Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Land for Small Farmers.

asked the Minister for Lands if he will state whether the Land Commission will permit the sale or allocation of land, normally allotted to cottiers, to small farmers to enable them to enlarge their holdings.

In the case of proposed sale of an unvested allotment each case has to be dealt with on its own merits and if the Deputy has in mind any such case or cases he might instruct the person proposing to sell to apply to the Land Commission for permission to sell, which is the usual course. A general permission to sell in all such cases would almost certainly defeat the purpose of the Land Commission in making such allotments.

I know different cases in my own county where small farmers have bought small portions of land, we will say three acres, from a cottier and it is left unattended to for the past five years. I know one instance where the land was in conacre for the past four years.

It may be useful to inform the Deputy and other Deputies who may know similar cases that in the case of unvested allotments it should be realised that the land is still the property of the Land Commission and the person using it has not the right to sell it without the consent of the Land Commission. Those purchasing such allotments might walk into difficulties if they do not first inquire if the person owns the land. I think it would be useful if this statement of mine got publicity so that people who have in mind to purchase such allotments from cottiers and others would not find themselves in the position that they would perhaps pay portion of the purchase money for the land and then find that the Land Commission would not give their consent.