Originally Posted by A Tyrant Named Miltiades!
As daft as this idea is, this was an activity that was pursued by the Land Commission, probably one of the most divisive institutions ever to exist in this country, which up unwil WW1, was still seizing land from large farmers and turning it into uneconomic smaller farms.
The practice is part of the reason why Irish farms are noticeably smaller than our counterparts in the UK and mainland Europe. It was a disastrous policy. My own Grandad got into a dispute with the Land Commission and local neighbours because he had no male siblings and only one infant son, to share his farm (which wasn't even some big estate), and it ended up in the High Court. Ridiculous carry-on.
Some people were big fans of that kind of land seizure though, so the OP's comments aren't totally removed from fairly recent agricultural policy.
The land commission was an institution inherited by the Free state and subsequently the republic from the British administration. It was a required land reform although in practice it was turned into a political tool, particularly by Fianna Fail. However it was not a simple theft of land, the landowners were compensated for what was often unprofitable land as by the 1880s rent was in most cases simply not being paid.
The whole land commission ea is fascinating as it had all kinds of social consequences. I even remember my Grandfather saying something that I often heard repeated, "free land in Meath, unless you are from Meath".
Ps. There was still land commisssion holdings been given out as late as the 1980s.