asked the Minister for Lands why a small farmer (name supplied) in County Sligo with a valuation of £5 10s on land and eight children was not allowed to buy land beside him; and why the Land Commission took this land and gave it to a person who had no family, although the Land Commission have in their possession about 100 acres of land in the area from which they transferred this latter man.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Sligo Estate.
The facts in this case are not as stated by the Deputy. The Land Commission had no evidence that the small farmer mentioned in the question was anxious to purchase the 34-acre holding beside him. As far back as November, 1964, the Land Commission instituted proceedings for the acquisition of this holding and these proceedings are still extant. The owner's objection, after being adjourned on a number of occasions, was last heard by the Commissioners in open court at Sligo on 21st May, 1968. At that hearing a proposal was put forward that the man described by the Deputy as having no family be allowed to purchase the holding and that he in turn would sell his adjoining 21-acre holding to the Land Commission for the relief of congestion. The Commissioners having heard details of the transaction announced that this man was at liberty to go ahead with the proposal as outlined and that they would adjourn a final order until the necessary arrangements were completed. In the meantime the Land Commission have reached agreement on price for the purchase of the 21-acre holding and possession will be taken as soon as the owner's title has been cleared. When they come to prepare a scheme for the division of the lands, the Land Commission will give full consideration to the needs of the small farmer referred to by the Deputy.
The Land Commission already have on hands an area of 41 acres in this locality and negotiations are in progress for the purchase of another property containing 70 acres.
Do I understand from the Minister that the Land Commission did not give the land to this man but they allowed him to buy it?
That is right.
Would the Minister tell us why the Land Commission did not allow the man with a small farm, and a family, adjoining this land to buy the land instead of allowing this individual in from an area in which there was plenty of land?
Our information is that this man at no time made any attempt to buy this farm.
Is the Minister aware that this man offered £2,600 for the land and was informed by a Land Commission agent that he was foolish in buying it because he would get it anyway? I am sure the Minister will agree with me that this is disgraceful conduct which will have to be stopped.
What the Deputy says is not in accordance with the information I have. The information I have is that, so far as the Land Commission are aware, this man showed no interest at all in buying this farm.
That is not my information.