§ MR. JOHN ROCHE
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the fact that notices to quit have been served by the Marquess of Clanricarde on ten tenant farmers in Derrygoolan, a congested district of his Galway estate; whether the tenants served with notice to quit have have always paid, and are prepared to pay, their rents; and whether the Government will take any steps to protect these tenants.
I beg also to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that on the estate of the Marquess of Clanricarde, in the county of Galway, the tenantry are being harassed for old arrears of rent, accumulated through bad years long ago, and in many other ways; that on this estate the tenantry have by various devices been deprived of all the benefits intended by this House to be conferred on them by recent Irish Land Acts; whether he is aware that, in consequence of those proceedings, a condition of things exists on this estate which is a constant menace to the public peace; and whether the Government will consider the desirability of introducing a special Bill to deal with the situation at present existing on the Clanricarde estate.
The Estates Commissioners inform me that they have no knowledge of the facts alleged in these two Questions, and I have, therefore, no official information at my disposal which would enable me to answer the Questions. The Government have no legal power to interfere for the protection of the tenants mentioned. The hon. Member will, I think, appreciate the difficulty there would be in introducing legislation in regard to a particular estate.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
asked whether this was not a matter affecting the Land Commission rather than the Estates Commission, and why, if these people paid their rent, "this man should be allowed to upset the whole community."
did not suppose that the Land Commission could give him any further information than the Estates Commission. Certainly they had no more power to interfere.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
asked whether the proper people to apply to for information were not the local police. How could a question of this kind come to the knowledge of either the Estates or the Land Commissson?
said that he, of course, received reports from the police as to what happened, but, as the hon. Gentleman would understand, there were serious difficulties in the way of making the police report on land conditions.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
Are we to understand that Lord Clanricarde, his tenants being perfectly willing to pay their rents, is to be at liberty to evict ten men for no cause whatever—
§ * MR. KILBRIDE (Kildare, S.)
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware that not many years ago several Unionists in Ireland suggested that a Bill should be brought in for the compulsory expropriation of Lord Clanricarde.
I am aware of this, that any disorder is the worst thing that can happen in the interests of the Irish tenants.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Lord Clanricarde has been called in a court of justice a standing menace to the peace of the country?
§ * MR. KILBRIDE
Will the right hon. Gentleman lend the forces of the Crown to evict the tenants in these cases?
§ MR. JOHN ROCHE
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the case of John Madden, a tenant of Lord Clanricarde's, in the parish of Portuma, county of Galway; whether he is aware that John Madden had been served with an ejectment on the 28th September, 1905, and decreed that in accordance with the provisions of the Act of 1896, Madden paid two years' rent and costs on the 22nd May, 1906, and thereby stayed the ejectment, and that on the 28th May, 1906, a writ from the Superior Courts was served on Madden, claiming the year's rent and costs; and whether the Irish Government will take any steps to protect tenants from such treatment.
The Estates Commissioners inform me that they have no knowledge of the matter referred to, but so far as I can judge from the documents which the hon. Member has sent for my inspection, the facts appear to be substantially as stated in the Question. The Government have no power to interfere in legal proceedings which may be taken by a landlord for the recovery of rent.
§ MR. DILLON
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this House introduced a special clause into an Act of Parliament 949 to protect tenants on this precise information from eviction? Is not this a direct evasion of the Act?