HC Deb 22 December 1916 vol 88 cc1859-60W
Lieutenant ARCHDALE

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that two tenants on the estate of E. W. B. Weir, Record No. E.G. 6060, county Fermanagh, named Robert and Samuel Virtue, of Lavaran, Kesh, in the county of Fermanagh, made application to the Estates Commissioners for the purchase of their holdings; whether it is the usual custom of the Estates Commissioners when an estate is being sold on which there are a few tenants who do not agree to accept the terms agreed on by the rest of the tenants to investigate all the circumstances of those cases and settle the disputes between them and the owner; whether, in the case of Robert and Samuel Virtue, the boundaries were incorrectly described, which incorrectness was confirmed by the inspector of the Estates Commissioners on his visiting the lands, and was subsequently admitted by the solicitors for the owner in correspondence with the solicitors for the tenants: whether, in consequence of this mistake, the tenants refused to sign purchase agreements until their area was rectified, and as a result of this refusal they were excluded from the sale of the estate; whether they have repeatedly expressed their willingness to purchase their holdings on the terms recommended by the Estates Commissioners' inspector, but the owner refuses to sell to them on these terms; and whether any action is to be taken in the matter?


The proceedings for sale of this estate were instituted by the owner direct to the tenants under the Irish Land Act, 1903, and purchase agreements at prices agreed upon between the parties were lodged with the Estates Commissioners. When the inspector visited the property he ascertained that the Virtues had been offered the same terms as the other judicial tenants, and that they disputed the ownership of a certain plot. The holdings, with the exception of the plot in dispute, are held subject to judicial rents, and the prices at which the owner offered to sell were within the prescribed zonal limits. It is not the duty of the Estates Commissioners to settle disputes when the parties will not agree, and, as purchase agreements were not signed by the tenants in question, their holdings could not be included in the lands sold by the vendor, but it is open to the parties when they have come to terms to sign purchase agreements under the Land Purchase Acts.