CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - ACQUISITION OF ROSCOMMON FARMS.

asked the Minister for Fisheries if he is aware that certain persons became Bank Guarantors for a considerable sum of money some years ago for the purchase of lands known as the Bredagh and Carrowkeel farms (Co. Roscommon), in the vicinity of Dysart, Ballinasloe; that these lands have not been for some years past in the possession of the Bank Guarantors, and that the persons enjoying possession are not making a reasonable attempt to meet the Guarantors' liabilities, and whether, as the Land Commission agreed to take over those lands for division, as far back as the 1st of February, 1925, the Minister will state why the completion of the sale and the division of the land is held up since that time, while the bank interest is mounting up against the Guarantors, who have no say in the management of the farms.

It appears that in 1904 a Committee purchased the lands of Bredagh and Carrowkeel, subject to an apportioned annual fee-farm rent of £151. The Bank of Ireland lent the purchase money on mortgage. In 1920 another body of persons known as the "Bredagh Claimants" dispossessed the "Old Trustees" and laid claim to the lands before the Dáil Eireann Land Settlement Commission Court. This Court directed that a valuer should ascertain the persons best entitled to benefit by the division of the lands, and should fix the price of each allotment, upon payment of which the "Old Trustees" were to convey the lands to the selected allottees.

By a later judgment the Court ordered the "Old Trustees" to convey the lands to the Bredagh Claimants on payment by the latter of £1,450, out of which sum the "Old Trustees" were to pay off the bank mortgage. In January. 1922, after further proceedings, it was ordered and declared that the lands were held by the "Old Trustees" in trust to relieve congestion in the parishes of Dysart and Ballyforan, for the benefit of the poor in these parishes, and the case was referred to the Land Department to settle a scheme for administration of the Trust.

Eventually Mr. Justice Wylie directed, in July, 1925, in connection with the proceedings under the Dáil Eireann Courts (Winding-Up) Act, that proceedings be stayed pending the acquisition and distribution of the lands by the Land Commission; and he gave liberty to the parties in the "winding-up" proceedings to make such application on the allocation of the purchase money in the Land Commission Court as they might be respectively advised. In January, 1925, the Land Commission gazetted the lands for acquisition, and in February, 1926, the Judicial Commissioner affirmed the price fixed by the Land Commission at £4,344.

It appears, however, that the "Bredagh Claimants" mentioned above are in possession of the lands, and more than £400 is due for income tax since 1920. The poor rates for period ending 31st March last were obtained by seizure.

A scheme for the distribution of the lands has received the approval of the Commissioners and could be put into operation if the arrears of income tax were discharged.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary say why is the matter being held up?

The owners have got their remedy if they care to avail of Section 6 of the Finance Act, 1927, by making application for relief to the Minister for Finance.