Westmeath of the trustees of governors of Wilson's Hospital which have been or are the subject of direct sale proceedings from the owners to the tenants under the Irish Land Act, 1903. The purchase agreements in the first case were lodged in July, 1905, and the holdings were vested in the purchasing tenants in May, 1910. In the other two estates the purchase agreements were 1660 lodged in June, 1906, and October, 1907, respectively. These estates have not been reached in order of priority and the Commissioners are not in a position to say when they will be so reached. The Commissioners are not aware of the other estates to which the hon. Member refers, but it may be that by electing under the Act of 1909 to accept payment either wholly or partly in stock the owners have been paid and the holdings vested in the tenants at earlier dates than would have been the case had the owners decided to wait for payment in cash under the Act of 1903.