HC Deb 30 June 1915 vol 72 cc1803-4

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if he will state the constitution of the Committee appointed to consider what steps can be taken to increase the production of food in Ireland; the terms of reference; whether the Committee is directed to visit the evicted ranches or any of them; the date by which it is required to report; and what preparations are being made by the Estates Commissioners for promptly acquiring and distributing such ranches as the Committee report ought to be broken up and brought under tillage.


The constitution of the Departmental Committee on Food Production in Ireland, together with the terms of reference (which are identical with those of the corresponding Committees for England and Scotland) appeared in the Press yesterday. No directions beyond those contained in the terms of reference have been given to the Committee, and no date has been fixed by which the Committee are required to report, but they will doubtless realise the desirability of framing their recommendations as early as possible. With regard to the last part of the question, I must refer the hon. Member to the last part of my reply to his question of the 24th instant.


asked, having regard to the obstacle to the increase of food supply in Ireland afforded by the practice of grazing on the evicted lands and the consequent dearth of labour, whether the Local Government Board will immediately enable all the district councils whose districts comprise such lands to provide sufficient cottages and plots for labourers to work those lands when broken up for tillage?


The promotion of schemes for the provision of cottages and allotments under the Labourers Acts rests with the rural district councils and all schemes so promoted are dealt with by the Local Government Board in due course. Owing, however, to the restrictions in borrowing money from public funds, the erection of cottages under such schemes is at present confined to those proposed in substitution of houses proved to be unfit for human habitation and incapable of being properly repaired.


Will the right hon. Gentleman make any provision whatever for the case referred to in connection with food production in Ireland?


No, Sir; not in connection with labourers' cottages.