§ 23. Mr. SHEEHAN
asked the Chief Secretary whether, as promised, he has communicated with the Macroom Rural District Council as to the desirability of taking immediate steps to build the 120 1542 cottages for labourers which, though sanctioned several years ago by the Local Government Board, have not yet been commenced; will he state when the improvement scheme of which these cottages are part was finally promulgated; whether their non-erection is due to the fact that the sum allowed by the district council for the erection of each cottage is insufficient to induce contractors to tender, having regard to the present prices of building materials; whether some pressure will be applied to the district council to compel them to provide cottages for labourers whose present dwellings have been long ago condemned by the medical officer of health as unfit for habitation; is he aware that other district councils have with success employed direct labour for the erection of labourers' cottages where contractors could not be obtained; and is there any reason why the Macroom Rural District Council should not have recourse to this method to relieve the housing necessities of these 120 labourers?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Local Government Board have again communicated with the district council. The loan for the improvement scheme in question was sanctioned in September, 1908, and it is probably correct that the sum allowed by the district council for the erection of the cottages is insufficient to induce contractors to tender. The Board have asked the district council to call a special meeting for the purpose of issuing fresh advertisements for tenders without making any limit of expenditure. The tenders received should enable the council to judge whether it would be more satisfactory and economical for them to enter into contracts even at somewhat increased prices, or to inaugurate a scheme of direct labour. Only in very few instances has direct labour been attended with success, and experience has shown that as a general rule it is more satisfactory to have the cottages erected by contract.