HC Deb 25 March 1907 vol 171 cc1455-6
MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been directed to the report of the clerk to the Kingstown Urban District Council stating that, owing to the action of Lords Longford and De Vesci and the Earl of Carysfort, over 120 houses have been or will be closed and a number of workers and their families evicted; whether those evictions are the result of the refusal of the said Lords to comply with sanitary requirements; whether he is aware that those houses have been taken over by Lords Longford and De Vesci and the Earl of Carysfort at the termination of a lease term from the builders or owners; and whether he will take into consideration the advisability of immediately adopting measures calculated to prevent the further depopulation and pauperisation of the Kingstown urban district.

(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) The Local Government Board have received the Report of the Kingstown Public Health †See (4) Debates, clxxi., 193. Committee, which contains statements to the effect set forth in the Question. The Board are not entitled to intervene in the matter, which is one to be dealt with by the urban district council so far as their powers enable them to do so. Under the Public Health Acts and Housing of the Working Classes Acts the urban district council have power to compel owners of insanitary houses to put them in a habitable condition, and, if they fail to do so, a further order may be obtained directing the houses to be closed and demolished. There is no power, however, to compel the owners to erect new houses to replace those so demolished. The urban district council can provide artisans' dwellings under the Housing of the Working Classes Act, and have already undertaken a large scheme for the purpose at considerable expense, having obtained special borrowing powers from Parliament. The Local Government Board understand that it is contended on behalf of the landlords referred to that the insanitary condition of the houses in question arose during the currency of long leases, when they, as head landlords, had no power to intervene, while the local sanitary authority had the power but declined to use it.