§ Mr. O'SHEE
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he would consider the desirability of providing in the Irish Land Bill facilities for obtaining loans from the Board of Works in Ireland for planting trees, in order to have effect given to clause 19 of the Bill; whether he is aware that the Board of Works is precluded from making a loan which exceeds seven times the poor law valuation of the property to be rendered liable for repayment; whether, as the planting of a statute acre costs from £6 to £8, and the average poor law valuation of the land which is planted is about 3s. per acre, it is intended to change the law in this respect so that the total amount required for planting can be advanced; whether, if this alteration is proposed, it will also be made applicable to owners of land desiring to plant so as to encourage the rapid planting of trees; and whether the planted areas would afford in themselves sufficient security for the advances?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
It does not appear to be necessary at present to provide additional facilities for obtaining loans for the planting of trees. The Board of Works have power to make such loans both to owners and occupiers of land, but the amount of the loan is restricted to seven times the valuation of the land given as security in the case of owners, five times in the case of tenant purchasers,' and three times in the case of occupiers. In other words, the amount that may be advanced is determined not by the valuation of the land actually planted, but of the land or interest in land offered as security. The Board are not aware that these limitations have up to the present prevented planting.
§ Mr. O'SHEE
asked in how many cases in county Waterford have the owners of evicted farms informed the Estates Commissioners or their inspectors that such evicted farms have been planted with trees; in how many of such cases have the Estates Commissioners refused to reinstate. the evicted tenants; what were the reasons of such refusals; were the evicted tenants concerned in every such case offered alter- 1790W native holdings; were some of the evicted farms referred to only partially planted with trees, and that within a few years past; and whether the owner of an evicted farm is permitted to prevent the reinstatement of the evicted tenant by planting the holding with trees?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Estates Commissioners inform me that the statistics asked for are not available, and could only be obtained by an examination of each individual file. The Commissioners have no powers as regards the user of lands proposed to be acquired compulsorily under the Evicted Tenants Act until the requirements of the Statute have been complied with and the lands have been actually acquired.