§ MR. MURPHY (Kerry, E.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether the Department of Agriculture exercise any 793 supervision over the annual sums granted to the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society; and by what power and authority are such sums granted, seeing that this society, aided by public money, is in direct competition with other similar societies dealing in Irish agricultural produce.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. WYNDHAM,) Dover
The sums paid to the society have been in respect of the remuneration and expenses of its officials whom the Department has employed from time to time instead of appointing additional officers on its staff. No payments have been made by way of grant. The Act of 1899 authorises the Department to apply its funds, with the concurrence of the Agricultural Board, for the purposes of promoting agricultural and other rural industries.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I do not know if that is an accurate description, and even if it were I think the action of the society is one we ought to view with pleasure. The duty of the Department is to spend money for the promotion of agriculture, and, as I have said, it has simply employed officials of the society instead of increasing its own staff.