HC Deb 28 May 1883 vol 279 cc960-1

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to a report in the "Cork Herald," May 24th, of a meeting of the Limerick Board of Guardians, in which the following passages occur:— Several guardians expressed themselves to the effect that in the Union district there was, owing to excessive emigration, a great paucity of labourers, and only the old and infirm seemed inclined to remain in the country. The chairman said the emigration from Ireland had assumed such vast proportions that every five out of seven one met now in a village were either old or infirm…Mr. M'Inerney. There are forty labourers required in my district for drainage, and other works but we can't get a man. Colonel Westropp. In my district it is the same. It is impossible to get a labourer; and, whether, in view of the alleged decrease of the labouring population in the most fertile districts of Ireland, the Government will persist in the policy of subsidising emigration and disregarding the demand for legislation to improve the condition of the remaining industrial population?


Sir, the Limerick Union has not received any grants from Government for the purpose of assisting emigration. Such emigration as has taken place has been spontaneous, and not promoted by public funds. There is no reason to believe that, in the county of Limerick generally, there is any deficiency of labouring men. No general increase in agricultural wages has occurred, such as must have followed such a deficiency, if it existed. There may be particular places where there is a scarcity of labour; but such a scarcity, in parts of a county circumstanced as Limerick is, would afford no reasonable ground for discontinuing the assistance to emigration in other less favoured districts in Ireland, where the population is much too large, and where the emigration is a very great advantage.