§ Mr. J. P. FARRELL
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman's attention has been called to the action of two large farmers in the Boyle union in demanding the return to them of two acre plots of land which had been compulsorily acquired by the Boyle District Council for the erection of labourers' cottages, on the ground that these cottages were not built inside-two years from the date of the order authorising erection; whether he is aware that a number of cottages await erection in the Granard and Longford unions, respectively, because it is stated that contractors cannot be found to erect them at the price limit fixed by the Local Government Board; whether he is aware that, owing to increased cost of labour and materials, a house, according to the accepted plans, cannot now be erected for much less than £200, the present average being £170; and will he direct, in the interest of hastening the erection of cottages for which orders have been issued that the limit be left at the discretion of the local authority in each case in future?
§ Mr. REDMOND BARRY
The Boyle Rural District Council failed to make arrangements for the erection of labourers' dwellings within two years after the confirmation of the Order, and the Council propose to reconvey the sites to the persons interested, under Section 15 of the Labourers Act of 1883. Fair progress has been made in the carrying out of the current schemes in the rural districts of 1797 Granard and Longford. Delay is not always attributable to the unwillingness of contractors to build at prices within the estimate. The number of contractors in a district is generally small, so that only a limited number of cottages can be erected at a time. In Longford the rural district council have been obliged to press contractors on account of their dilatoriness, whilst a number of tenders for the erection of cottages were recently accepted at slightly over £130 per cottage. In Granard the average amount of a tender has been about £134 per cottage. In the majority of rural districts it has been found that £170 is sufficient to cover the cost of acquiring and fencing land, erecting a cottage, and providing for all professional and other expenses. Rule 40 of the Labourers (Ireland) Order, 1906, makes provision for cases in which a council fails to obtain tenders at the sum estimated.