HC Deb 06 January 1916 vol 77 cc1129-31W

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if he is aware that Canon Brennan, P.P., Rathdowney, at the request of Lord Castletown's agent, Major Hamilton, prepared and lodged a scheme with the Land Commission for the division amongst the tenants of the estate of part of Lord Castletown's lands at Lisduff, Queen's County; if he is aware that the Land Commissioners' inspector visited the lands, reported in favour of the scheme, and the Land Commission approved of and sanctioned the scheme; if he is aware that Lord Castletown now refuses to proceed with the scheme notwithstanding his pledge to his tenants and Canon Brennan, and is attempting to induce the Commissioners to adopt another scheme absolutely at variance with that previously sanctioned, which new proposal contemplates dividing the lands amongst four persons, one of whom, a non-tenant, already holds 150 acres of land; and whether the Land Commission will, in the event of Lord Castletown persisting in his refusal to proceed with the scheme sanctioned by them, compel Lord Castletown to work the said lands subject to the statutory conditions binding on every tenant purchaser in Ireland, and refuse to allow him to sub-let to or sub-divide the lands amongst any persons other than the tenants included in the scheme sanctioned by the Land Commission?


I am, informed that in the case referred to Lord Castletown is the registered owner of certain lands at Lis-duff, in Queen's County, comprising 1,196 acres, 1 rood, 2 perches, a considerable portion of which is timber, all being subject to a land purchase annuity, such lands having been repurchased by him under the provisions of Section 3 of the Irish Land Act, 1903. These lands are subject to the statutory restrictions respecting sub-division without the consent of the Land Commission. More than a year ago Lord Castletown, in the interest of several tenants and adjoining tenant-purchasers, whose claims were put forward by the Rev. Canon Brennan, of Rath-downey, submitted a scheme for the subdivision of these lands, with a view of giving additional land to the extent of 511 acres, 1 rood, 38 perches, to sixty of such persons, leaving 684 acres, 3 roods, 4 perches in his own hands, including the timber. The scheme received the approval of the Commissioners, and is now on the verge of completion.

Subsequently Lord Castletown sought permission to make a further division of the land remaining in his hands, so as to provide holdings on part of it for four other persons, but the Commissioners refused their consent to this proposal. Afterwards the Rev. Canon Brennan and others proposed, with the agent's concurrence, an alternative scheme for the further division of such land amongst persons in whom they were interested. The Commissioners approved of this scheme in principle, provided it was properly put forward in detail by Lord Castletown, as owner. No such scheme has yet been put forward by Lord Castletown, and there is no scheme at present before the Land Commission for the further division of the lands.

Lord Castletown is the registered owner of the lands in question, and the Land Commission has no power to compel him to divide those lands amongst any persons or class of persons, and as there is not any application for the further division of the lands at present before the Commissioners, they cannot anticipate their ruling upon any application which may eventually come before them from Lord Castletown.