MR. T. M. HEALY
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) if a Return could be prepared for the use of the Select Committee on the Irish Land Acts showing the number, area, and situation of the Irish model farms under the National Education Board, the rent paid for each acreably and in bulk, the Poor Law valuation, the average rates and taxes, the amount paid for labor on each farm annually, the nature of the soil, the cost of implements and equipment, and improvements, including any fine or price paid to acquire the lauds, the amount of 1250 profit or loss on each farm annually, giving details of prices paid for seeds, manure, &c., and the prices received for produce, or where this is consumed by pupils the value thereof, and any other details calculated to present a view of the profits of scientific agriculture on the 20 farms worked by the Government in Ireland; (2) is he aware that the Annual Reports of the Education Commissioners down to 1874 contained more information as to the management of these farms than subsequently, and that the details asked for are now shown in the farm books; (3) is there any Treasury audit; and (4) what system of book-keeping is maintained on these farms?
MR. J. MORLEY
(1) There are now only two model farms (not 20, as stated in the question) worked by the Commissioners of National Education, one at Glasnevin, Dublin, and the other in Cork. The number in the year 1874 of model farms vested in the National Board was 21; but a Treasury Departmental Committee of that year, acting upon a previous recommendation of the Powis Commission, recommended the abolition of the model farms except the two referred to, and this recommendation was carried out. The Return indicated will be prepared in respect of the two remaining farms, and will be furnished in the course of a few days. It is to be observed, however, that the main object of maintaining these farms is not so much to show the profits of scientific agriculture as, with due regard to economy, to train young men in the theory and practice of agriculture and young women in dairying. These pupils are boarded at the establishments, many of them free of charge. (2) Information regarding the two model farms is published by the Commissioners in their Annual Reports, and the Appendix to these Annual Reports contains very full Reports by the Agricultural Superintendent. Possibly my hon. and learned Friend has not seen these latter Reports. (3) The accounts are audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General. (4) The ordinary system of commercial book-keeping is followed.