§ MR. D. MACALEESE (Monaghan, N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he could state the total number, the annual amount, the amount of arrears of the tithe-rent charges which have been lost to the Church Property Department of the Irish Land Commission since the passing of the Church Act; and could he state the cause of such losses, and if any, and what steps have been taken to prevent further loss?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The Land Commission inform me that it would not be possible to give the details desired in the Question without an examination of the annual accounts for the past 25 years. As already explained, however, to the hon. Member for North Cork on 4th May last, the amount of tithe rent-charge remitted or written off as irrecoverable between the passing of the Irish Church Act, 1869, and 31st March 1895, amounted to £16,061, of which £6,021 represented the amount remitted to tithe-payers pursuant to the 1311 provisions of the 17th Section of the Arrears of Rent Act, 1882. The remaining amount of £10,040 was chiefly made up of arrears of small charges, often amounting to a few pence, and seldom exceeding £1 per annum, generally payable in respect of small freeholds of peasant occupiers. During the same period the tithe rent-charge collected and recovered by legal process has amounted to considerably more than half a million pounds per annum. On this basis, the total collection throughout the past 26 years would, roughly, amount to about £13,000,000, and the percentage of the sum of £10,040 written off as irrecoverable on the total collection would be about .08.