§ MR. MURNAGHAN
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether he is aware that in recent years farmers in the north of Ireland experience no little difficulty in procuring labourers to assist in the work of the fields; (2) that the scarcity of farm labourers becomes more marked year by year, though wages are as high or higher than formerly; and that, owing to the want of cottages built under the Labourers' Acts, no encouragement exists for young men and women to remain, and they are forced to seek a home in other lands; and, (3) as the province of Ulster contains barely three per cent, of the cottages built under the Labourers' Acts in Ireland, will steps be taken to place agricultural labourers in Ulster on a level, as regards housing accommodation, with agricultural labourers in other parts of the country?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I believe it is a fact that the supply of labourers in Ulster has been decreasing in recent years, though I have no reason to believe that this represents a state of things peculiar to Ulster, and doubtless there are considerations other than those suggested in the Question which have influenced the emigration of labourers. As regards the second paragraph, in every case in which a complaint has been made to the Local Government Board, of the refusal of the local authority to act upon representations made with the view of putting the Acts into force, the Board have exercised the statutory powers vested in them; but they have no authority to take action in the matter unless these conditions are complied with.