It remains to notice certain other points of some importance. The landlord entitled to require the State to purchase his property is the immediate landlord, that is to say, the person entitled to the receipt of the rent of the estate; no encumbrancer can avail himself of the privilege, the reason being that the Bill is intended to assist solvent landlords, and not to create a new Encumbered Estates Court. The landlord may sell this privilege, and possibly by means of this power of sale may be able to put pressure on his encumbrancers to reduce their claims in order to obtain immediate payment. The Land Commission, in their character of quasi-arbitrators between the landlord and the Irish State Authority, have ample powers given to enable them to do justice. If the statutory price, as settled according to the Act, is too low, they may raise it to twenty-two years’ purchase instead of twenty years’ purchase. If it is too high, they may refuse to buy unless the landlord will reduce it to a proper price. In the congested districts scheduled in the Bill the land, on a sale, passes to the Irish State Authority, as landlords, and not to the tenants; the reason being that it is considered that the tenants would be worsened, rather than bettered, by having their small plots vested in them in fee simple. For the same cause it is provided that in any part of Ireland tenants of holdings under L4 a year may object to become the owners of their holdings, which will thereupon vest, on a sale, in the Irish State Authority. Lastly, the opportunity is taken of establishing a registry of title in respect of all property dealt with under the Bill. The result of such a registry would be that any property entered therein would ever thereafter be capable of being transferred with the same facility, and at as little expense, as stock in the public funds.
[Footnote 14: Any charge in excess of one million was to be borne by Imperial Exchequer.]
THE “UNIONIST” POSITION.
BY CANON MACCOLL