HC Deb 09 May 1898 vol 57 cc678-9

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been directed to the resolutions adopted by the Dispensary Committee of Aclare, county Sligo, affirming that large numbers of the migrating labourers are in such a condition of destitution that they are unable to pay for tickets to take them to England; and whether, in view of the importance of enabling them to reach the districts where they usually engage in harvesting operations, he will make such arrangements with the Irish and English railway companies as will enable these men to travel to England?


My attention has been directed to the resolutions referred to in the first paragraph. There is only one Irish railway company associated with the migration of harvest men to England—namely, the Midland Great Western. Special through rates arranged between this company and the London and North Western Railway Company and the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company were made this year as usual, beginning so far back as the 4th February. The rates are very reasonable, and represent a reduction of from 33 to 40 per cent. on ordinary fares. I understand from the Midland Great Western Company that, as a matter of fact, the number of harvest men this year is an increase upon last year for the same period over the whole railway system. Under the circumstances it would not appear that any action is called for on the part of the Government, but if any general difficulty is shown to exist of the kind indicated in the Question the railway company might, perhaps, find it to their interest to reduce the fares still further in order to meet it.