HC Deb 03 April 1917 vol 92 cc1107-8
36. Mr. LYNCH

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether, in view of the shortage of food already felt in some parts of Ireland, he will state the number of acres in West Clare suitable for tillage but not now being tilled; and whether steps will be taken, by using compulsory powers or otherwise, to have all those lands divided for the tenants who will at once undertake the tillage?


No statistics are available to enable an answer to be given, to the first part of the question. In cases of default in complying with the Compulsory Tillage Regulations, the steps authorised by the Regulations will be taken.


Will the right hon. Gentleman once more weigh this fact: that whereas there is a shortage of potatoes in this country and in Ireland, there are hundreds of thousands of acres of waste land in Ireland not being tilled at all? Has he the courage to face that responsibility?

38. Mr. LYNCH

asked the Chief Secretary whether the Kildeemo farm, on the estate of Lord Leconfield, West Clare, is being fully tilled in accordance with the Government scheme; and, if not, whether the portion of that farm still available to the congests will be divided amongst them without delay?


The inquiries in this case are not yet completed.

39. Mr. LYNCH

asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that the Congested Districts Board has administered the Land Act of 1909 in West Clare in such a dilatory and inefficient manner as to cause discontent; whether at the present crisis the Board has practically suspended operations; whether, in view of the gravity of the food problem in Ireland, he will advise the Board to use its powers with thoroughness and expedition; and whether he will take steps to meet any objections on the ground of finance that may be put forward to excuse inaction?


Every suitable estate offered to the Congested Districts Board in West Clare has been purchased and the Board have utilised their available resources and staff for the preparation for resale of the estates purchased as far as practicable. Only a small portion of the estates purchased and vested in the Board remain unsold, but the purchase of estates in the congested districts has been temporarily suspended, and estate improvement works have recently been discontinued in order to release workmen for the cultivation of the land for the production of food crops. In view of the gravity of the food problem in Ireland the Board have done everything which in their opinion would assist in the increase of food production. They have disposed of untenanted land as far as possible and have made available for cultivation by persons desirous of producing food crops all the suitable arable untenanted land in their possession. The Board's operations have not been hindered on the grounds of finance.


Looking at the phrasing "as far as possible," and in view of the fact that for years the Congested Districts Board have been acting as if they were deliberately delaying any working of the machine for which they were called into existence, will the right hon. Gentleman further consider the subject?


The matter is one which I hope to have the opportunity of discussing with the Congested Districts Board.

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