§ Mr. HAYDEN
asked (1) what steps have the Road Board taken to decide on the merits of the applications for grants sent in from Ireland in answer to the Board's circular of July last; do they intend to administer the Act in Ireland without any technical staff or office there; and, if so, will he state how they propose to decide on the merits of these applications; (2) whether the Road Board will make such arrangements for Ireland as will obviate the necessity of public bodies at great expense and inconvenience, as happened lately, making a journey to London on road business; whether they propose to have an office in Ireland to obviate this expense and loss of time; will he inform the House what inquiries are made before giving a grant for the improvement of roads in Ireland; whether the Road Board propose to make any inspection for this purpose; and what time do they estimate must elapse before they are in a position to apportion the grants applied for?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I understand that the Road Board do not consider it necessary to have an office outside London. They have no permanent technical staff. The Beard will, before making grants, make such enquiries as they may consider necessary in each ease to enable them to decide on applications for grants, and will arrange for any inspections which may be necessary. The Board have directed a letter to be addressed to each county council and county borough council in Ireland, intimating that the amount which they are prepared to allocate for grants towards works of road improvement in Ireland up to 31st March, 1912, is approximately £150,000, and indicating the roads towards the improvement of which the Board are prepared to contribute, and stating that it is the intention of the Board to afford representatives of the councils concerned an opportunity of personal conferences about the matter in Dublin in March next.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
Can the right hon. Gentleman inform us whether a similar letter has been sent to county councils in England?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I shall have to confer with the Road Board to obtain further information on this matter.
§ NEW MEMBER SWORN.—William Jones, esquire, for the County of Carnarvon (Northern or Arfon Division) on his reelection after appointment as one of the Junior Lords of the Treasury.