§ MR. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if his attention has been called to a letter published in the Freeman's Journal of the 3rd instant, addressed to the Lord Mayor of Dublin, by the Rev. John G. Fahy, Rector of Dromod, county Kerry, in which the reverend gentleman states that it is impossible to exaggerate the distress, notably in Portmagee and Ballinskelligs, and that the people are stricken with fever and have little or no food in their houses; and whether steps will be taken to give immediate relief in those and other distressed districts in Kerry?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I have read the newspaper report to which reference is made in the Question. The Rev. Mr. Fahy's letter, which was dated the 18th of April, and published on the 20th, was at once referred to the Local Government Board Inspector, Colonel Kirkwood, for inquiry and report. The Inspector visited the district, and reported on the 28th April that there were no cases of 677 fever in Ballinskelligs, all those who had been affected being convalescent, and that the only two cases in Portmagee were in hospital. Colonel Kirkwood spent several days going through the district with the Relieving Officer, and states that while this part of Caherciveen is always poor and congested, there is nothing in the nature of widespread distress this year. He called on the Rev. Mr. Fahy, and obtained from him a list of 22 families stated to be destitute. The Relieving Officer (whom both the Inspector and the Rev. Mr. Fahy report to be a reliable man) has since visited each of the persons, and reports that nine of the cases did not require relief, that five were already in receipt of assistance from the rates, and that in the remaining eight cases he considered it advisable to afford provisional relief. There is no undue strain on the resources of the Poor Law in this Union as yet.
§ MR. FLAVIN
Is the right honourable Gentleman not aware that the two Unions which comprise this distressed districts are in debt and cannot afford relief?
§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
Is it not the fact that hundreds of families in these districts are being fed by the Relief Committee?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
If there is any destitution not provided for by the Relief Committee it should be provided for by the guardians.