I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware of the Resolution passed by the Dublin Corporation regarding the existing distress spread over large areas in the South and West of Ireland; whether the Local Government Board have inquired into this matter; and whether the Government intend to start reproductive works to give employment and sustenance to the people in certain acutely distressed districts?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I have seen the Resolution referred to in the first paragraph. The Local Government Board are kept informed from week to week of the condition of the people in the distressed unions, and as they have full information before them in regard to the localities mentioned in the Resolution, no special inquiry appears to be necessary. Relief works subsidised by the Government have been opened by the Boards of Guardians of every union in counties Mayo and Galway, in which exceptional distress is believed to exist, and about 4,300 heads of families, representing over 20,000 people, have been authorised to be employed, and the Board cannot find that the guardians have refused relief to any persons who really required it. It is, however, difficult to reply to indefinite complaints as to the insufficiency of relief measures, but if any of the local relief committees or other persons interested in the districts concerned will bring under the notice of the Local Government Board the case of any destitute families who they think have not been sufficiently provided for, the Local Government Board will then be in a position to take action in the matter. The guardians of the unions in Cork and Kerry, in which distress is alleged to exist, have been offered financial assistance in affording relief to the people on the same lines as in Mayo and Galway, but they have not so far thought it necessary to accept the Government aid, and are relieving all persons who need assistance from the rates in the ordinary way.