HC Deb 30 October 1908 vol 195 cc630-1
MR. JOHN O'CONNOR (Kildare, N.)

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can state how many distress committees have been organised in Ireland under the Act of 1905, and what the extent and nature of their operations have been; whether the Local Government (Ireland) Board have had anything to do with the formation of such distress committees, and whether that Board held communication with the President of the Local Government (England) Board in respect to relief works to be administered by Distress Committees in Ireland; are any measures being now taken by any public body or Government Department in Ireland to avail themselves of the extended provisions for relief of distress during the present winter; and will he state what those are, if any.

(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) Twenty-one distress committees have been organised in Ireland. The nature and extent of their operations cannot be adequately stated within the limits of an oral Answer, and I would therefore ask the hon. Member to accept the assurance of the Local Government Board that on the whole the operations of these committees have been conducted with care and judgment. The Local Government Board for Ireland have had frequent communications with the English Board on the subject. Belief operations are already in progress in Belfast, and the Dublin Distress Committee will, it is expected, commence operations at an early date. The only other application relating to the coming winter's operations which has yet been received is one from the Ennis Distress Committee, which is receiving attention. I will make inquiries as to whether it will be possible for any Government Department in Ireland to undertake work which will have the effect of alleviating distress.