HC Deb 21 February 1895 vol 30 cc1246-7

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether the Local Government Board have had their attention directed to the condition of the people in the mountainous portion of East Donegal between the upper waters of the Swilly and the Finn; and whether any, and what, investigation into that condition was made, and with what result; also whether the right hon. Gentleman had received a Memorial from the people of Glenswilly praying for the construction of a light railway from Letterkenny to Gweedore; and whether the Government contemplate either this or any other means of affording employment in the valley of the Swilly to relieve the distress?


With regard to this question and the next, which also stands in the name of my hon. and learned Friend, in consequence of the representations made by him towards the end of January, I called for a special report from the Local Government Board's Inspector as to the actual and prospective condition of the small landholders in the district referred to. The Inspector accordingly visited the district, and in his report, which has been brought to my notice within the last few days, states that in portions of the electoral divisions of Lettermore and Meencarragh, the people have sustained a serious loss owing to the failure of their potato crop. The young men in the district emigrate to England and Scotland in the Spring, and the Inspector believes that very few able-bodied men could be found who would accept employment upon relief works at the rate of payment which the Government have decided to give. The Inspector consulted the Roman Catholic clergyman and the relieving officer upon this point and they both shared this opinion with him. There is no case of outdoor relief from either of these electoral divisions. The information before me does not lead to the conclusion that exceptional measures are, at present, required to meet any distress in the district; but the condition of the people will continue to receive careful attention, and any change in the circumstances of the people will be at once notified to Government.