Wednesday, 8 November 1972
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mrs. Burke: asked the Minister for Lands if the Land Commission have made inquiries concerning the acquisition of an estate (details supplied) in County Roscommon; and, if so, the decision, if any, reached in the matter.
Mr. S. Flanagan: The Land Commission recently carried out a detailed  inspection of the property referred to following which they decided not to institute proceedings for acquisition. In response to a subdivision application by the owner the Land Commission have consented to the sale of the greater part of the holding to a purchaser approved of by them.
Mr. S. Flanagan: According to the information I have here, they feel that they have sufficient land on another estate nearby to satisfy local congestion. They also felt that they would have considerable difficulty in disposing of at least 50 acres of the property about which the Deputy raised the question because it is subject to flooding and would not be considered by the local congests as being suitable land.
Mrs. Burke: Is the Minister aware that this 77 acres of land was sold for less than £5,000? I am terribly surprised at the Minister. I think he should know more about this area. He represented it at one time. He realises I am sure, as well as I do, that the local estate which is not divided yet would not be sufficient for the congests in the area and that this 77 acres would be a great help. I warned the Land Commission several months ago that there would be trouble in this area if the Land Commission did not acquire this estate and the Minister must be aware now that there is trouble brewing in this area. I would ask him at this point to ask the Land Commission to acquire this estate for division among the congests in the interests of justice and fair play.
Mr. S. Flanagan: The Deputy's observations on this matter will be brought to the notice of the Land Commission. I thought from something that Deputy Burke said earlier on that she was making some personal criticism of me in connection with this matter. I do not know on what grounds the Deputy makes that allegation.
Mr. Donnellan: Is the Minister aware that the individual who bought this estate is employed by Roscommon County Council as a public health inspector and that he is also a publican in Ballaghaderreen? His name is Thomas McGarry and he is a Fianna Fáil hatchetman. Is the Minister aware of these things?
Mr. S. Flanagan: Deputy Donnellan has named somebody, which is not very much to Deputy Donnellan's credit. There is not very much Deputy Donnellan can say to his own credit. Is the Deputy making an allegation about this particular person or about some member of the Fianna Fáil organisation or about Fianna Fáil?
Mr. Donnellan: The Minister sanctioned the sale of this land to an individual who is not a farmer and there are other people in that area who are already employed in agriculture and who are more entitled to that land than the individual to whom the sale of the land was sanctioned.
Mr. Donnellan: He has a public house in Ballaghaderreen and he is an official of Roscommon County Council and at the same time he is supposed to be more entitled to this land than the people in the area.
Mr. L'Estrange: Is it Government or Land Commission policy at present to sanction the sale of land to people, in this particular case a man who already has a good local government position and is the owner of a public house, when there are uneconomic holders in the area crying out for land?
Mr. L'Estrange: ——of the number of speculators in my own county and in Roscommon and other counties who have nothing to do with land and who are purchasing land and the local farmers cannot purchase it against them because many of them represent investment companies? Is it the Land Commission's policy to sanction the purchase  of land by those particular people? Is the Minister aware that he promised six or eight months ago that he would bring in legislation——
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