§ MR. MCKILLOP (Armagh, S.)
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that on two occasions during the past two years the schemes of direct labour adopted by the Armagh County Council fell through; that, in consequence, proposals had to be brought before the Crosmaglen and other district councils in the county for consideration with the sanction of the county surveyor, and that these proposals were afterward rejected by the Armagh County Council at their meeting held on March 14th last; and whether, in view of the breakdown of the direct labour scheme in Armagh and the additional cost to the ratepayers which is entailed whilst in operation, steps will be taken by the Local Government Board to give effect to the wishes of the various district councils of the county who are all in favour of contract labour.
The Local Government Board are aware that on two occasions during the past two years the direct labour scheme of the county council could not be put in operation owing to informalities in procedure. The county council at their mooting on March 14th referred back for modification certain proposals of rural district councils to maintain by contract, for considerable periods, roads proposed to be included in the direct labour scheme. No formal direct labour scheme in pursuance of the Procedure of Councils Order has ever been in operation in county Armagh, but the county council have arranged to hold a special meeting for the purpose of adopting a final declaration and scheme. If the scheme should be passed it will be open to any rural district council to appeal to the Board against it, whereupon the Board will make careful inquiry into the grounds of complaint. If, however, the scheme should not be finally adopted, the roads will be maintained as usual by contract without any steps being taken by the Board in the matter.
§ MR. JOYCE (Limerick)
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that where direct labour is in operation the work is better done and the roads much better kept than is the case by contract?
I have no personal knowledge, but I have no doubt the hon. Member's statement is correct.