asked the Minister for Lands if, in view of the recent representations made to him, he is now prepared to recommend to the Land Commission that the arable lands in the Tourmakeady area, County Mayo, which are in the hands of the Forestry Division, be divided among local uneconomic tenants.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Division of Mayo Lands.
Following representations made to me some time ago on this question I have examined the matter. In view of the fact that the area of arable land is small and surrounded by plantations, it would be entirely undesirable to allot it because of the great risk of fire to the forest.
However, I have asked the Land Commission to take steps to relieve the congestion in the area by other means as soon as possible.
In view of the fact that the surrounding uneconomic holders have an average valuation of only £1 5s., will the Minister not consider the request of the local people to have this arable land divided between them? I understand that the Minister recently undertook to have this land divided. Is that so?
The group of people interested met me and I had the matter examined. I found there was only a small area concerned. The total area that could be handed over to the Land Commission for the relief of congestion in that district would be only about five roods, with the exception of a fairly long plot of about two acres right in the heart of a forest, and access to which could be gained only by travelling one and a half miles through the forest. Taking everything into consideration—the small amount of the arable land available and the difficulty of access to it—I decided it would not make any appreciable dent in the congestion problem there. It is obvious that the congestion in that area must be tackled on a much bigger scale by the Land Commission. The amount of land available would not be sufficient to help even one family; it would not bring the valuation of that family's holding up to £10.
Did the Minister undertake a few weeks ago to make this land available for the relief of congestion?
I undertook to have the question examined.