MR. JAMES KOCHE (Kerry, E.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether 506 he will recommend the Commissioners of the Congested Districts Board to favourably consider an application made to them, a copy of which has been sent to him, to open up the district of the recent bog slide in Kerry by constructing a short road which, besides being of great utility, will contribute somewhat to the present support of the poor labourers in the neighbourhood, who are now very much in need; (2) whether he is aware that the Earl of Kenmare, the landlord, has offered gratis the lands required for the proposed works; (3) whether he will direct that a re-valuation, for rating purposes, shall be made of the lands that were partially and entirely destroyed in time for the striking of the rate for 1897; and (4) whether he is aware that a Commission, appointed for the purpose in 1811, recommended that the sum of £56 should be spent by the Government in draining this bog, as it was at that time in a dangerous condition, and that attention was repeatedly drawn to that recommendation?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. GERALD BALFOUR,) Leeds, Central
The Congested Districts Board are unable to undertake the particular work suggested in the first paragraph. As I have already explained, however, they hope to erect a bridge over the ford which has been swept away, and they would also be prepared under certain conditions to consider the carrying out of certain other specified works. I have no knowledge that the fact is as stated in the second paragraph. As to the third paragraph I am advised that no change in the value of land can legally be made under the annual revision of valuation, and that whilst, under existing statutes, it is open to a Grand Jury to apply for a re-valuation of a county, barony, or Poor Law union, there are no funds out of which the expenses of a re-valuation can be defrayed. Regarding the last paragraph of the Question, it is not the fact that the Commissioners appointed to inquire into Irish bogs recommended that the sum of £56, or any sum, should be expended by Government in the drainage of this bog. On the contrary, the Commissioners contemplated the drainage and improvement of Irish bogs generally by means of loans, by individuals or 507 associations of individuals, and the Commissioners in their Report of 1814 submitted an estimate of £1,325 for the improvement of the bog known as the Quarries Bog, and which appears to be identical with that mentioned in the Question.