MARQUESS of HAMILTON
asked the Chief Secretary if he is aware that Mr. Joseph O'Doherty recently purchased the townland of Tulnaree, in the county of Donegal, for the sum of £650, a holding containing six acres two roods of land, at a price of £54 per acre; that the Innishover Rural District Council compulsorily acquired half an acre of Mr. O'Doherty's land and only, as the result of arbitration, paid £19 for it; whether the Local Government Board sanctioned the compulsory taking of portion of such a small holding as six and a half acres, and also the unfairness and inadequacy of the price; and if he will introduce amending legislation to prevent the recurrence of similar cases?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
Mr. O'Doherty appears to have paid in 1902 a sum of £650 for a licensed house, together with the occupier's interest in a holding of six acres and twenty perches, the price including auction fees, cost of conveyance and expenditure on renovating the premises. The necessity for a cottage in the case was clearly proved, and as Mr. O'Doherty has other large farms in the district, the Local Government Board, after careful consideration of all the facts, disallowed his petition against the portion of the inspector's order authorising the compulsory acquisition of the site. The arbitrator allowed £8 to the owner and £9 10s. to the occupier, Mr. O'Doherty, for their respective interests in the half acre of land to be compulsorily acquired. Mr. O'Doherty received due notice of the sittings of the arbitrator, but did not avail himself of the opportunity of tendering evidence as to the value of the plot. The Board have no authority whatever to interfere with the price which may be fixed by an arbitrator for land to be acquired under the Labourers Acts. It does not appear that any amending legislation is called for.