THE EARL OF MILLTOWN
, in rising to ask Her Majesty's Government, Whether tenants desirous of purchasing their holdings under the provisions of the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, 1885, are compelled to borrow a substantial portion of the purchase money, although they were desirous of paying the whole sum themselves, and are under no necessity to contract a loan; and whether, if this be so, they will take steps to remove this impediment to the working of the Act, said, that he himself wished to purchase a certain farm which was held by a tenant for life through the means of the machinery of the Land Purchase Act, because that method was more simple and cheaper than purchasing in any other way. He communicated the 1637 facts to the Land Purchase Commissioners, and they informed him that it was absolutely necessary that he should borrow a substantial sum from them in order to purchase the farm. He replied that he would borrow a trifling sum, although he was under no necessity to borrow any of the purchase money; but they insisted that a substantial portion of it should be borrowed in compliance with the terms of the Act of Parliament. If this was really so it seemed a very singular thing. He felt sure that there were many thousands of tenants in Ireland who were perfectly able to buy their holdings, and that they would do so if peace and quietness were assured; and if they were certain that an end would be put to the perpetual interference by Acts of Parliament between them and their landlords, upsetting their contracts and disturbing everything. This was especially the case in the North of Ireland; and he was quite certain that if this difficulty in reference to the necessity for borrowing a substantial portion of the purchase money had been brought before the Royal Commission which had inquired into the working of the Irish Land Acts, and of which he was a Member, unquestionably they would have recommended its removal. While on the subject of the Land Purchase Act, he could not refrain from expressing his earnest hope that nothing would be allowed to interfere with the working of this most beneficent Act. He could recollect a great many other Acts passed relating to land in Ireland, and, while he would not say that none of them had done any good, he would say that this was the only one with which everyone was satisfied. North and South, East and West, from all classes of the community, the testimony in its favour was most remarkable, and it would be little short of a calamity if it were allowed to drop just as it was getting a fair chance by the establishment of law and order in the country.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (Viscount CRANBROOK)
said, the facts of the case mentioned by the noble Earl were previously unknown to the Irish Government, and they were not aware of the grounds upon which the difficulty to which he had referred was raised. The facts of this case having now been laid before the Government, they would investigate the 1638 matter and give the noble Earl an answer on a future occasion.