Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Grazing Rights on Muckish Mountain.

asked the Minister for Lands and Fisheries if he will state the position regarding the question of the grazing rights on Muckish Mountain, Stewart Bam Estate, Co. Donegal, of the tenant farmers of the townlands of Gortnaleck, Creenasmear and Kilmacloo.

The lands of Muckish Mountain, on the Stewart Bam Estate, have been vested in the Land Commission as untenanted land. The tenants are not entitled to free grazing rights on the lands, and the charge made by the Land Commission is 1/6 per head per year.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that previous to this land being taken over by the Land Commission those tenants were paying only from six shillings to twelve shillings per year for any number of sheep grazed? Is he also aware that by putting a fee of 1s. 6d. per head for sheep grazed on the mountain side he will be placing those people in a worse position than they were in before the 1923 Land Act?

They were paying that charge only during the troubled period when the tenants were in the position to force the landlord to accept any price they offered.

That is not so. They were not paying anything like that during the troubled period. Previous to that they were paying at the rate I have mentioned.

They were paying on an average from 6s. to 10s.

Has this whole matter been investigated?

It has been fully investigated.

I received a communication about eighteen months ago from the resident inspector attached to the Land Commission in Donegal who, I understand, is now discharged, to the effect that he was seeking a return of the amounts paid two years previous to the acquisition of the estate. Has that return been received by the Land Commission?

I could not say at the moment. I am quite satisfied, however, that this matter has been fully investigated, and I am also satisfied that the charge of 1s. 6d. per head is quite reasonable.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the tenants will refuse to pay this 1s. 6d. and probably will have to sell their stock?

The Land Commission will then have to take suitable action.