§ Mr. J. ROCHE
On behalf of the Member for South Galway (Mr. Sheehy), I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that there is a most acute fuel famine prevailing in the Arran Islands; that the potato crop was small on the islands this year, owing to the insufficiency and lateness of the seed last spring; that the fishing industry has not been so bad with the islanders for years; that the construction of the south pier is one of vital necessity, and that the Piers and Harbour Commissioners made a grant of £8,000 in the year 1884 or 1885 for such a work, which was never executed; and whether he will cause further inquiries to be made as to the destitute state of the people of the islands, and cause the £8,000 to be now used in such 1475 useful work, and thereby give urgently needed employment to the people?
Mr. G. RUSSELL
No reports have reached the Local Government Board alleging that the people of these islands are in want of fuel. There is a relieving officer as well as a dispensary medical officer living on the island, and the Local Government Board think it likely that representations would have been made by the local authorities if there were any scarcity of fuel as alleged. The Board have instructed their inspector to visit the islands as soon as practicable, and to report to them in the matter. On the general question of distress in the islands I feel I cannot add anything to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Gentleman's previous question of the 21st inst. As regards the suggestion that a grant of £8,000 was made for a pier on the South Island, the Inspectors of Fisheries, from whom inquiry has been made, report that no such grant was made by the Piers and Harbours Commissioners.