HC Deb 15 September 1893 vol 17 cc1271-2
MR. P. J. O'BRIEN (Tipperary, N.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland what was the nature and substance of the Report furnished to the Local Government Board by their Inspector, Mr. Bourke, as the result of his recent inquiry at Borrisokane into the scheme formulated by the Guardians of that Union for the erection of labourers' cottages in their district; whether he is aware that the Guardians, acting on the representations presented to them and the Reports of their sanitary officers, sanctioned and approved of a scheme for the erection of 32 cottages within the Union; that this scheme met with practically no opposition from the owners on whose lands the cottages were proposed to be erected; and that, notwithstanding, Mr. Bourke rejected 21 out of the entire number, and if he will state on what grounds,; whether, out of the 14 cottages approved of in the Division of Cloughjordan, 13 were rejected; and if he is aware that in this division several labourers have recently been evicted from their previous holdings, and are now without house or home; and that, as stated by a Guardian (Mr. Delaney) at a meeting of the Board, when one poor man, who had been dispossessed and was at the time only in temporary shelter of a barn, complained to the Inspector, he was told it was good enough for him; and whether, having regard to the serious nature of this case, he will cause full inquiry to be made into all the circumstances?


It is true, as stated, that out of 32 cottages included in the scheme 21 were rejected by the Inspector. Of these 21 cottages, 13 were rejected on the ground that the persons for whom they were intended at present inhabited houses capable of being repaired; three on the ground that the persons for whom they were intended inhabited houses not unfit for human habitation, and not condemned by the Medical Officer of Health; two on account of no water supply being near the sites; one because the farm on which it was proposed to erect is too small; one owing to the site being placed on the wrong person's farm, and one was withdrawn at the inquiry. To some of the sites there was considerable opposition, but in the majority of cases no opposition was raised in reference to the houses occupied by the 13 persons above-mentioned. Mr. Bourke, the Inspector, reports as follows:— The houses in question are situated for the most part in the towns of Borrisokane and Cloughjordan, those in the latter town being substantial stone and mortar buildings two or three storey high with slated roofs. It is true that in nearly every case a certain amount of repairs would require to be done to them in order to make them comfortable dwellings; but as the Sanitary Authority have power to insist on the owners carrying out these repairs, if they wish to continue to let the houses, and have also power if they see fit to acquire these houses and improve them themselves, I do not feel justified in recommending that new cottages should be erected at the expense of the ratepayers, and buildings such as I have described allowed to become untenanted, as many of the houses in Cloughjordan at present are. As to the statement in paragraph 3 of the question, out of 14 cottages proposed for the Cloughjordan Division 10, and not 13, were rejected by the Inspector. The Clerk of Borrisokane Union states that three labourers were evicted in Cloughjordan Division; that for one of them a cottage is intended to be erected; that another of them was found by the Inspector dwelling in a house quite capable of being repaired, and the third was found in a habitation which is part of a substantial farm-house. Mr. Bourke, the Inspector, reports that he was not, nor is he aware of any labourers in the Cloughjordan Division being without house or home; and the Guardians of the Division assured him that there was ample accommodation in the town for all the labourers dwelling there, a statement which the Inspector's own observation corroborated. The Inspector states that he never told any man living in a barn that it was "good enough for him." If the Board of Guardians, who have the result of the inquiry and the Inspector's reasons for rejecting the cottages before them, are able to show that the Inspector was mistaken or misinformed in any particular instance they can, by applying to the Local Government Board, have the case re-considered.