§ Mr. STEADMAN
asked the Chief Secretary if Thomas Butler's estate of Ballyvass, county Kildare, has been sold to the tenants through the Estates Commissioners; if the purchase price was £2,868 and the bonus £344; if that money or any portion of it has been paid to any person and, if so, to whom; if the solicitor having carriage of the sale obtained a fraudulent conveyance to himself of the estate on 9th November, 1903, and sold the estate in 1907 in Butler's name and manifestly as Butler's estate; if, since the sale, the solicitor procured a return of the original application and other papers so that no person interested in the matter could see them; and will he say if those papers should have been retained by the Commissioners and 1175W be available for inspection by any person interested; and, if so, will he explain the action of the Commissioners in returning those papers; and if he will direct the Commissioners to resume possession of the papers and give an explanation as to why their possession was parted with?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I am informed by the Land Commission that the originating application and the purchase agreements in connection with the sale of this estate were lodged in the Land Commission in the latter part of the year 1906. The advances applied for by the tenants who have signed such agreements amount to £2,868. No portion of the purchase money has been advanced, nor have the titles to the claims against the purchase money been investigated, and no order has been made with regard to the payment of bonus. The affidavit to the originating application appears to have been sworn by Thomas Butler in due form before the Commissioner for taking affidavits, and the signature thereto appears to be the same as the signature "Thomas Butler" on each of the purchase agreements lodged. Thomas Butler having died since the sale proceedings were instituted, the sale proceedings have by order been continued in the name of the widow and executrix of the deceased. The documents referred to in the question were returned to the solicitor having carriage of the sale proceedings to enable him to comply with the rules of the Estates Commissioners of November, 1907, by procuring the Certificate of Counsel as to theprimâ facie right of the vendor to sell the lands in accordance with the 17th section of the Land Act of 1903. Having procured that certificate the solicitor in question duly relodged the documents in question last month. There is no justification for the charges made against the solicitor.