HC Deb 18 March 1889 vol 334 cc22-3
MR. MAC NEILL (Donegal, S.)

asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention had been directed to the fact that in the parishes of Gweedore, Cloughaneely, the two Rosses parishes, the parish of Kilcar, and several other districts in the County of Donegal, the failure of the potato crop last autumn was as complete as in the autumn of 1879; whether some of the inhabitants of these parishes had been compelled since last Christmas to live on Indian meal in order to preserve the potato seed, while others had no money to buy Indian meal, and had been compelled to live on the potato seed; whether he will make inquiries whether the inhabitants of the districts in question were in many instances without potato seed for the coming spring, and without the prospect of food; and what steps the Government were taking, or proposed to take, to avert from these districts the approach of actual famine; also, whether the parish priest of Gweedore was Father M'Fadden, so well known?


I am informed that, in the parishes of Cloughaneely and the Rosses' potatoes are not as bad as in the year 1879, while in the parishes of Gweedore and Kilcar the crop is as bad as in that year. However, generally throughout the county the potato crop, though not up to the average, has been by no means a failure. It is the fact that some of the inhabitants of those parishes have been living on Indian meal since Christmas. I am imformed that there is no appearance of famine in any part of the county this year, and that very few (if any) of the people are without potato seed for the forthcoming spring. I do not see that the Government can, under the circumstances, take any steps in the matter.


If the facts I put forward are vouched for by the Rev. Dr. O'Donnell, Catholic Bishop of the diocese, will the Government take steps to avert the threatened calamity?


The Government will welcome any information and suggestions. Further than that I cannot go.


Is the potato crop as bad in Gweedore as in 1879?


Yes; that is one of the places where the crop is as bad as in that year.