§ Mr. KERR-SMILEY
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that occupiers of land acquired compulsorily by the Ballymoney Rural District Council under the Labourers (Ireland) Acts, 1883 to 1911, are unable to obtain the purchase money awarded to them in respect of same, because the fee allowed by the Local Government Board for submitting their titles to the land to the council is a sum of 10s 6d., and no solicitor will undertake the work for this sum; whether he is aware that the rural district council have repeatedly requested the Local Government Board to permit them to pay the solicitors concerned a reasonable sum for preparing these titles for occupiers and that that body have refused, with the result that in one case where the purchase money was lodged in the county court owing to the action of the Local Government Board the county court judge awarded the occupier costs amounting to £10 for drawing same out of court, and as this sum is about four times more than the reasonable costs of making title would have amounted to, and as there are some five or six other similar cases in the last scheme provided by the council, whether he will cause inquiry to be made and make arrangements whereby such costs and consequent loss to the ratepayers may be avoided, and thus prevent the legal costs in these cases, amounting to almost as much as the amount of purchase money?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The facts generally are as stated. The prescribed fee for deducing title to the occupation interest is 10s. 6d., and, if the occupier is unable or declines to show his title to receive the compensation money awarded, the Acts provide for the lodgment of the money in court. With regard to the statement that no solicitor will undertake the work for this fee, there appears to be an organised resistance on the part of the solicitors in this rural district to force the Local Government Board to allow higher fees or taxed costs in the case of mere occupiers as in the case of owners and lessees. If effect were given to this proposal it would2030W considerably increase the legal expenses of such schemes. The rural district council have requested the Board to permit them to pay the solicitors a higher fee for preparing titles in the case of occupiers, but the Board are not empowered by law to do so.
§ Mr. VINCENT KENNEDY
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if he will say whether a large area of unoccupied land in the townland of Pottle, near Arva, county Cavan, is for sale; and, if so, will he direct the Estates Commissioners to endeavour to acquire this and other unoccupied land readily procurable in the county for the purpose of enlarging uneconomic holdings and finally disposing of the evicted tenants question in county Cavan?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Estates Commissioners acquired some eighty-two acres of untenanted land situate in the townland of Pottle, on the estate of Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital, and have distributed same. They also instituted proceedings for the acquisition of some eighty-eight acres of the lands of Pottle on the estate of E. McManus, under the provisions of the Evicted Tenants Act, and made an offer for them. On appeal, under the Act, the price was increased to a sum which the Commissioners were not prepared to advance, and they accordingly discontinued their proceedings for the acquisition of the lands. The application of the county Cavan evicted tenants whose names have been noted for consideration in the allotment of untenanted land acquired by the Commissioners, and who have not yet been provided with holdings, will be dealt with as soon as practicable.
§ Mr. HACKETT
asked the Chief Secretary whether he can state the cause of the delay in advancing the purchase money on the estate of Nathaniel Hone, Esquire, situated in county Tipperary and King's county; whether the agreements were signed and lodged on the 20th March, 1906; and whether he can state when this estate will be dealt with?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Estates Commissioners inform me that this estate is the subject of proceedings for sale direct by the owner to the tenants under the Irish Land Act 1903. The purchase agreements were lodged in May, 1906, and the estate is on the principal register of direct sales (all cash). It will be dealt with when it is reached in order of priority.