§ *MR. D. CRILLY
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether any report has reached his Department that certain speculators, taking advantage of the intention of the Government to supply seed potatoes to the starving poor in the western districts of Ireland, are purchasing potatoes in the Coleraine and Ballymoney markets at 3s. 6d. per hundredweight, and shipping them to Scotland, whence they are tendering the same potatoes as "Scotch Champions" to the Poor Law Unions of the West of Ireland at £5 and upwards per ton; and, if no such report has reached his Department, will strict inquiries be made to discover if this alleged traffic has any existence?
MR. J. MORLEY
I have not received any report to the effect stated in the question, but I have directed inquiry to be made into the matter. I may observe, however, that the rules issued for the guidance of the Seed Inspectors appointed by Government to advise and assist Boards of Guardians in their operations under the seed potatoes supply, expressly point out that no tenders for "Scotch Champions" should be accepted by Guardians unless, on inquiry, it is ascertained that the seed was actually grown in Scotland, and in a district calculated by soil and climate to produce seed suitable to the requirements of the occupiers of the Irish land. With a view to preventing contractors from supplying seed grown in unsuitable localities, and 561 for securing bona-fide shipments of potatoes from the districts in which they wore grown, the Constabulary were some time ago directed to notify to Government the earliest intimation of the movements of vessels laden with potatoes arriving at or leaving Irish ports.