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The Leinster Estate Tenants: A Precedent for Ireland? |

The Leinster Estate Tenants: A Precedent for Ireland?

Limerick serves as a contrasting backdrop to the Leinster Estate and its tenants. While the Leinster Estate tenants grapple with concerns regarding land purchase and excessive prices, the farmers in Limerick find themselves in a different situation altogether.

Limerick’s agricultural landscape, comprised of diverse farms, stands in stark contrast to the predominantly large farms on the Leinster Estate. The farmers in Limerick may not face the same challenges as their Leinster counterparts, as their farms vary in size and ownership structures. The mention of Limerick in this story serves to highlight the regional variations in Ireland’s agricultural sector and the distinct circumstances faced by farmers in different parts of the country.

Furthermore, Limerick’s historical significance, particularly its nationalist sentiment during the Land League times, adds depth to the conversation. The average price paid for land in Limerick, as indicated by the Land Commission returns, becomes a point of reference in assessing the fairness of land purchases. It becomes apparent that Limerick, alongside Clare, Cork, and Tipperary, paid a comparable price, possibly influenced by their nationalist fervor, while the northern counties exhibited a different trend.

Thus, Limerick, with its unique agricultural landscape and historical context, provides a contrasting perspective that contributes to the broader discussion on land purchase and fair pricing across Ireland. It underscores the importance of considering regional nuances and historical factors when evaluating the implications of land policies and negotiations.

The recent establishment of an example by the tenants on the Leinster Estate has sparked a debate that seems disconnected from the concerns of farmers in Limerick. The Leinster Estate tenants, with their landlord receiving a generous 2% and a purchase period of 29 years, do not reflect the reality of the majority of farmers in Ireland. It is important to note that the farms on the Leinster Estate were primarily large farms, owned by prominent grazers, and the purchase prices in this specific case should not be applied universally throughout the country.

The success or failure of the Act governing land purchase could largely depend on the cautious actions of tenants. In cases where landlords stubbornly refuse to sell, the government should not offer protection that discourages tenants from pursuing their rights. Instead, tenants who are determined to secure ownership should possess the ability to compel such landlords to sell. It is crucial to recognize that a fixed standard of years for a fair purchase may be erroneous, as the rates of purchase vary across different districts. On the same estate, purchases range from 5 to 17 years, based not on rents but on the assessed value of the lands, which considerably reduces the purchase value.

Reverend Father Ambrose, who joined the meeting, drew attention to the average price paid for land in Limerick County, as reported by the Land Commission returns. The average price over the years has been approximately 15 years, a figure also observed in Clare, Cork, and Tipperary. These counties, with strong nationalist sentiments during the Land League era, paid a similar price. In contrast, the northern counties, known for their loyalty, paid an average of 17 years. Father Ambrose urged the attendees to consider these averages, emphasizing the need to avoid inflating the already high prices paid in their own county.

A resolution was unanimously adopted, expressing concern that the price paid by the Leinster tenants is excessive and should not serve as a precedent for the rest of Ireland. The chairman acknowledged that if the Leinster tenants agreed to a 30-year purchase, it would only align with what tenants on other estates in the district had already given. Therefore, it is imperative to move forward and shift attention towards pressing matters such as Home Rule and national industrial development.

In conclusion, while the situation of the Leinster Estate tenants has raised eyebrows, it is vital to remember that their circumstances do not reflect those of the majority of farmers in Ireland. A cautious approach, recognizing regional variations and average prices paid, is necessary to ensure fair land purchases across the country. The focus should now turn towards achieving Home Rule and promoting national industrial development, as these issues hold greater significance for the future of Ireland.

Kerry News – Friday 02 October 1903

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