MR. M. J. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) if he has received during the past six months several resolutions from the elected and ex-officio Guardians of the Listowel Union, showing the great distress that prevails in the union; (2) whether an application has been made for a loan to purchase seed oats, owing to the total failure of the oats crop last year; (3) whether he is aware that the potato and other crops were seriously injured both in quantity and quality owing to the disastrous harvest of 1896; and (4) whether any steps will be taken by the Government to alleviate the great distress in existence in the Listowel Union, as was shown by the joint reports of landlords and tenants?
* MR. GERALD BALFOUR
Resolutions have been received as stated in the first Question; and an application has been made by the Listowel Board of Guardians for a loan for seed oats on the ground stated in the second Question. The extremely wet weather of the Autumn of 1896 was generally unfavourable to the harvest, the oat crop being particularly affected in Listowel Union. The Returns of the numbers relieved give no indication of the existence of abnormal distress in this Union. The numbers on out-door 535 relief as a matter of fact are less at present than at the corresponding period of last year, and so far, no necessity is shown for supplementing the resources of the ordinary Poor Law.
May I draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the fact that the rates have increased from £1 in 1880 to £3,000 in 1895?