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Land Purchase (Ireland)

Volume 65: debated on Tuesday 21 July 1914

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70.

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if his attention has been called to the address of Lord Chief Baron Pallas to the grand jury at Mayo Assizes on the 16th instant, in which he said that while upwards of two-thirds of the county, in which land purchase was completed, was in a most satisfactory condition, a state of great unrest and agitation prevailed in the remainder of the county owing to delays in the purchase of congested estates, and that steps should be taken with the assistance of the Treasury to enable the Congested Districts Board to carry out their duties under the Land Acts, as otherwise they would never have peace in the county; has he received a copy of the resolution subsequently passed by the grand jury expressing concurrence with the Lord Chief Baron's remarks, stating that the delay in land purchase is due to the failure of the Treasury to provide the necessary funds, and earnestly requesting the Treasury to provide such funds; and whether the Treasury intend to comply with this request, so that the discontented people may no longer be deprived of the relief and benefits intended for them by the Land Act of 1909?

79.

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if his attention has been directed to the address of the Lord Chief Baron to the grand jury at the opening of the Mayo Assizes at Castlebar on the 15th instant, wherein his lordship, reviewing the condition of the county, stated that he was informed by the county inspector of police that, as regards two-thirds of its area, the county compared favourably with any other county in Ireland, but that, as regards less than one-third, there was considerable unrest, due to the backward condition of land purchase in these parts; whether he is aware that his lordship said that these people see their neighbours in comparative plenty and pleasure, enjoying ownership, whilst they remained tenants in misery and poverty, and added that, so long as these contrasts continued, they would never have peace in the county; and whether, seeing that the grand jury subsequently by resolution unanimously endorsed the statement of his lordship and made representations to the Irish Government and to the Treasury on the subject, urging the completion of land purchase in the interests of peace and good relations between landowners and tenants, he will say what steps he proposes taking to have immediate effect given to these recommendations?

88.

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if he has read a report of the address delivered by Lord Chief Baron Pallas to the grand jury at Mayo Assizes on the 15th instant, in which he said that unrest and agitation prevailed in about a third of the county owing to financial delays on the part of the Congested Districts Board in the purchase of congested estates and suggesting that, in the interest of the peace of the county, steps should be taken to enable the Congested Districts Board to carry out all their duties in reference to the tenants on such estates; has he received a copy of the resolution passed subsequently by the grand jury expressing concurrence with the Lord Chief Baron's remarks, stating that the delay in financing completed and pending sales is due to the failure of the Treasury to provide the funds required for land purchase, and earnestly requesting the Treasury to provide such funds so that sales may be completed; why the Treasury refuse to advance the funds necessary to complete sales under the Land Act of 1909; and what steps the Government propose to take in the matter?

My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer this question, and I will answer it with the similar questions, No. 79 and 88. I have seen the newspaper report referred to, and I have received a copy of the resolutions passed by the grand jury of county Mayo. The Congested Districts Board have definitely purchased and have concluded binding agreements for the purchase of 247 estates in Mayo. The area of these estates is 822,103 acres, and the purchase price £3,218,280. It is obvious that in transactions of such magnitude and affecting such a large number of estates considerable time must be occupied in the necessary valuation surveys, negotiations, and the other proceedings inevitable in the transfer of ownership of land. The Board is making all possible exertions to carry out the purchase of estates in county Mayo, and the delay caused by legal difficulties and procedure, as well as by the necessary proceedings I have just referred to, is much greater than any delay occasioned by financial difficulties, which I hope may be surmounted. It is only fair to state that on no occasion whatever has the Treasury refused to issue stock necessary to complete sales under the Land Act of 1909.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he has received any representations from the Mayo grand jury, as representing the landlords of the county of Mayo, that they are prepared to accept the principle of compulsion with regard to purchase and sale of estates in lieu of being paid in cash?

No, I have not received any such representations, but I have no doubt that they are quite willing to be paid in cash.

Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether something will be done for the loyal parts of the country in regard to land purchase?

80.

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he still expects to get his Irish Land Bill passed this Session; if not, whether the obstacles he is unable to surmount are on the tenants' side or on that of the landlords; and what the intentions of the Government now are with regard to this problem, the urgency of which he has repeatedly acknowledged?

I regret that in the absence of any general agreement it has not been found possible to proceed with this Bill this Session. I am not prepared to say who is responsible for the fact that an agreement has not yet been arrived at, but I hope that an arrangement may be come to between the parties in time to enable the Bill to be reintroduced next Session.

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman say with whom he was negotiating and whether the tenants or any one on their behalf interposed any obstacle whatever to the Bill?

No, Sir, I cannot. All I can say is that an agreement has not been arrived at.

81.

asked whether the Congested Districts Board have made an offer for the purchase of the estate of Mr. Francis C. Garvey, Murrisk Abbey, county Mayo; and, if so, with what result?

The Congested Districts Board have made an offer for the purchase of the estate referred to which has not so far been accepted. Negotiations have been postponed pending settlement of questions raised by the Land Commission.

82.

asked what steps the Congested Districts Board have taken to acquire the congested estate of Lord Vaux, in Mayo county?

The Congested Districts Board have had the estate referred to valued, and they have decided to make an offer for purchase which will be issued as soon as practicable.

83.

asked what progress has been made by the Congested Districts Board in the proceedings or negotiations for purchase of the estate of. Mr. Patrick O'Dowd, J. P., in West Mayo?

The Congested Districts Board have had this estate valued, and they have decided to make an offer for purchase which will be issued as soon as practicable.

84.

asked what progress had been made in the negotiations for purchase by the Congested Districts Board of the congested estates of Mrs. Pike and the trustees of the Achill Mission, in Achill, county Mayo?

The Congested Districts Board have decided to make offers for the purchase of the estates referred to, and they will be issued as soon as practicable.

85.

asked whether Mrs. Agnes M'Donnell has accepted the offer of the Congested Districts Board for the purchase of her estate in Achill, county Mayo; and, if not, will the Board take immediate steps to acquire this congested estate compulsorily?

The Congested Districts Board have not yet issued an offer for the purchase of this property.