§ Mr. JAMES O'KELLY
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if he is aware that Mr. Arthur O'Conor, the owner of the grazing farms known as the Palace, Shankhill, and Killvoy, situate in the parish of Elphin, wrote on recent occasions to the Congested Districts Board offering those grazing farms for sale and promising to provide all the necessary proofs or maps that might be required; and, in view of this and having regard to the peace of the parish and the destruction of private property, will he explain the meaning of the Board's hesitancy in acquiring those lands, which are needed for the removal of the prevailing local congestion?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I have nothing to add to my previous answers to questions on this subject. There has been no avoidable delay in the matter.
§ Mr. LUNDON
asked the Chief Secretary if an inspector from the Estates Commissioners valued the farm of Mr. J. Raleigh, of Ballynamuddagh, Dromin, county Limerick, tenant on the estate of Lord Langford; did his valuer reduce the purchase price; and, if so, how much was the inspector's valuation accepted by the vendors, and how do matters now stand; are the Commissioners demanding the payment of annuity according to the terms of the original puchase agreement; and, if so, why did they send an inspector to put a valuation on the place and afterwards ignore his decision; and will steps be taken to prevent injustice being done to this tenant and have the inspector's report adopted?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
This estate is the subject of proceedings for sale direct by the vendor to the tenants under the Irish Land Act, 1903. The Estates Commissioners have had an inspection made of Raleigh's holding, and have communicated to the vendor's solicitors the amount which they are prepared to advance on the security176W of the holding. The question whether the tenant should pay in cash the difference between the price agreed upon between him and the vendor, and the amount which the Commissioners are prepared to advance is a matter for arrangement between the parties. In the meantime the Commissioners are under a statutory obligation to collect the interest in lieu of rent which the tenant contracted to pay in the purchase agreement signed by him.
§ Mr. O'MALLEY
asked the Chief Secretary whether the offer made by the Congested Districts Board for the purchase of the Berridge estate, Connemara, has been accepted; and, if it has not, will he state what further action the Board or the Government may take to save the large number of tenants possessing notoriously uneconomic holdings on this estate from the consequences of the landlord's refusal?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
An offer has been made by the Congested Districts Board for this estate, but they are not at present in a position to make any further statement on the subject.
§ Mr. O'DONNELL
asked the Chief Sectary for Ireland if he will state what is the cause of the delay in vesting the Ventry estate in the Board, seeing that it was sold nearly a year and a half ago, and that it was then expected all questions of title would be over in less than twelve months; and what is the arrangement as regards payments since November, 1909, by tenants on whose lands no improvements will be made?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Estates Commissioners inform me that the agreement of the Congested Districts Board to purchase this estate is dated 2nd August, 1911. The Commissioners cannot vest the estate in the Board until certain questions which have arisen in connection with the vendor's title to sell have been disposed of by his solicitors, who are using all expedition in the matter. In accordance with the terms of provisional agreements signed by the tenants, holdings not requiring any alteration will be sold as soon as possible after the estate has been vested in the Board, and upon such sale interest at 3½ per cent. will be charged from the last gale day of 1909 to date of the sale agreements. The rent paid by the tenants in the meantime will be set off against the interest charged, and any excess due on the account will be repaid to the tenants on signing their sale agreements.177W
§ Mr. DORIS
asked (1) whether Mr. Richard Gibbons, Westport, has yet offered his estate, situate in the parish of Turlough, county Mayo, for sale to the Congested Districts Board, or has the Board communicated with him suggesting a sale, and, if so, with what result; (2) whether the Earl of Norbury has lodged with the Congested Districts Board the maps of his estate situate in the parish of Turlough, county Mayo, with a view to a sale of the property, if so, when the Board intend to have the estate valued and a price offered for it; (3) whether Mr. James Foy, of Carraward, Bohola, county Mayo, has offered his estate in Cloonturbid, Turlough parish, county Mayo, for sale to the Congested Districts Board, or has the Board communicated with him relative to a sale; (4) whether Mr. Mark Foy, Carraward, Bohola, county Mayo, has offered his estate situate at Cloontubrid, in the parish of Turlough, county Mayo, for sale to the Congested Districts Board, or has the Board communicated with him as to a sale; (5) whether Mr. John Durcan, Turlough, county Mayo, has offered his estate at Cloontubrid, parish of Turlough, county Mayo, for sale to the Congested Districts Board, or has the Board communicated with him on the subject of a sale; and (6) whether Mrs. Foy, of Bunninadden, county Sligo, has offered her estate situate at Cloonagleragh and Cloontubrid, in the parish of Turlough, county Mayo, to the Congested Districts Board for sale, or has the Board communicated with her on the subject; and, if so, with what result?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Congested Districts Board are in correspondence with the owners of the several estates referred to, and are not at present in a position to make any further statement on the subject. The relief of congestion in these districts is being dealt with by the Board as rapidly as the funds at their disposal for the purchase and improvement of estates will permit, and I would suggest to the hon. Member that he should recommend patience to his constituents, who otherwise will be bound to be greatly disappointed.