HC Deb 04 May 1916 vol 82 cc103-4

asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) what practical steps, if any, the Department has taken to meet the complaints from all parts of Ireland of a shortage of labour and consequent inability to keep in tillage land broken last year or to dig and save turf for fuel; whether he is aware that the people resent exhortations for increased supplies of food and fuel from the Government which by denuding the country of labour makes such increase impossible; and whether the Department will, even now, take any effective measures to prevent a dearth of these two necessaries next winter?

Mr. T. W. RUSSELL (Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture,) Ireland

Owing to the difficulty of receiving telegrams, I have been unable to get precise information on the points raised by the hon. Member, but from my own actual knowledge I am able to say that the question of the hon. Gentleman is founded to a considerable extent on misconception of the facts. There is abundant evidence that the tillage area of Ireland, already increased last year by 80,000 acres, will be still further increased. No difficulty has arisen as to the turf supply for fuel. So far from the people resenting exhortations to provide more food, they are joining heartily all over the country in an effort to increase the supply, and the Department does not look forward to any dearth of the two necessaries alluded to in the question.


Has the Department not received information of land broken last year relapsing into grass this year?


I have been all over the country personally upon this business, and there is no such state of things.


There is.