§ MR. LONSDALE
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he has received a resolution passed by the Clogher Rural District Council, and endorsed by other public bodies, urging that Clause 18 of the Labourers Bill should be omitted or amended, and proposing that farmers should be enabled to borrow money on easy terms for the purpose of improving and erecting labourers' cottages on their farms; and whether he will consider the desirability of proposing such amendments of the Labourers Bill as will meet the wishes of a considerable body of public opinion in Ireland.
The Local Government Board have received the resolution in question, the purport of which is that the amount available for the erection of labourers' cottages by district councils should be devoted to the purpose of enabling occupiers of farms to borrow money on easy terms for the improvement of their own dwellings and outhouses as well as for the erection and improvement of labourers' cottages on their own farms. The question of improving farmers' houses is entirely outside the scope of the Labourers Bill, and the suggestion 52 as to making loans to farmers for the erection or improvement of labourers' cottages on their own holdings is not one which commends itself to the Government. In such case the important consideration that the loans should be secured by the rates would be entirely absent. I have no information that there is a considerable body of public opinion in Ireland in favour of the proposals mentioned.
§ MR. KILBRIDE
asked if the fundamental policy of the Labourers Act passed by Parliament, had not been to make the Irish labourer as independent of the farmer as the farmer had been made independent of the landlord?