HC Deb 12 December 1912 vol 45 cc739-42
3. Mr. JOYCE

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether his attention has been called to the ease of Mrs. Laffan and family, who are evicted tenants from the farm at Ballyclough, close to Limerick city, the landlord being Mr. R. F. Furnell; if the, landlord in this case has met a number of influential men of the locality, and stated that he is prepared to sell this property to the Estates Commissioners in order that the Laffan family may be restored to their holding, and has refused to sell to a would-be purchaser as the evicted tenants have been out for the past twenty-six years, and the landlord wants to see them restored; whether the Limerick Golf Club, which holds portion of those lands on lease, have written to the effect that they are willing to give up their lease in order to have the evicted tenant get back her farm; and, in the face of all this, and seeing the feeling that has been aroused in the locality, the Estates Commissioners will take action and purchase this property, putting aside in this case the question of priority in order to have this matter settled at once, when all the parties concerned are anxious for a settlement, and the other tenants have purchased?


The Estates Commissioners have directed inquiries to be made regarding this case, and when these inquiries are completed they will consider what action, if any, they can take in the matter.


asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether the lands within the township of Boyle, county Roscommon that are vested in the Estates Commissioners have been let to graziers on the eleven months' system; whether these lettings have now expired; and whether the people of Boyle have asked the Estates Commissioners to formulate a scheme of commonage for the said lands, and have trustees appointed who would be responsible for the annuity, the lands to be used as a commonage for milch cows and other suitable purposes for the benefit of the town?


That portion of the lands of Termon and Warren which has been acquired by the Estates Commissioners has been let by them temporarily for grazing pending the acquisition of an additional portion of Termon, which they hope to acquire at an early date. Representations to the effect mentioned in the concluding portion of the question have been received, and will be considered in the allotment of the lands.


asked in what counties in Ireland the Estates Commissioners have exercised the power of compulsory purchase conferred on them by the Irish Land Act of 1909, and the total amount of land so acquired?


The Estates Commissioners have acquired 1,750 acres in counties Clare, Tipperary, and Waterford under the compulsory provisions of the Irish Land Act, 1909.


Have the Estates Commissioners acquired by compulsory powers a single acre of land in Ulster?


I am not aware of it.


asked whether the landlord of the William estate at Gap- panagroun, Mastergeehy, near Waterville, has accepted the offer for the purchase of his estate made by the Congested Districts Board last July; and, if so, when will the Board complete the sale with the tenants?


The owner has not accepted the offer of the Congested Districts Board for the purchase of this estate.


When will a renewed attempt be made to get this landlord to accept reasonable terms?


I expect the Congested Districts Board will pursue the subject whenever an opportunity offers.

16. Mr. LUNDON

asked whether it is the intention of the Estates Commissioners to acquire by compulsion the untenanted land on the Smith estate, at Ballynanty, Bruff, county Limerick; are they aware that Mr. Arthur White, who has been grazing these lands, is at present farming on the same system some hundreds of acres all over county Limerick; and, in view of the determination of those who were evicted from Ballynanty, as well as the surrounding uneconomic holders and labourers, to clear the evictor and grazier, will the wishes of the public bodies in county Limerick be acceded to and have this land distributed?


The Estates Commissioners are inquiring into this matter, but are not at present in a position to say whether this is a case in which they should or could acquire the lands compulsorily. If, however, there is any intention on the part of the surrounding small holders and labourers as alleged by the hon. Member to interfere illegally with the present user of the lands and any such interference takes place the Commissioners will discontinue all proceedings for the acquisition of the lands.

10. Mr. GUINEY

asked what is the cause of delay in completing the purchase negotiations of three sub-tenants on the Sir George Colthurst estate, townland of Laught, Banteer, county Cork, the names of the sub-tenants being John Buckley, John Leary, and Patrick Lane, seeing that the middleman who has purchased has made satisfactory arrangements with the sub-tenants and is most anxious that the business should be completed at once?


I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the question asked on this subject on the 26th August, 1909, by the then hon. Member for North Kerry. Up to this date the necessary application from all the parties interested has not been submitted to the Land Commission for consideration.

27. Mr. O'MALLEY

asked the right hon. Gentleman whether the Berridge estate, in Connemara, has yet been purchased by the Congested Districts Board; if not, whether the delay in completing the purchase is due to the fact that the tenants are to be consulted as to the terms of purchase; and will he urge the officials of the Board to lose no further time in ascertaining the views of the tenants?


Negotiations have not yet been concluded between Mr. Berridge and the Congested Districts Board for the purchase of this estate, but a further conference is to take place in a day or two. As soon as the purchase proceedings are concluded no delay will occur in consulting the tenants.


asked the Prime Minister whether he can now state what steps the Government propose to take to carry out the undertaking given to complete the process of land purchase at the earliest possible date?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)

I cannot yet make any statement, but the question is receiving careful consideration, and I fully recognise its urgency.


May I remind the right hon. Gentleman that it is now two months since the Chief Secretary gave the House an undertaking on the part of the Cabinet that they would take steps to complete the process of land purchase at the earliest possible moment. Is that not a reason for the consideration of a question which the Chief Secretary declared was more important than Home Rule, and may I ask whether we can expect that the Government will tackle the question next Session?


I hope so.


Will it be a compulsory measure, because a great many landlords in Ireland will not sell otherwise?


It is a complicated question which is receiving very careful consideration.


Will it be necessary to introduce a new Bill in order to facilitate land purchase in Ireland;


I think it probably will, but I should not like to commit, myself.