CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - GALWAY PLANTATION LANDS.

asked the Minister for Lands and Agriculture if he will state how much per acre the Department paid for the lands of Aughrane, Ballygar, County Galway; if he is aware that those lands which had been meadowed for several years past were sold by public auction at a high price; that this land is good arable land, and if, in view of same being badly needed by the people in that locality (who have petitioned both the Irish Land Commission and the Minister himself more than once), he will reconsider the decision to plant those lands, and, instead, divide them amongst the people, and also purchase the several hundreds of acres in that part of the County Galway which are not suitable for any purpose other than planting.

The price per acre, after making allowance for the cost of standing timber and buildings, averaged £2 7s. 0d. Meadowing on an unplanted portion of about 130 acres in area was sold by auction in July last at £57 7s. 6d., that is, at a little under 9/- per acre. The area in question is not good arable land. As to the suggestion of dividing the land, I would refer the Deputy to the reply given by me to a similar question by him on 8th instant.

As to the concluding portion of the question, the Department will be glad to give full consideration to any offers which may be made to them in respect of lands in County Galway suitable for afforestation purposes.

May I take it from the Minister's reply that it is the intention of the Department of Lands and Agriculture to plant good, arable land and to leave waste land go waste and remain waste?

Mr. HOGAN

The Deputy is begging the question. It is not good, arable land. It is set for meadowing at 8/9 per acre.

When you are finished planting it you will find that all the plants will be taken up again.