HC Deb 19 February 1914 vol 58 cc1109-10
14. Captain CRAIG

asked the Chief Secretary if the attention of the Local Government Board in Ireland has been drawn to the manner in which the Labourers Act has been administered by the Listowel District Council; if cottages which have been built under the provisions of that Act have been let to many people who are not labourers in the proper meaning of the term, and are held by bakers, butchers, carpenters, postmen, blacksmiths, road stewards, and naval pensioners; whether that council has applied for a further loan of £2,000 to build more cottages, and if the loan is to be granted; whether the council has appointed an engineer and inspector of cottages at further expense to the ratepayers; whether he is aware that the local medical attendant in Listowel holds two plots of land which were appropriated under the Labourers Act, paying a rent for them to the man to whom they were allocated; and will he state what action he proposes to take?


No general charges of maladministration of the Labourers Acts have been made against this council, but complaints have been received as to their action in the matter of letting cottages similar to that stated in the question. The selection of tenants for labourers' cottages is vested in the rural district council, and the Local Government Board are not empowered to interfere with their discretion in this matter. There is no application before, the Board for a loan of £2,000, but the council have made a new scheme involving an expenditure of £55,722, which cannot be proceeded with until further funds are provided. The council have appointed a clerk of works at £2 a week to assist the engineer in regard to the completion of new cottages, and the repair of cottages already built. The two plots referred to were taken temporarily by the late medical officer of the district, but in December, 1912, the council directed that this arrangement should terminate and the plots be let to two labourers. No action on the part of the Local Government Board appears to be necessary at present.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Listowel District Council has put up 700 cottages which have been let to labourers at 1s., and that the Castlereagh Council, reported by the hon. and gallant Gentleman, have only put up twenty-one cottages, for which they are charging from 1s. 8d. to 2s. 6d. per week?

Captain CRAIG

We are more independent in the North than they are in Listowel.