§ MR. MAHONY
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether it is a fact that up to September, 1889, a sum of £665,150 has been issued as a loan under the Labourers' (Ireland) Act, and that since that date further large sums have been sanctioned as loans under the same Act; 1504 whether there has been considerable delay in the issue of instalments caused by the insufficient number of Inspecting Engineers employed by the Local Government Board; whether this deficiency has in many cases led to a very incomplete and unsatisfactory inspection; whether in many cases the Inspectors have found it impossible properly to control the works in progress, and that, consequently, many of the houses have been badly built, in some cases mud mortar only having been used; and whether he will take steps to secure that public money shall not be used for the erection of inferior buildings?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
The facts are substantially as stated in the first paragraph. The Local Government Board are not responsible for any delay which may have occurred in the issue of instalments. The principal cause of any such delay has been remissness on the part of the architects of the Sanitary Authority in not getting defects remedied when pointed out by the Local Government Inspectors. There is no information to show that in any case an incomplete and unsatisfactory inspection has been made. On the contrary, it is believed that all the inspections have been made in a thorough manner, and that full time has been given to each case. The control or supervision of the works in progress is not in the hands of the Local Government Inspectors, but of the architect or clerk of works of the Sanitary Authority. It is the case that in one union it was found that improper mortar had been used, but the Local Government Board forthwith required the work to be pulled down and rebuilt. The Local Government Inspectors exercise due diligence in their inspections, but the responsibility of closely watching the work while it is being carried on rests with the officers of the Sanitary Authority.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co, Mid)
Is it not the fact that many of the houses have been found to be practically uninhabitable owing to the way in which they have been handed over to the labourers?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
If the hon. Gentleman will put the question on the Paper, I will ask for a Report.