HC Deb 27 March 1917 vol 92 cc195-6
57. Mr. DORIS

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if he can state whether Mr. Walter Joyce refused to sell to the Congested Districts Board his congested estate at Breaghy, Castlebar, county Mayo, on which there is an untenanted grazing farm of 200 acres that would enable the Board to enlarge the uneconomic holdings of the tenants; has Mr. Joyce complied with the Tillage Regulations with respect to this untenanted land; and if not, will he say what steps the Department of Agriculture has taken against Mr. Joyce for non-compliance with these Regulations, and to have a tenth of the farm tilled or let for tillage?


The Congested Districts Board communicated with Mr. Joyce's solicitor in reference to a sale to the Board of the estate at Breaghy referred to, and were informed that the owner was unwilling to negotiate except on a cash basis. The voluntary purchase of estates under the Irish Land Act, 1909, can only be accomplished by a payment of Land Stock, and the Board took no further action in the matter, as they were not then in a position to acquire the estate compulsorily. I am informed that there are over 200 acres of untenanted land on the property, and that Mr. Joyce is arranging to comply with the compulsory Tillage Regulations. He has estates in the counties of Clare, Galway, and Mayo, and he is at liberty to carry out the total cultivation for which he is liable on any one or two of these estates.


Are not these poor people to get the benefit of an Act which was passed for their relief eight years ago?


The conditions in the Act must be complied with before it is applied. The statement in my answer shows that in the present case it has not been possible to comply with them.


What is to prevent the Congested Districts Board acquiring this land compulsorily, and distributing these 200 acres among these poor people who want them so badly?


As I have pointed out, compulsory acquisition requires payment in cash. The Act provides for the voluntary acquisition of estates by Land Stock,' and as the present stock is depreciated owners are naturally not disposed to exchange their land for stock.


In cases like this, where there is unused land in Ireland, is it not possible to proceed under the Defence of the Realm Act?


My hon. friend makes a mistake in supposing that this land is unused because it is untenanted. Untenanted is a term of law which applies to land in Ireland, and merely implies that. there are not attaching to the land the legal rights which arise from a tenancy in Ireland.


I have not made the mistake which the right hon. Gentleman supposes. What I want to know is—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"]