§ 83. Mr. HAYDEN
asked whether the owner of the Hussey Walsh estate, near Athlone, county Roscommon, offered to sell to Christopher King, who occupies the largest holding on the estate, and whether the owner refused to subsequently sell because the tenant did not notify his acceptance of the owner's terms by a certain date; whether the tenant subsequently intimated his readiness to purchase at the landlord's terms, and has for the last three years frequently through his solicitors offered to sign the necessary purchase agreement; if so, will the right hon. Gentleman say if the owner has, and the Estates Commissioners, notwithstanding they have been aware for over two years of the tenant's willingness to purchase, have declined to include the tenant in the sale, and debarred the tenant from the advantages of a purchase; and whether 1011 it was within the power of the Estates Commissioners to refuse to declare the estate an estate and thus compel the owner to sell to the tenant at the owner's own terms?
§ Mr. RUSSELL
The Estates Commissioners received communications on behalf of King stating he was willing to purchase at the terms originally offered by the owner. The holding occupied by King was not, however, included in the lands which were the subject of proceedings for sale before the Commissioners, and which the owner asked them to declare an estate for the purpose of sale. The powers of the Commissioners were limited to either declaring or refusing to declare these lands an "estate," and they did not feel justified in refusing to declare such lands an "estate" and thus deprive all the tenants "who had signed agreements for the purchase of their holdings of the advantages of those agreements. The said lands having been declared an "estate" the matter cannot be reopened.
§ Mr. HAYDEN
Have the Commissioners exercised their discretion in several similar cases, in order to bring people left out of the sale into the sale with the effect desired?
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I am "only answering the questions on the Paper for my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary.
§ 85. Mr. O'DOWD
asked whether the Knox estate, situate in Geevagh, county Sligo, Carrick-on-Shannon, has recently been purchased by the Congested Districts Board; whether the Board has sent out notices to widow Frazer and five other tenants occupying barren mountain holdings requiring payment of thirteen months' rent and arrears, dating back to 1904; and, if so, whether, seeing that these arrears are impossible of collection, steps will be taken to have them wiped out altogether?
§ Mr. RUSSELL
The offer of the Congested Districts Board for this estate was accepted in August last, and demands for one year's rent (not for thirteen months' rent and arrears dating back to 1904, as suggested in the question) were subsequently issued in accordance with the usual custom of the estate. Until the estate is vested in the Board they cannot cancel any portion of the old arrears 6hown to be due by the tenants, but when the estate is vested in the Board these 1012 arrears will be liquidated by additions to the sale price of the holdings of sums not exceeding one year's rent in the worst cases.