CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - ACQUISITION OF LEIX LANDS.

asked the Minister for Lands and Agriculture if the Land Commission has decided not to acquire the estate of Peter G. Alley (Record S/2536), Knockaroo, Ballybrophy, Leix; whether he is aware that Mr. Alley is the owner of two other farms in the same county; if he will state the grounds upon which Mr. Alley based his opposition to the acquisition of the lands at Knockaroo and the reason why the Land Commission declined to acquire these lands for distribution amongst the large number of uneconomic holders and landless men in the district.

Mr. HOGAN

A provisional list of the lands of Peter G. Alley, which would, if not excluded in consequence of a valid objection, become vested in the Land Commission on the appointed day, was published in Iris Oifigiúil on the 13th February, 1925. The lands comprised 170 statute acres of the townlands of Knockaroo and Kilcotton, County Leix. An objection to the acquisition of the lands was lodged by the owner and the matter came before the Land Commissioners judicially on the 6th November, 1925. They decided, on the evidence submitted in Court, to take no further action regarding the acquisition of these lands for the present.

Proceedings are pending before the Commissioners for the acquisition of other lands more suitable for their purposes in the same locality, which it is expected will be ample to relieve the local congestion at present existing.

Would the Minister supply particulars of the other lands in the locality which the Commissioners propose to acquire? Would be also say why the solicitor acting on behalf of the local uneconomic holders who made application to the Commission for portions of this land, was not advised of the hearing that took place before the Commissioners and would he say if these uneconomic holders were not entitled to be represented by their solicitor when this objection was raised by the owner of the lands? The solicitor, I understand, wrote two or three letters on the question, but got no reply.

Mr. HOGAN

I will certainly give the names of the other lands which the Commissioners are inquiring about, but I have not the names at the moment. With regard to the second portion of the question, the case would be between the Land Commission, on the one side, and the owner of the lands on the other. The Land Commission represents the tenants. A group of tenants would have no standing at the hearing. The Land Commission is there to represent the tenants' point of view, while the owner represents his own view.

Does the Minister not propose to give information regarding the grounds on which this particular individual opposed the acquisition of this portion of his lands?

Mr. HOGAN

That is another supplementary.

It is in the question.

Mr. HOGAN

The giving of that information would take a long time This case was argued for two or three days before the Commissioners, and various relevant reasons were considered by the Commissioners. The Deputy could hardly expect me to give all these reasons. Speaking generally, if the Deputy's point of view is that no man should have a second farm under any circumstances, then I understand his difficulty.

Is it the Minister's contention that I am not entitled to the general grounds on which the owner opposed the acquisition of the lands?

Mr. HOGAN

That is not my contention. My contention is that it is a matter of practice. It would be very difficult for me to give by question and answer the reasons not only in this case, but in any case that comes before the Commissioners. This is a case that took two or three days to argue.