HC Deb 12 March 1912 vol 35 cc1060-4W

asked the Chief Secretary whether, having regard to the fact that a sum of £7,900 odd was deducted from the Grants-in-Aid to the Limerick County Council from 1903 to 1911, presumably because of defalcations under the Land Purchase Acts, any steps have been taken to make those defaulters pay up; and, in view of the sum at issue, will the Land Commission furnish the names of all those who, during those years, have refused to comply with the law?


The £7,900 referred to comprises £3,200 for arrears of land purchase annuities, and £4,700 for deficiency of income otherwise arising in the Land Purchase Fund. Of the £3,200 no less than £3,000 was drawn from the Guarantee Fund in February, 1911, in respect of instalments due on the previous 1st December, while only £200 represented previous arrears. Considering that the advances in county Limerick under the Land Purchase Acts 1903–9, amount to about £2,500,000, while the chronic, as distinguished from the merely temporary arrears, amount to but £200, it is obvious that on the whole the annuities are paid with punctuality. Proceedings for the recovery of arrears are in all cases promptly taken against defaulters, and if these should fail the holdings are put up for sale. It would be impracticable to give a list of the names of every person who has been temporarily in default during the past eight years. The last annual report of the Land Commission contains at page 168 the names of eight persons in county Limerick, who were in arrear to the extent of two or more instalments. The arrears of £343 then due by those persons has now been reduced to £34.


asked the Chief Secretary whether Gunning, whom it is sought to place on a farm of 120 acres in county Meath, was originally only a caretaker on the lands he now offers to surrender for the relief of acute congestion; whether, if congestion is so acute in the district, the lands were ever given to him; and whether he is at present in receipt of a pension as an ex-policeman?


The Estates Commissioners inform me that Gunning's holding in county Galway was held by him as tenant under a Court lease, and he was in occupation of it before the sale of the property under the Land Purchase Acts. The Commissioners cannot say whether he is in receipt of a pension or not?


asked whether the price offered for the estate of the Countess de Kerveguen, county Meath, is some hundreds of pounds sterling less than the price they paid for the Brennan estate, the two estates being equal moieties of one original estate before it was partitioned; and whether the reduced price is in consequence of any depreciation in the value of land in Meath or intended to operate against the sale of grass lands?


The Estates Commissioners' estimate of price, in each case was made after an inspection of the lands. They are unable to say, whether the lands, when originally divided, were partitioned into parts of equal value as the partition was made long before the proceedings before the Commissioners were instituted.


asked the Chief Secretary whether an inspector from the Estates Commissioners visited the Nicholson estate, at Horath, county Meath; whether he interviewed Mr. J. P. Farrell, the youthful applicant for an advance; if this applicant represented himself as being twenty-three years of age; and, if so, whether any and, if so, what steps have been taken to test the accuracy of his statement; and whether the inspector inquired into the means by which he became the occupant of the farm?


I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to his question on this subject on 29th February, to which I have nothing to add at present.


asked the Secretary to the Treasury, whether holders of an Irish agricultural hereditament under any of the Land Acts, 1881 to 1909, are, for the purposes of The Finance (1909–10) Act, 1910, deemed to possess a tenancy of more than fourteen unexpired years.


A tenancy which is, or is deemed to be, subject to statutory conditions under the Land Law (Ireland) Acts does not constitute an interest in land as denned in Section 41 of the Finance (1909–10) Act, 1910. The question whether such a tenancy is in law a leasehold interest for a term exceeding fourteen years is therefore immaterial.


asked the Chief Secretary what steps have been or are being taken by the Estates Commissioners to acquire the Massy estate, Macroom, county Cork; whether agreemnts to purchase have been signed by the tenants for the past five years; under what circumstances was this estate placed in the Land Judge's Court; what negotiations have passed with the Estates Commissioners for its acquisition by them; and when does he expect that the vesting orders will be made in the tenants?


I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to his question on this subject on the 12th April last. The estate is the subject of proceedings for sale to the Estates Commissioners under Section 7 of the Act of 1903, and has not been reached in order of priority for inspection. When the estate has been inspected, and if the Commissioners' offer is accepted by the Land Judge, the tenants will in the usual course be asked to sign undertakings to purchase their holdings at the Commissioners' estimated prices. The Commissioners have no knowledge of the purchase agreements referred to in the question.


asked the amounts deducted from Government Grants to the Leitrim County Council in respect of defalcations under the Land Purchase Acts and extra police during the years 1900, 1910, and 1911, respectively; and how much of the total amount was levied on the rates?


submitted the following statement showing for the years 1909, 1910, and 1911, the amounts deducted from the Grants payable to the Leitrim County Council in respect of land purchase liability in the county and non-payment of the cost of extra police:—

Year ended 31st March. Deducted in respect of Land Purchase Liability. Deducted for Non-payment of Cost of Extra Police.
£ s. d. £ s. d.
1909 985 13 0 313 19 5
1910 731 16 8
1911 66 5 1 16 5 7

In the year ended 31st March, 1910, a sum of £523 12s. 11d. was added to the share of county Leitrim in the Estate or Death Duly Grant in respect of sums repaid on account of land purchase liability. I have no information with regard to the last paragraph of the question.


asked when will the improvement works on the Ventry estate be begun; when is it proposed to vest those lands on which no improvements will be made; and, if done before next gale day, what is the arrangement with regard to payments made since November, 1909?


The Congested Districts Board inform me that the improvement works are proceeding on the Ventry estate. The Board cannot at present state when they will be in a position to sell the holdings which do not need alteration, as the estate is not yet vested in the Board.


asked the Chief Secretary whether he will direct his attention to the Mahin Hogan estate, Lissy Casey, West Clare, where an arrangement has been arrived at which prevents some of the tenants having a fair share of turbary; and whether an inspector will be sent to confer with the tenants so that this matter may be equitably settled?


I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to his question on this subject on 26th February. The holdings have been vested in the purchasing tenants, and the Estates Commissioners cannot take any further action in the matter.


asked the Chief Secretary the cause of the delay in parcelling out to evicted tenants, uneconomic holders, and deserving labourers the remaining lands on the Fuge estate, at Templemary, county Cork, a portion of this property, having been allotted in May, 1911?


The Estates Commissioners have acquired, under the provisions of the Evicted Tenants Act, 1907, and distributed some 533 acres of the lands of Garryduff and Garraunageevoge on the estate referred to. The same owner has instituted proceedings for sale to the Commissioners of some 390 acres of untenanted land at Templemary. A proposal to purchase the lands has been issued, and, if accepted by the owner, the estate will be dealt with in order of priority.