§ Sir JOHN BARRAN
asked the Chief Secretary whether he can supply, with reference to the Ashbourne Acts, 1885 to 1888, information as to the number and rental of farms now held under that Act; the number of farms which, under that Act, have become the property of the occupier; the term of years required to enable a tenant, under the rate of payment fixed, to become complete owner of his farm; the restrictions, if any, which hinder a tenant from disposing of his tenant right; the monetary or other assistance which a tenant receives from Government; the approximate number of tenants whose applications to the Land Court for the fixing of an equitable rent has not yet been settled, and the reason of such delay; and as to the extent to which these Acts have been superseded by later legislation?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Land Commission inform me that under the Land Acts, 1885 to 1888, advances amounting to £9,992,536 were made, for the purchase of 25,367 holdings, to the tenants. The number of purchasers who, on the 1st November, 1911, were paying annuities under these Acts was 25,365, and the annual amount payable was £316,078 (the term "rental" is not properly applicable). Advances under these Acts are no longer made. All the holdings sold under these Acts are the property of the tenant-purchaser, subject only to the repayment of the advance, and to any declared superior charges on the holdings. Under the Acts, 1885–8, the advances were repayable in forty-nine years by an annuity of £4 per cent., but under Section 25 of the Act of 1896 the term of repayment may at the option of the purchaser 367W be extended on the decadal revision system and the annuity reduced accordingly. The term "tenant-right" is not applicable to holdings purchased under the Land Acts. A purchaser under the Acts of 1885–8 can freely dispose of his holding subject only to the payment of the annuity and the declared charges (if any). Purchasers under the Acts of 1885–8 received no monetary assistance from the Government. On 31st October the number of applications to fix fair rents pending for hearing was 1,224, of which 1,000 were lodged during that month. These cases are being disposed of without delay. It would not be possible, within the limits of an answer to a Parliamentary question, to state the extent to which the Acts of 1885–8 have been superseded by later legislation. Advances for purchase are now made under the Act of 1903 as amended by that of 1909, to which Acts I would refer the hon. Baronet.
§ Mr. VINCENT KENNEDY
asked when and what was the name of the first estate which, sold under the 1909 Irish Land Purchase Act, was vested in the tenants; in how many cases of sales of estates under this Act has the purchase money been already paid to the vendor, giving the longest and shortest time involved in vesting the holdings and paying the purchase money to the vendors?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Estates Commissioners inform me that, excluding cases of outstanding holdings on estates the subject of proceedings for sale under the Act of 1903 at the passing of the Act of 1909, in respect of which purchase agreements were not lodged until after 15th September, 1909, and which were, therefore, financed under the Act of 1909, the first estate sold under the latter Act would appear to be that of Lady Errington, in which the Commissioners advanced the purchase money and vested the holdings in the purchasing tenants on 28th July, 1910. Up to the 23rd instant advances amounting to £889,346 have been made under the Act of 1909 in respect of 3,072 holdings situate on 394 estates. It is not possible to give the information asked for in the concluding portion of the question, but it may be stated that estates sold under the Act of 1909 are dealt with irrespective of estates agreed to be sold under the Act of 1903, and the purchase money is advanced as soon as the lands have been inspected, and the Commissioners requirements as to title, boundaries and other matters are complied with.