HC Deb 21 February 1895 vol 30 cc1271-3

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, whether his attention has been called to the remarkable evidence given by Mr. Micks, Secretary to the Congested Districts Board, at the sitting of the Financial Relations Commission, in which he bore testimony to the deplorable condition of the ordinary farm labourers in portions of North Cork, saying it is worse than that of their brethren in the congested districts of Connaught; and whether, in view of the almost total failure of the potato crop in that district, the Government will accede to the request contained in the Resolution of the Kanturk Board of Guardians of 22nd November, 1894, and grant reproductive loans to tenant farmers at low interest for the purpose of providing useful employment for the labourers, and thus alleviating distress, as was done in 1881, when money was advanced to landlords at nominal interest; also his attention had been directed to Resolutions of the Kanturk (county Cork) Board of Guardians, pointing out the acute distress and suffering now prevailing amongst the smaller tenants and the labourers in many parts of that Union, owing to the almost total failure of the potato crop and the utter lack of employment; and whether, in view of this condition of things, he will accede to the request of the guardians and allocate a portion of the funds set apart for the opening of relief works to the needs of this Union?


My attention has been drawn to a newspaper report of the observations of the Secretary to the Congested Districts Board on the occasion in question. No doubt the granting of small loans to farmers, as suggested, would lead to the circulation of money among the labouring classes generally, but as a measure of immediate relief it is doubtful whether it would be effective in reaching the most necessitous cases. The Spring work will commence upon the breaking up of the frost, when it is hoped the temporary difficulties of the labouring classes will be at an end. The numbers in receipt of outdoor relief in this Union are considerably less than at the corresponding period of last year. With regard to the condition of the smaller tenants in the Union, the Local Government Board have made inquiries but do not consider that their circumstances are such as to call for the opening of relief works.


asked whether, if relief works could not be started, the right hon. Gentleman would see that instructions were issued to the Local Government Board to meet the distress by granting additional outdoor relief, and whether he would endeavour to prevent persons who were in receipt of outdoor relief from being disfranchised?

DR. TANNER (Mid Cork)

asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would extend any action he might take to the neighbouring Union, which was also keenly in want of relief of some kind.


said he had no power to interfere with the question of disfranchisement, but pointed out that Boards of Guardians had powers to deal with exceptional distress.