§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, with regard to the fact that the Irish Local Government Board have been pressing for the collection of the aggregate monthly rent of the labourers' cottages in the Unions of Macroom and Millstreet, County Cork, and the total sum due to the Guardians in respect of these rents, whether, taking into consideration the great poverty afflicting the labourers in these districts both at present and for the past year, and the absence of all Government relief works, the Unions be recommended in every fair and suitable case to remit arrears of current rent due for labourers' cottages?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The Local Government Board have not been pressing for the collection of the rents of the labourers' cottages in the Unions mentioned. It appears, however, as a matter of fact, that the rents in these cases are largely in arrear. The collection of such rents is altogether in the hands of the Guardians, and the Local Government Board are not empowered by the Acts to authorise any arrangement of the nature suggested in the concluding portion of the question. But I may say that, in my opinion, the fact that 273 such arrears are permitted to accumulate suggests serious doubts as to the ultimate advantage of the labourers' Acts when worked in this way.