§ MR. GINNELL
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he has noticed that the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction has already cost, out of moneys voted by Parliament, more than £1,000,000, plus £252,639 contributed by local bodies; that in the six years since the Department was founded the area under grass, including meadow and clover, has increased, the area waste or half-cultivated has increased, and the area under tillage crops diminished; that emigration continues and now includes, in addition to agricultural workers, many on whose technical and scientific training public money has been expended; and if the committee of inquiry, now sitting, will investigate the methods which have 42 produced these results, with a view to suggesting a remedy.
The sums which have been voted by Parliament to the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction amount to £1,000,893. This sum, however, includes the cost of the various departments and institutions which were transferred by statute to the Department, including the Fisheries Office, the Veterinary Department, the Royal College of Science, the Science and Art Museum, the National Library, the Metropolitan School of Art, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. It also includes the Science and Art grants formerly administered from South Kensington, and grants in aid of the Congested Districts Board amounting to £160,000. The contributions of local bodies are not grants received by the Department, but are amounts levied by local authorities from the rates to be expended locally upon schemes subsidised by the Department. It is the fact that since the Department was founded the area under crops has decreased, and that the area under grass, including meadow and clover, has increased; but it is not the case that the area of waste land has increased. I am informed that the increase in pasture since 1900 has been much less marked than in the preceding years. Emigration no doubt continues, but I have no information that persons are emigrating on whose technical and scientific training public money has been expended. The terms of reference to the committee include an inquiry into the Department's funds and the modes of employing them.