Marron v Cootehill (No. 2) Rural District Council

CourtChancery Division (Ireland)
Judgment Date22 January 1914
Date22 January 1914
Docket Number(1913. No. 199.)



(1913. No. 199.)



Condon v. Mitchels-town Rural District CouncilIR Unreported. Since reported [1914] 1 I. R. 113, 118.

Condon V. Mitchelstown Rural District CouncilIR Since reported [1914] 1 I. R. 113, 118.

Condon V. Mitchelstown Rural District CouncilIR [1914] 1 I. R. 113, 118.

Condon's CaseIR [1914] 1 I. R. 113, 118.

Cowley V. Newmarket Local Board ELR [1892] A.C. 345, at p.352.

Mitchelstown CaseIR [1914]1 I. R. 113, 118.

R. (Ferguson) v. Lurgan District CouncilDLTR 47 I. L. T. R. 31.

R. (Ryan) v. Recorder of CorkIR [1913] 2 I. R. 241.

Reeves v. PenroseUNK 26 L. R. Ir. 141.

Tevlin v. Lisnaskea Rural District CouncilIR Unreported. Since reported [1914] 2 I. R. 15.

Tevlin v. Lisnaskea Rural District CouncilIR [1914] 2 I. R. 15.

Tevlin v. The Lisnaskea Rural District CouncilSC Since reported [1914] 21. R. 5.

Tevlin's CaseIR [1914] 1 I. R. 113, 118.

The defendants appealed to the Court of Appeal Before O'BRIEN, L.C., and HOLMES and CHERRY, L.JJ.

Local Government —— Application for letting of cottage — Right of preference —

'Von. 1.) CHANCERY DIVISION. 201 MAItRON v. COOTEHILL (No. 2) RURAL DISTRICT M. R. COUNCIL. 1913. (1913. No. 199.) . Local Government—Labourers (Ireland) Acts—Itnprovement scheme—AppliÂcation for letting of cottage—Right of preference—Labourers (Ireland) Act, 1906 (6 Edw. 7, c. 7), s. 29. A district council had acquired land under an improvement scheme, made under the Labourers (Ireland) Acts and founded on "representations" made by certain agricultural labourers, of whom the plaintiff was one. When eight cottages, out of a large number comprised in the scheme, had been built, the council allotted one of them to a labourer who had not signed any of the "representations" on which the scheme was founded, but whose needs for a cottage were pressing. Prior to the erection of the remaining cottages under the scheme, the plaintiff brought an action against the council to establish his alleged preferential right to a cottage under sub-s. 2 of sect. 29 of the Labourers (Ireland) Act, 1900, and claiming an injunction and damages. Held, by the Court of Appeal (reversing the decision of the Master of the Rolls, who had decided in favour of the preferential right of the plaintiff and had awarded him £30 damages), that the council was entitled, in the bonafide exercise of its discretion, to allot a cottage to the labourer whose needs were more urgent than the plaintiff's, notwithstanding that the latter had signed a representation while the successful claimant had not, and that the action should be dismissed. TRIAL OF ACTION. This action was brought by John Marron for (1) a declaration that he was entitled to a preference as tenant upon the first letting by the defendants of a certain labourer's plot, and cottage erected by the defendants, pursuant to the Labourers (Ireland) Acts, 1883 to 1906, on the said plot, being plot No. 52, 0.S., included in the Cootehill (No. 2) Rural District Labourers (Unopposed) Order, 1908, and to be put into possession of the said plot and cottage as tenant to the defendants; (2) an .,inj unction to restrain the defendants from letting, continuing .to let, or attempting to let, the said plot and cottage to any 1914—VoL. 1. 202 THE HUSH ItII:YOH:1'8. [1914.. .31. person other than the plaintiff, or otherwise attempting to, 1913. defeat the right of the plaintiff to the said preference ; (3) au, MARRON injunction to compel the defendants to make a letting of the V. COOTEHILL said premises to the plaintiff ; and for this purpose to do all No. 2) necessary acts for obtaining vacant possession thereof and for RURAL DISTRICT determining all (if any) lettings or attempted lettings thereof;: COUNCIL. and (4) damages. The material facts of the case are stated in the judgment of the Master of the Rolls. Seijeanl Sullivan, K.C., and D. J. O'Brien, for the plaintiff. Jellett, K.C., Gerald FitzGibbon, K.C., and E. S. Murphy, for the defendants. The following authorities were referred to :—R. (Ryan) v.. Recorder of Cork (1) ; R. (Ferguson) v. Lurgan District Council (2) ; Tevlin v. Lisnaskea Rural District Council (3) ; Condon v. 'Michels-town Rural District Council (4). July 30. O'CONNOR, M.R. This action was brought by the plaintiff for the purpose of establishing a preferential right to be put into possession of a labourer's cottage erected by the defendants, the Cootehill (No. 2), rural district council, under the Labourers (Ireland) Acts. The material facts are as follows :—In the year 1906 repreÂsentations were made to the defendants by, or on behalf of, certain agricultural labourers in the Cootehill (No. 2) rural district, that there was not a sufficient number of houses available for the accommodation of agricultural labourers in the Anny district electoral division included in the rural district, and that it was the duty of the district council to take proceedings under the Labourers Acts for the making of au improvement scheme in respect of such electoral division. These representations included suggestions (1) [19133 2 I. R. 241. (2) 47 I. L. T. It. 31. (3) Unreported. Since reported [1914] 2 I. It. 15. (4) Unreported. Since reported [1914] 1 I. It. 113, 118. VOL. I.] CFIA1NCERT DIVISION. 203 that a certain number of cottages should be built on certain M. R. specified holdings, and for agricultural labourers who were 1913. specially named. The plaintiff was one of these labourers, and MARRON the cottage designated for him was to be in the townland of CooTvE•oiLL Aughnamullen, in the occupation of James Casey. As a result of (RNuo. itA2L) these representations an improvement scheme was made by the DISTRICT district council, and the scheme included the cottage designated COUNCIL. for the plaintiff. The scheme was afterwards confirmed by an order of the Local Government Board, dated the 26th February, 1908, and has been partially carried out, that is, some of the cottages provided for have been erected and completed, while others have not yet been erected. Among the cottages which have been completed is that which was designated for the plaintiff, and as soon as it was ready for habitation he made application to the district council to be formally put into possession of What he regarded as his cottage. His application, however, was refused, and the cottage was given to one John Kennedy. This man, who is also an agricultural labourer, is not one of those by whom or on whose behalf the representations were made which led to the improvement scheme. He was, in fact, a stranger to it, and may so far as the scheme is concerned be described as a complete outsider. This being so, it will be unnecessary for me to consider whether an agricultural labourer on whose behalf a representation was made for a particular cottage is entitled to a preferential right to that particular cottage as against all the others by whom or on whose behalf representations were made for cottages in the scheme, and 'whether his right may not be satisfied by allotting him a cottage. The question here is between the plaintiff and a stranger to the scheme, and I will confine my opinion to it, leaving the other question I have mentioned to be decided when it necessarily arises. The plaintiff's case is, that the letting of the cottage was a violation of his preferential right under sect. 29 of the Labourers Act, 1906. That section is as follows :— " 29.—(1) The district council shall make regulations with respect to the letting of cottages and allotments under the K2 204 THE IRISH toixouTti. [1914. 11. R. Labourers Acts, and for preventing any undue preference in 1913. the letting thereof, and generally for carrying the provisions MARRON of the said Acts into effect. COOTERILL " (2) Regulations under this section shall provide that, on (No 2) Rutter. the first letting of any cottages or allotments comprised in a DISTRICT scheme, preference shall be given to agricultural labourers who cotnicu. have signed on their own behalf the representation on which the scheme was founded, or on whose behalf that representation was made. "(3) Regulations under this section shall contain a schedule of rents to be reserved in lettings, and those rents shall be so fixed as to secure a reasonable return, having regard to the circumstances of the locality affected, or the expenditure of the council under the Labourers Acts. " (4) Regulations under this section shall not be of any force until confirmed by the Local Government Board, in like manner and subject to the like provisions as in the case of by-laws under the Public Health (Ireland) Act, 1878." Now, undoubtedly, the meaning of this section is, that on the first letting of cottages erected under a scheme, labourers who have made representations, or on whose behalf representations were made, should get a preference over labourers by whom or on whose behalf no representation was made ; and I cannot paraphrase this better than by saying that before any outsider is admitted into a cottage comprised in a scheme, a cottage must be allotted to every available labourer by whom or on whose behalf a representation was made, and who wants a cottage. In this case the plaintiff demanded a cottage which was available. He was refused it; and Kennedy, a stranger to the scheme, got it. I cannot describe this transaction more clearly or more accurately than by saying that Kennedy was preferred to the plaintiff. The defendants say that the plaintiff's right of preference has not been violated, because there are some more cottages to be built under the scheme, and he will get one of these in the course of time. The fact, however, remains that Kennedy was preferred to the plaintiff. The latter was postponed VOL. 1.] CHANCERY DIVISION. and the former was preferred. The preference conferred by the statute was not given. The defendants seek to justify their...

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1 cases
  • Marron, Appellant, and The Cootehill (No. 2) Rural District Council, Respondents
    • Ireland
    • House of Lords (Ireland)
    • 25 March 1915 forma pauperis, from a decision of the Court of Appeal in Ireland reversing the judgment of the Master of the Rolls (reported [1914] 1 I. R. 201, 208) in an action wherein the appellant was plaintiff and the respondents were defendants. The plaintiff claimed in the action :-1. A declarat......

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