§ Mr. HACKETT
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether J. W. Langley has refused the offer of the Estates Commissioners to purchase his untenanted lands at Knockanure, Record No. E. C. 9,907, Section K; whether the owner is at present engaged negotiating the sale of the lands by private sale for grazing purposes; whether such sale is in accordance with the Irish land laws giving the purchaser the right to have a fair rent fixed by the Irish Land Commission, as well as the right to purchase the fee simple under the Land Purchase Acts, 1903 and 1909; and whether, in view of the congested state of the district, together with the necessity for a larger area under crops in order to increase the food supply of the district, he will direct the Estates Commissioners to acquire this estate under the congested Clauses of the Land Act, 1909, so that the land may be acquired by the uneconomic landholders and used by them for the purpose of producing a greater supply of food?
§ Mr. DUKE
The Estates Commissioners have been informed by the owner's solicitor that his client could not accept the proposal of the Commissioners for the purchase of lands comprised in this estate, as the price offered in Guaranteed 3 per Cent. Stock was, in his opinion, too low and would not pay off the incumbrances. The solicitor asked at the same time whether the Commissioners would be prepared to make an offer for, say, 200 acres of the lands, and stated that in the event of the Commissioners not purchasing, his client would endeavour to sell by private contract. The Commissioners have asked him to furnish them with particulars of the 200 acres to which he refers. There is nothing in the Land Law Acts preventing an owner from creating tenancies, and under those Acts the tenants so created can have 1495W judicial rents fixed, but such tenants can not purchase their holdings under the Land Purchase Acts, having regard to Section 16 of the Irish Land Act, 1909, which provides that no advance shall be made under the Land Purchase Acts in respect of the purchase of a holding where the tenancy has been created after 15th September, 1909. In present financial conditions the Commissioners have deferred exercising their limited powers for the compulsory acquisition of lands under the Irish Land Act, 1909.
§ Mr. HACKETT
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that five men from the South Riding, county Tipperary, were indicted for arson and conspiracy at the late Munster Assizes held in Cork, on a charge arising out of the sale of a portion of the evicted lands of Cloneyross, Rossmore, county Tipperary; whether he can state the terms and conditions upon which these lands were disposed of by the late owner-in-fee to the present occupiers whose names were mentioned in connection with the offence committed by the defendants; whether the sale of this and other estates about to be sold on similar terms in county Tipperary tend to create a new system of landlordism; what percentage of the land is to be used for food production; and if he will direct the Estates Commissioners to acquire all such lands for the purpose of increasing the food supply at least during the War?
§ Mr. DUKE
The facts are as stated in the first part of the question. I am informed that the owner divided the lands in question, which are mainly used for grazing, into plots and offered them for sale during the past twelve months. So far, he is stated to have disposed of three plots, the price in one case being £300 and a rental of £8 per annum. The terms in the other cases are not known. The steps which should be taken to increase food supply are engaging the attention of various departments of the Government.
§ Mr. HACKETT
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland, whether he can state the number and cost to the Exchequer of the extra police required to protect the persons who have purchased portion of the evicted lands of Cloneyross; and whether, in order to restore peace in the district, he will direct the Estates Commissioners to acquire the lands in dispute in order to avert further trouble in this district?