THE EARL OF LIMERICK
, in moving—For a Return showing the total number of cases of ejectment for non-payment of rent in Ireland since the Land Act, 1870, came into operation, in which claims for disturbance on account of the rent being an exorbitant rent have been made, with the amount claimed in each such case, and the amount, if any, awarded by the court,said, that under the existing law, if the rent of a holding did not exceed £15, and the tenant was evicted for nonpayment of rent, where he was able to prove that the rent was exorbitant, he, might go into the Court, and the Court might award him compensation for disturbance. Their Lordships were well aware that very serious charges had of late been urged against the Irish landlords as a body, and that they had been specially accused of dealing harshly with their tenants, and exacting most excessive and exorbitant rents. Their Lordships were also aware that behind the tenants was a strong body ready to take up their case. Under those circumstances, he had brought forward the Motion he had put upon the Paper, and he believed he might state that, as a matter of fact, there had been very few of such cases. He understood that a similar Return had been moved for in "another place "last year, and he believed that the Return was nil. Of course a period of 12 months had since 757 elapsed, and as that had been a year of considerable excitement, it was possible that some cases had been brought before the Court during that period; and he was quite sure that if there had been any such cases to be found, there would have been no hesitation on the part of the tenants, or of those who advised them, in bringing them before the Court in the way prescribed by the Land Act of 1870. If cases had not been so brought before the Courts, there was primâ facie ground for believing that the charges made were groundless. He trusted the Government would consent to produce the Return asked for, in order that the House might see whether there had been any such cases. He thought they could have no possible objection to accede to the Motion, the effect of which would be to bring their information on the subject down to the present date.Moved for, Return showing the total number of cases of ejectment for non-payment of rent in Ireland since the Land Act, 1870, came into operation, in which claims for disturbance on account of the rent being an exorbitant rent have been made, with the amount claimed in each such case, and the amount (if any) awarded by the court.—(The Earl of Limerick.)
, in reply, said, he thought that the Return might be given without delay, and there was, of course, no objection to its being produced. He believed it would be found to show a very small number of the cases referred to; but with regard to the point of claims for disturbance in cases of what was called exorbitant rent, he must say that the matter had been brought by several of the County Court Judges before both of the Commissions that had lately inquired into the Land Question; and these gentlemen had said that if a more moderate word had been used, say "unreasonable," instead of "exorbitant," they were quite clear that in many cases they would have exercised their jurisdiction and given compensation which they felt they were precluded from doing by the wording of the Act, the term "exorbitant" being rather too much for them.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Return ordered to be laid before the House.
§ House adjourned at a quarter past Six o'clock, to Monday next, Eleven o'clock.