§ MR. O'MALLEY (Galway, Connemara)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he will state what steps, if any, will be taken by the Irish Government to deal with the distress prevailing in the west of Ireland consequent on the failure of last year's potato crop.
§ MR. BIRRELL
I am glad to say that the reports which have lately been, received by the Government indicate that no apprehension of general distress in Ireland need be entertained, though in some areas in the western districts a limited number of families will require assistance. Under the provisions of the Local Government Act, 1898, employment for wages, subject to conditions prescribed by the Local Government Board, may be afforded to all poor persons who are proper subjects for relief. The Government will be prepared, if necessary, to follow the precedent of 1905, and to defray such share of the extra expense 313 incurred as may seem proper in each district. Whether, having regard to the limited nature of the distress, some other method of dealing with it may be devised, is engaging my serious attention.