§ MR. D. MACALEESE (Monaghan, N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, (l) has he seen a statement made by Mr. William M'Cammond, of Cherryvale, Belfast, with regard to the handling of flax in Ulster, recommending improved methods which, if adopted, would greatly benefit growers; and (2) whether, seeing that in the past season large quantities of flax were sold at prices so low as 2s. 6d. per stone, he will recommend the appointment of a small Commission, or adopt such other means as he may deem best, to have the various methods of handling flax thoroughly investigated in the interests of the farmers of Ireland?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I have not seen the statement referred to in the first paragraph, though I am informed that many competent authorities are of opinion that loss is incurred by Irish farmers owing to the manner in which flax is usually handled. I believe that a thorough investigation as to the relative merits of the systems adopted in Ireland and on the Continent for the 384 culture and treatment of flax would yield information of undoubted value to growers of flax in Ireland, and to enable the Government to further consider the matter the Land Commissioners have been authorised to confer generally with some of the chief cultivators and users of flax in the north of Ireland, to report to the Government thereon and, if necessary, to submit a scheme for the carrying out of such further investigations as may be considered desirable.