§ DR. ROBERT AMBROSE (Mayo, W.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware of the extent of the distress prevailing in Westport Union owing to the failure of the crops; and, whether he intends taking any steps; and, if so, what, towards relieving such distress?
§ MR. MICHAEL DAVITT (Mayo, S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland—(1) whether his attention has been called to the distress of a most acute character which prevails in the Swinford, Westport, and Clifden Poor Law Unions, as well as in other districts along the western seaboard of Ireland, such as Achill, Bel-mullet, and Carna; (2) what steps, if any, have been taken by the Government to cope with this distress; and, (3) whether the Government will without delay adopt some remedial measures, either of a temporary nature adequate to the emergency or of a more permanent character, which would have for object the prevention, as far as possible, of these frequently recurring periods 175 of destitution among the cottier peasantry of these western counties and islands?
§ MR. ARTHUR O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether the attention of the Government has been directed to the condition of the people in Achill, county Mayo, owing to the failure of the potato crop: and, what is the last Report received on the matter?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. ATKINSON,) Londonderry, N.
With the permission of the House, I will reply at the same time to the two questions which follow, standing in the names of the hon. Member for South Mayo (Mr. Davitt) and the hon. and learned Member for East Donegal (Mr. Arthur O'Connor). The condition and prospects of the poorer classes in the localities referred to have received the careful attention of Government, who have been in frequent communication with the Local Government Board and with the local Police Authorities on the subject. As regards the Swinford Union, the Local Government Board do not anticipate the occurrence of abnormal distress in this district; and in the Clifden Union the Board are advised that with the exception, perhaps, of a few isolated townlands, the resources of the ordinary Poor Law will suffice to meet any cases of necessity that may arise there. In Achill Island, which forms part of the Westport Union, I believe the Congested Districts Board are making arrangements for the reconstruction of a pier on the Island, which, it is presumed, will afford some employment to the poorer classes. The Board's Inspectors in the West of Ireland have been instructed to watch carefully the condition of the people in all districts in which there is the slightest chance of scarcity or destitution arising, and one of the Members of the Board is at the present moment in the West making further investigations into the subject. The Government do not for the present contemplate the adoption of the special remedial measures suggested in the second paragraph of the question of the hon. Member for South Mayo.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury why no mention is made in Her Majesty's 176 Gracious Speech of the Irish Agricultural Rating Bill; is if intended to make Ireland a grant proportionate to what England received under the Act of last year; and, if not, will Ireland be treated for the purpose of this special allocation as a separate entity?
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
The position of Ireland in reference to the money due to her in consequence of the English Rating Act is indicated in the Irish Suspensory Act of last Session. I think the title is "Local Taxation (Ireland) and Estate Duty, 1896, Act."