HC Deb 25 April 1882 vol 268 cc1408-9

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with reference to the Resolution of this House of the 20th July 1881, That, in the opinion of this House, it is expedient that Her Majesty's Government should take steps to carry into effect such of the recommendations of the Potato Crop Committee of 1880 as relate to Ireland, by facilitating the progress of further experiments as to the best means of lessening the spread of the potato disease and promoting the creation and establishment of new varieties of the potato; If any attempt has been made to give effect to the above Resolution of the House either at Glasnevin, or elsewhere; and, if any provision has been made in the Estimates for the experiments and cultivation referred to in the above Resolution?


Yes, Sir; steps have been taken for giving effect to the Resolution of the House referred to by the hon. and gallant Member, and are, shortly, as follows:—In 1880–1 two sets of experiments were tried at the Munster Model Farm, under the auspices of the Cork Agricultural Society; and Mr. Carroll, the Agricultural Superintendent under the Board of National Education, will continue to make similar experiments this year at Glasnevin and Cork. He will also extend the scope of the experiments to the production of new varieties of the potato by the propagation from the seed of the apple of the potato. The process is slow, and takes four years to produce the fully developed potato; but Mr. Carroll looks on it as a most important feature in his experiments. Last year seeds of different varieties were sown at the Glasnevin farm. The small tubers which those seeds produced have this year been planted, and in 1884 the fully developed varieties will be obtained. Furthermore, Mr. Carroll has got some seed from America to raise new varieties. This seed, in small quantities, will be sent gratis to the principal agricultural schools, with instructions as to its treat- ment,&c. It will also be sown at the Glasnevin and Cork farms. Mr. Carroll will sow this spring the seed of an old Irish potato of great excellence—the "Black Apple." The development of the sowing will be complete in 1885; and, in order to encourage the production of new varieties of the plant, through the agency of their agricultural schools, the Commissioners of National Education have obtained the sanction of the Treasury for offering prizes for competition among the teachers of those schools. There will be four sets of prizes for different varieties of the potato; each set will consist of a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize, and the directions for sowing seed will be issued.

In reply to Mr. HEALY,


said, he had no information as to the weight of seed and the extent of ground.


asked why these experiments were to be confined to agricultural schools in Ireland? Potatoes did not grow only in Ireland; and there was a distinct understanding that this was to be a national expenditure.


said, he considered that as the schools he had referred to were supported at the expense of the nation, it was the fittest place for the experiments.