HC Deb 13 January 1916 vol 77 cc1748-9
22. Mr. P. WHITE

asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether his attention has been called to a meeting of the Navan board of guardians, at which was read a letter of resignation from the chairman and secretary of the committee appointed to manage the plot on the Oldtown farm set apart for the use of local labourers, because of the action of the Department in refusing to allow a necessary operation to eradicate disease by temporarily ploughing the land; and whether, seeing that he has issued pamphlets and leaflets and addressed many public meetings urging upon farmers the importance of cultivating more land in order to increase the supply of home-raised food, he will explain why he refused the local committee the right to till the farm in order, in addition to other reasons, to produce food for the labourers' families, especially when the local landowners had offered to plough the land free of charge?


The attention of the Department has been drawn to the report of the meeting referred to. The plot in question was allotted by the Estates Commissioners to the Navan Rural District Council for purposes of pasturage in accordance with Sections 4 and 20 of the Irish Land Act, 1903, as amended by Section 18 of the Irish Land Act, 1909. The proposal of the rural district council was to amend the scheme of user approved under these Sections so as to permit of tillage. Unfortunately tillage is not one of the purposes enumerated in the Sections, and the Department have no legal power to amend the scheme of user in the sense desired.


Does the right hon. Gentleman not realise that the country is at war, and that the production of food is (necessary; and could he not do away with some of the red-tape of his office?


The fact that the country is at war does not authorise me to break an Act of Parliament.