19. Colonel NEWMAN
asked the Chief Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to a statement recently made by a member of the Irish Provisional Government that his Government held at its disposal 60,000 acres of land which it contemplated distributing, or had already distributed, to those at present without land; will he say the total acreage of land recently acquired by the Provisional Government formerly the property of the British Government; and what representations does he propose to make to the Provisional Government with regard to the large area of land which has been seized by the orders of the Republican Government from the rightful owners and given to, or held in occupation by, adherents of the Republican cause?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
In reply to the first part of the question, I understand from a newspaper report that at a meeting of Dail Eireann on the 1st instant an official of that body stated that the Dail Eireann Department of Agriculture had had at its disposal for about three years about 60,000 acres of land, and another speaker stated that this land represented purchases made by the National Land Bank In reply to the second part, no land formerly the property of the British Government has been acquired by the Provisional Government; but, as I have previously informed the House, land evacuated by the Crown forces has been handed over to that Government subject to valuation if they express a desire to acquire it. In reply to the third part of the question, if the hon. and gallant Member will supply me with particulars of any cases in which owners have been dispossessed of their land as alleged, I will undertake to bring them to the notice of the Provisional Government.
As there are a great many of these cases, will the right hon. Gentleman consent to receive a deputation?
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
Certainly. If my hon. and gallant Friend will give me sufficient notice, I will gladly do so.