HC Deb 09 May 1898 vol 57 cc677-8

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he will state what the Irish Government and the boards of guardians are doing to see that the people of Ireland are properly provided in good time with potato spraying machines and the materials necessary to be used to check the potato disease; and what advantage will be taken by the Government to avail themselves of the generous offers of the principal Irish railway companies to convey Strawsonite and spraying machines free of charge on their various lines?


The Government have authorised loans to boards of guardians in Ireland for the supply of spraying machines for the use of occupiers of holdings valued at and under £15, and the guardians may either sell these machines for cash or let them out on hire to occupiers. An arrangement has also been entered into whereby spraying mixture may be supplied to small farmers through boards of guardians by means of loans repayable in two yearly instalments, or by cash purchase, with 20 per cent. abatement. It will be possible for an occupier to purchase one of these machines for cash at about a pound, and where a number of occupiers agree to hire a machine the hiring rates will be nominal. The guardians of some 30 unions have, so far, decided to supply the machines, and many more will doubtless do the same later on. The generous offers of the Irish railway companies will, of course, be taken advantage of by the guardians, and will result in a proportionate decrease in the cost of the machines to small farmers.


Will there be any means of guaranteeing the quality of the spraying mixture?


Yes, Sir, as far as the Government are concerned, precautions will be taken to secure the supply of suitable mixture.