§ MR. MAURICE HEALY
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in view of the fact that fair rent applications served for 17 months in County Cork are still unheard, that the cases heard from that county in the year 1897 were considerably less than half the number served in the same period, that the staff of Assistant Commissioners is so limited as to allow only one lay Commissioner for the fixing of the rents of the whole county of Cork (the largest in Ireland), and that at the present rate of progress it will take that gentleman three years to dispose merely of the applications already lodged, steps will now be taken by the Lord Lieutenant to so increase the staff of Assistant Commissioners as to enable fair rent applications to be disposed of with reasonable dispatch?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
It is the fact that during the last year the number of cases heard in the county of Cork was less than half those received in the same period, and that only one lay Assistant Commissioner was then employed. It does not follow that he will be left unassisted for the next three years as implied by the Question. The Commissioners have distributed the members of the Assistant Commissioners' Staff with full consideration of the requirements of each district, having regard to the dates and number of applications pending. As at present advised, I am not prepared to recommend a further increase in the staff of Assistant Commissioners, and certainly not before I have had an opportunity of 1057 considering the Report of the Royal Commission presided over by Sir Edward Fry.