asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that the Colonel O'Hara estate, in the Loughrea union, county Galway, has been purchased by the Congested Districts Board, and that the place was surrendered a few years ago by Mr. James Palmer, who held it for twenty years, and taken over by a man named Keary in the interests of the small landholders of the locality to be utilised by them until the striping could take place; whether he is aware that there are several uneconomic holdings in the immediate vicinity, some of which do not exceed four acres; whether he is aware that this grazing farm has been handed over to a merchant in Loughrea; that three small tenants who got seven, nine, and seven acres, respectively, of the worst portion of this farm were compelled to pay £3 per acre as a fine to this merchant; and, if so, was this money retained by him or handed over to the Congested Districts Board; and whether, in view of the congestion in that neighbourhood, he will ask this gentleman to surrender the portion of this grazing which he now holds in the interests of the uneconomic landholders of the place?
The estate referred to was sold by the landlord 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. Mr. James Palmer signed an agreement for the purchase of his holding in the town-land of Ardnadoman containing some seventy acres, and subsequently assigned his interest in the lands to Mr. William Duffy, M.P., in whom the lands were vested under the Land Purchase Acts on the 29th May, 1913. Mr. Duffy subsequently applied to the Land Commission for permission to subdivide them; the Land Commission sanctioned a division in four parts, and apportioned the land purchase annuity accordingly. Mr. Duffy has retained one portion, and has transferred the other three portions, subject to the apportioned annuities to three purchasers. The Commissioners have no information as regards the other matters referred to in the question.