HC Deb 15 July 1907 vol 178 cc345-6

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if steps are being taken to make provision against the destitution that is certain to result from the destruction of the potato and other crops in the West of Ireland this year, because of the excessive rainfall and abnormally cold weather during the last few months; whether he is aware that in Connemara considerable distress exists at the present time consequent on the failure of the potato crop last year; and whether, in view of these seasons of distress and of famine in Connemara and other districts on the western seaboard, he will give his serious consideration to this question.


The prolonged wet and cold weather in the West of Ireland has given some cause for anxiety in regard to the safety of the crops. The weather of last week was, however, most favourable, and, though small patches of blight have appeared in a few places, the general appearance of the potato crop is very good, and the other crops promise equally well. There is as yet no abnormal distress in Connemara. The people are busily engaged in cutting their turf, and, given a continuance of the fine weather, it is not too late for them to secure their winter supply. The result of the harvest generally will depend mainly upon the weather of the next few weeks. The state of the crops and of the people who are dependent on them will continue to receive the most careful attention of the Government. The Department of Agriculture have been taking all possible measures to secure the spraying of potatoes, both by giving instruction and by the sale, at and under cost, of spraying machines and material. I would refer to the full statement on this subject made by my hon. friend the Vice-President of the Department on 19th June.†