HC Deb 28 June 1907 vol 177 cc209-10
MR O'SHEE (Waterford, W.)

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieu- tenant of Ireland whether, with a view to arresting national deterioration and promoting the growth of a healthy people, he will advise the extension to Ireland of the principle of the English Small Holdings and Allotments Bill, namely, that the county councils be invested with powers to acquire, by compulsion if necessary, suitable lands for the establishment of small holdings of from five to fifty acres, not exceeding the annual value of £50; and whether ho is aware that the Waterford County Council on the 11th instant passed a Resolution urging the extension of the Bill to Ireland.

(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The Government do not propose to extend this Bill to Ireland. The operations of the Congested Districts Board and the Estates Commissioners, as well as those of the local authorities under the Labourers Acts in regard to small holdings and allotments, will afford sufficient scope in Ireland in the direction indicated for some time to come. It is very doubtful whether the finances of Irish counties would be able to bear further burdens such as might be imposed by the Bill, but in any event it would be desirable to wait and see the result produced in England before applying the principle of the Bill to Ireland.