§ 71. Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, in view of the written agreement of Mr. Shaen Carter to his tenants, near Killucan, when arranging terms of purchase, that on a certain condition, which has since arisen, he would sell any remainder of the estate to the Commissioners under Section 6 of the Act of 1903, whether the Commissioners will now require the nonresidential grass farm held by Colonel Purdon Winter on this estate to be dealt with in this manner for the enlargement of the uneconomic holdings and provision of new holding's for the landless on the estate, in the interest of food production; and when the holdings still unvested will be vested and the settlement of the estate completed?
§ Mr. DUKE
The reply to the first part of the question is in the negative. The estate is not the subject of proceedings for sale to the Estates Commissioners under Section 6 of the Irish Land Act, 1903. The owner entered into agreements for direct sale to the tenants at prices agreed upon between the parties, and these agreements do not contain any reference to such an arrangement as that referred to. No purchase agreement has been lodged in respect of the farm held by E. W. Purdon as a judicial tenant, and under the Tillage Regulations he is liable to cultivate the prescribed area of arable land in his occupation. The majority of the holdings on this estate have been vested in th[...] tenants, in accordance with their pur[...] agreements, and those not yet vest[...] be vested as soon as practicable.
§ Mr. GINNELL
Arising out[...] clause of the answer of th[...] Gentleman, will he be good en[...] 1687 at the document signed by the agent in the sense stated in the first clause of the question?
§ 73. Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that the O'Beirne estate, Rathduff, Rathconrath, Westmeath, is all evicted land, seventeen families having been evicted from it on one day and the whole kept in grass since; whether he is aware that when recently 10 acres of it were, under compulsion, offered by auction for conacre no one bid, because the uneconomic holders and landless men of the district eager to till it desire to purchase on the usual terms; whether he will give immediate favourable consideration to this desire; and whether Mr. Higgins, the grazier of this estate, has Government authority or sanction for threatening with the Defence of the Realm Act the people who desire to purchase and till this land?
§ Mr. DUKE
There is no record of evictions on the estate referred to, which was purchased from the Land Commission about twenty-six years ago by the husband of the present owner. The occupier recently put up for auction 15 acres for letting in conacre, but there was no bid, and the auction was adjourned. It has been reported to me in various cases that biddings at such auctions were withheld in the expectation that by refusing to take land in conacre men would increase their prospect of getting permanent allotments, and that the people of certain localities have been advised to this effect. It should, however, be understood that while the prevention of tillage may reduce the food supply of the country, it does not create a claim for special advantages in respect of distribution of land. Nothing is known of any threat in connection with the Defence of the Realm Act such as is suggested in the question.
§ Mr. GINNELL
How does the right hon. Gentleman reconcile this answer with the fact that seven members of the seventeen families evicted from this land are still living in the neighbourhood?