§ 40. Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chief Secretary the dates of the first and of the 1681 latest letters from the Estates Commissioners to Mr. Gradwell, and of that gentleman's reply, with reference to the M'Cullough farms on his estate in Westmeath, which are required for distribution among the congested and landless people in the vicinity; and if he will state the aggregate area of those farms, the number of persons who have applied for portions of them, the cause of delay, and what the prospect is of distributing this land?
§ Mr. RUSSELL (for Mr. Birrell)
On the 12th December, 1912, the Estates Commissioners furnished Mr. Gradwell's solicitor at his request with an estimate of the price which they would be prepared to offer for the purchase of the lands provided formal proceedings were instituted before them under the Land Purchase Acts for the sale of the lands to the Commissioners freed and discharged from all occupation interests. In reply to their letter of the 5th November last the owner's solicitor on the following day stated that the owner did not intend to proceed further at present in the matter. The lands in question comprise 613 acres. Applications have been received on behalf of thirty-one persons for portions of these lands in the event of their being acquired by the Commissioners. Up to the present no proceedings for sale have been instituted under the Land Purchase Acts, and the Commissioners are not in a position to reply to the last portion of the question.
§ 41. Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chief Secretary the nature of the offer received by the Estates Commissioners from one who desires Grangemore mansion, on the Magan-Topping estate, Westmeath, with little or no land attached, for the purpose of an institution; the entire area of untenanted land on that estate; the number of congested and landless applicants for portions of it; and, having regard to the need for distribution of all the available land arid to complaints of the Commissioners making presents of large farms with mansions to persons never contemplated by the Acts, if he will say what oilier offer or application the Commissioners have received for this mansion, with or without land, and how they intend to dispose of the untenanted land on this estate?
§ Mr. RUSSELL
This estate, which has recently been acquired by the Estates Commissioners under Section 6 of the Irish Land Act, 1903, comprises some 1,900 acres of untenanted land. When, as in 1682 this case, there is a large mansion house on the lands, it is the practice of the Commissioners to preserve such mansion house, and to sell it with such land as will preserve its amenities. The Commissioners have let the mansion house and some 120 acres of the adjoining lands, including plantations, to the Rev. B. M. Ryan at a yearly rent of £100, with the option of purchase, and he intends to use it as a training institute for the blind. The Commissioners are not yet in a position to state how many of the applicants for allotments of untenanted land fall within the classes indicated by the hon. Member. All the applications received are with the inspector, who is at present engaged in framing a scheme of allotment.