HC Deb 17 February 1908 vol 184 cc451-2
MR. SHEEHAN (Cork County, Mid.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in the case of rural district councils who have failed to complete the formalities in connection with improvement schemes under the Labourers Acts, representations for which were received by them in February, 1907, special steps will be taken by the Local Government Board to compel the prompt completion of these schemes; can he state the names of the district councils in each county in Munster by whom improvement schemes have been formulated but not completed; and will he consider the advisability of recommending, in cases of flagrant delay, that a time limit should be fixed within which schemes should be completed and submitted to the Local Government Board.


Improvement schemes under the Act of 1906 have already been received by the Local Government Board from 154 of the 213 rural districts in Ireland, and in the majority of the remaining 59 rural districts, schemes are in different stages of progress. This is a highly creditable record of the voluntary action of local authorities towards improving the housing conditions of the labouring classes in rural district, and indicates that there is no ground for any allegation that there has been a general default on their part in this respect. In some instances rural district councils had only obtained orders confirming schemes immediately before the passing of the new Act, and in consequence were not so eager to embark on new schemes, while in others, principally in Munster, the former Acts had been actively put into operation and a large number of cottages erected so that the necessity for action under the new Act in these districts was not so urgent. For these and other reasons the fixing, as suggested, of a "time limit" to apply universally, would appear to be inadvisable, but the Local Government Board will carefully consider the circumstances of each case in which complaints are made of undue delay, and take such action as they think proper in pursuance of Section 9 of the new Act. Out of the 60 rural districts in Munster, schemes have been received from 40 since 1st February, 1907. I will communicate to the hon. Member the names of the remaining 20 districts.