§ 5. Mr. FLAVIN
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that there is over 100 acres tillable land on the Griffen estate, at Lahardan, near Ballybunion, which is let for grazing; whether he is aware that there are a number of small holdings in the immediate vicinity; and whether he can say why the Congested Districts Board have not acquired this land compulsorily to relieve congestion and give more tillage for the past eight years?
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Mr. Duke)
I am informed that about 100 acres on the estate referred to is in the owner's hands, but I have no information as to how the land is let. There are a number of small holdings on the estate, but as the lands are held under a lease terminating in 1956, the Congested Districts Board could not acquire the lands compulsorily for the purpose of distribution.
§ Mr. FLAVIN
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this case, like the case of Meyvoo and Ballyconnery on the Stack estate, is before the Congested Districts Board for ten years; and is he also aware that there is no tillage on the land; and what steps are either the Congested Districts Board or the Government going to take, if they want tillage and an increased food production, to allow the people to go on the land and raise food?
§ 6. Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland what action the Government propose to take, in connection with increased food production in Ireland, with reference to the landlords who have increased the difficulties of that problem by refusing to sell to their tenants and continuing to exact their rents, and what action with reference to the tenants thus handicapped as compared with their neighbours who have purchased; and whether he has received from the Mullingar District Council a resolution urging the Government to equalise the condition of purchased and unpurchased farmers by enforcing, as from the beginning of 1916, an automatic reduction of 6s. in the £ of all such rents?
§ 8. Mr. P. MEEHAN
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if he is aware that, owing to the action of the agent of Lady Bury, an absentee landowner at present residing in Austria, Lieutenant Handy, at present serving at the front, was prevented selling his holding at Croghan, King's County, containing 477 acres, to small holders in the district and making the same available for food production; and whether, seeing that. Lieutenant Handy has been prevented from disposing of his property by a technical bar in the Land Acts availed of by this lady of pro-Austrian tendencies, he will consider the advisability of having an Order issued under the Defence of the Realm Act that, notwithstanding anything in the Land Law (Ireland) Acts to the contrary, no sales or sub-divisions of present tenancies without the consent of the landlord shall be void or voidable unless the Food Controller shall so determine?
§ Mr. GINNELL
May I ask whether the Government are not in a position to issue a Regulation under the Acts to give them the necessary power, and whether they will do that?
§ 11. Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if he will state by what means the Government propose to obtain food crops this season from grazing tracts in Ireland of which the owners are them selves unable to till any portion, but are willing to sell for distribution, and on which the neighbouring uneconomic holders and landless people will not work unless they are made purchasers on the usual terms, and have refused to take conacre even when offered to them for nothing; and whether a Regulation under the Defence of the Realm Acts will be issued forthwith enabling such owners to sell to such purchasers at such prices as the Estates Commissioners on subsequent inspection find the allotments to be worth, so that tillage may proceed without further delay?
§ Mr. GINNELL
Then the Government are not serious in connection with increased tillage and food production?
§ 12. Mr. FLAVIN
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that Mr. O'Brien, of Limerick, agent on the Studdert estate, situate at Ballyouneen, North Kerry, is willing to sell to the Congested Districts Board; whether he is aware that this estate is flooded, which prevents the lands from being used for tillage purposes; and whether he will ask the Congested Districts Board to again consider the advisability of purchasing this estate?
§ Mr. DUKE
The agents for this property informed the Congested Districts Board in February, 1915, that the owner had decided to offer the estate for sale to the Board, but no maps or documents were lodged. In April, 1915, the Board informed the agents that they had been obliged to suspend negotiations for the purchase of estates and that no further action could be taken with reference to this estate. I am informed that the estate is liable to flooding, but until the Congested Districts Board are in a position to resume negotiations for the purchase of estates they cannot take any action with a view to acquiring this property.
§ Mr. FLAVIN
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a large portion of this 2122 estate is subject to flooding, and that the land cannot be used for tillage purposes, and that therefore you cannot get an increased production of food; is he aware also that owing to the non-purchase of the estate the tenants are subject to judicial rent, while all the neighbours have the advantage of land purchase?
§ Mr. FLAVIN
Will not the right hon. Gentleman deal with the whole question in Ireland, and see that there is equality of treatment amongst the tenants on the question of purchase?