The Times, 8 December 1881
The Irish Land Court
The Sub-Commissioners sitting for the Nenagh division gave judgment to-day in the cases of “Matthew Ryan and others, tenants ; William Ryan, J.P., landlord.” In the cases of Matthew Ryan, Peter Aherne, and Joseph Aherne no question except one as to the value of the land arose, and what was the fair rent that should be fixed. In two other cases a very serious question had been raised by counsel for the landlord, who had contended that the tenants were holding under a contract of tenancy other than a yearly tenancy, and that under the 21st section of the Land Act they were, therefore, excluded from the Act. With regard to the first-mentioned case, it had been argued that the rent had remained unaltered for a very long period, 40 years, and that that should be taken as conclusive evidence of the rent being a fair one. The landlord had stated that he had never raised the rent since he became the owner of the property in the year 1837, and also that he had been paid up to last year regularly and without demur. But the Commissioners could not take that as conclusive evidence of the fair rent. They had, they said, to consider that the lands had passed through great changes, in the meantime, some having increased in value, while others had diminished. Mr. Ryan's land was subject to flooding ; there were no substantial improvements upon them ; and, taking into consideration all the circumstances, they fixed a fair rent at £66, the old rent being £80 10s. In the case of one of the holdings held by Peter Aherne, they would fix the judicial rent at £31, the old rent being £37 14s. In the case of Joseph Aherne they fixed the judicial rent at £28, the old rent being £31. There then remained the two cases in which Mr. Mattheson, the landlord's counsel, had raised the serious question with regard to their being let under the lease or contract which was in existence at the time of the passing of the Act, which consequently excluded them from the benefits of the Act. The agreement was entirely a parole agreement, a lease never having been executed or sought by one side or proferred by the other. One tenant had admitted that the landlord had said he would give him a lease, but he had never got it. The Commissioners did not consider that the contract was proven to their entire satisfaction. In one case 18 years had expired, and in the other 11 years, since the leases were first spoken of. During the whole of that time no effort had been made either by landlord or tenant to have them executed. The Commissioners held that there had been no contract of tenancy under the Act, and would fix the rent of Patrick Ryan Long at £32 (old rental £42), and in the case of Peter Aherne's bog farm, they would fix a judicial rent of £14 (old rental £20) ; no costs. The Commissioners next gave judgment in the case of “Molony, tenant ; Hamilton, landlord.” The applicant held 290 statute acres of the lands of Castlewaller, at a rent of £210 and claimed to have a fair rent fixed. The valuation was only £84. The question at issue was whether the land was demesne, and consequently exempt within the meaning of the Act. The Commissioners ruled that the lands came under the denomination of demesne lands, and dismissed the application without costs. [see also: The Irish Times, 7 December 1881]
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