§ 32. Mr. GUINEY
asked the Chief Secretary if the Local Government Board for Ireland have made inquiries as to the damage done to the potato crop in Ireland by the rains of last season and the consequent scarcity and rise in prices; and, if so, whether he will recommend the issue of an Order empowering boards of guardians to borrow money at a low rate of interest for the purpose of supplying seed potatoes to labourers and small farmers, repayable as in former seed-supply loans?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
It is not competent for the Local Government Board to issue an Order authorising boards of guardians to borrow money for the purpose of supplying seed to occupiers of land. Legislation would be necessary for this purpose, and the fact of seed being scarce and the price high would hardly afford grounds for re-enacting the Seed Supply Act. The information obtained by the Local Government Board does not indicate that there is a general failure of the potato crop this season.