HC Deb 26 July 1916 vol 84 cc1669-70

asked the Secretary of State for War whether farmers and others in many parts of Ireland are ignorant of the Regulations governing the commandeering of hay by the military authorities; and, as there are many people in the cities and towns who have to buy hay at the present time for their horses, will he state what those Regulations are?


Large numbers of posters giving full particulars have been distributed throughout Ireland since the date' of the Order, and I hope that by this time farmers and others interested are sufficiently acquainted with the Regulations. Generally it is provided that no hay may be sold without a Government licence, which may be obtained from officers described as District Purchasing Officers of Supplies. I will furnish to my hon. Friend a list of the officers in Ireland.


Is it not a fact that these officers live a very long way from these country districts and is not great delay caused through a small farmer having to apply for a permit to such an officer? I will give the hon. Gentleman a case. Is he aware that at a market about a week ago a load of hay was brought in and many people with horses wanted to buy it, but the farmer could not sell it, and it had to be taken away? Will he see that the permits can be got without any unavoidable delay?


I will do my best to meet that point.


Is it a fact that while the hay crop of Ireland is about 4,000,000 tons, the Government only want 100,000 tons, and that they are holding up the 4,000,000 tons to get the 100,000 tons?


I will look into that. I do not carry the precise figures in my mind.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that only the other day in a certain town in Queen's County hay wholly unfit for the feeding of horses, soft hay only fit for feeding cattle, was prohibited from being sold, and cannot he stop that kind of thing at once?