HC Deb 05 March 1891 vol 351 cc252-4
MR. DEASY (Mayo, W.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he is aware that a large number of men in the Westport Union have been refused employment on the relief works; and, if so, whether he will give directions that all deserving applicants shall be engaged?


Every effort is made to secure that persons in absosolute need of relief, and that they alone, are employed upon relief works. The employment lists are revised from time to time, and the cases of all applicants receive careful consideration.

MR. THEODORE FRY (Darlington)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he has come to any conclusion in reference to the extension of the railway from Loughrea to Woodford, which has been brought before his notice by memorial and deputation from the district, and which would not only provide work but be a great permanent boon to that isolated district? I also beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is aware that only a small proportion of the men on Achill Island have been given relief work, and if it is his intention to increase the number so employed, or to distribute assistance in other ways, they and their families being on the verge of starvation; and, if it be true that only about one-fourth of the needful quantity of seed potatoes have been applied for, that a good many of these have been found to be rotten, and that, in many cases, the good ones are being consumed for food; and, if so, whether he can take any steps to remedy this state of things?


There are four relief works in Achill Island, giving employment on February 28th to 317 persons. Should it be deemed necessary to open further relief works on the Island, or to afford employment to a larger number of persons, the matter will, of course, be carefully considered. The Poor Law Guardians of Westport Union estimated that the quantity of seed potatoes required for Achill Electoral Division would be 58 tons 18 cwt., and that the number of occupiers requiring seed would be 172, giving an average of about 6 2–3 cwt. of seed potatoes to each occupier. The Inspectors are satisfied, after making careful inquiries, that the seed is good, with the exception of some damaged bags which have not been distributed.


Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to take any steps to ascertain the need for relief?


That is not so easy a matter as the hon. Gentleman seems to imagine. I am carefully watching in order to see whether it is necessary to set additional relief works going.


I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the distress prevailing among the numerous small farmers in the Kiltullagh and Ballinlough Electoral Divisions of the Castlerea Union, county Roscommon; and, whether the poor people of that district may hope for some mitigation of their suffering by the opening of relief works on an early day?


The position of this Union is engaging the attention of the Government.


I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether the attention of the Government has been drawn to the acutedistress in Ranafushe, Loughanoran, and Ranamona, in Anagany district, county Donegal; whether he is aware that in these localities fever prevails, deaths are extraordinarily numerous, 875 people are left without potatoes or other food, credit is exhausted, debts amount to an average of about. £10 per family, and the inquiry by the police many weeks ago has only resulted in assistance being given to 2 per cent. of the famishing population; and whether the Government will adopt prompt measures for the saving of life by affording immediate employment in the neighbourhood?


The West Coast of Donegal has caused considerable anxiety to the Government, and its condition is being carefully watched. It has not, so far, been found necessary to start relief works in the district of Anagry.


I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether the description of the state of Lower Templecrone, County Donegal, contained in a letter to the Berry Journal of the 27th February and signed "J. O'Donnell, Ranafast," is substantially accurate; whether the Reports of the police show that there is great want and destitution in the Electoral Division of Anagry, particularly Ranafast; whether he will lay upon the Table of the House the Report of his Inspector concerning these districts; and whether he can give any assurance that steps will be taken to meet the great distress in this locality?


It is the case that there is poverty among the helpless families in Lower Templecrone. Their eases are under consideration.