§ MR. O'DOWD (Sligo, S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that since the passing of the Land Act of 1903, many large grazing farms in the West of Ireland have been purchased by non-residential graziers; and, if so, what steps the Government propose to take in order to put an end to this practice, which means the sale to individuals of lands which should be utilised for the relief of congestion in Connaught.
The Estates Commissioners inform me that in any case in which a grazier holds on the eleven months system, they make no advance to enable him to purchase the holding, as he is not a tenant within the meaning of the Act. In any case in which a grazier is a tenant within the meaning of the Act, the Commissioners will exercise the discretion given to them by the Act, as to whether such a tenancy should be included in the estate for the purposes of purchase, and, if included, whether the advance prescribed by the Land Purchase Amendment Act of 1888, namely £3,000, should be exceeded. In cases in which new tenancies are created by letting lands to graziers or others in a Congested Districts county, the Estates Commissioners, under Section 53 of the Land Purchase Act of 1903, can only advance a maximum of £500 in each case. If a landlord creates new tenancies on untenanted land, whether in congested or non-congested districts, by putting the untenanted land up for auction in parcels and then selling to the buyers under the Land Purchase Acts, thus depriving the Commissioners of the opportunity of 292 disposing of such parcels to the classes of persons contemplated by the Act, the Commissioners refuse to allow such parcels to be included in an estate for the purposes of the Act.