HC Deb 05 April 1894 vol 22 cc1459-60

I wish to direct the attention of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland to the evictions now proceeding on the Arran Islands, and to ask him whether he is aware that the Islands are eight miles from the nearest land, and 40 miles from the nearest Courthouse; and whether owing to the failure of the fishing the people on these Islands have been left so destitute that appeals to public charity have been made on their behalf? In the second place, I wish to ask whether, owing to the evictions, a number of people, including aged persons and children, have been left without shelter, as well as without food, and what steps the Government have taken, or what steps they intend to take, to ensure the safety of the lives of the destitute people?


In answer to my hon. Friend, it is true, as he has already stated, that these Islands are some distance off, and that communication with them is not easy. My information is this—that yesterday six evictions were carried out, and that in three of the cases the people were re-admitted as caretakers. To-day two tenants settled with the agent, and eight evictions were carried out. Two of the eight persons were reinstated as caretakers. I have no information, as yet, as to the condition of the people yesterday and to-day; but I am perfectly sure that if the story which my hon. Friend states were true, and that any such persons had been evicted and cast out on the bleak hillside, the officers on the spot would have informed me of that fact. As to the condition of the poor people, I was informed some fortnight ago that they were likely to suffer extreme distress, independent of the evictions. We at once despatched an Inspector of the Local Government Board to make inquiries. He did so, and reported that the people were weather bound. He made exhaustive inquiry into the case of the South Island, which is the worst and poorest of the three, and his Report was that in his opinion the relieving officer had means at his disposal for dealing with any cases of emergency that might arise. This Inspector is today in Galway, and he has been directed to pay close attention to the circumstances of the people of Arran, and if necessary, to go over there at once. Meantime, the relieving officer has been told (a fortnight ago) the exact steps he is to take in case any circumstances of emergency arise.