§ 66. Mr. DORIS
asked whether the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland, on taking possession of arable lands of occupiers who have not complied with the Tillage Regulations, will be prepared to let such lands 1838 or portions of them to rural district councils for allotment to small landholders and labourers who are prepared to till them in accordance with the Regulations; and whether, in similar circumstances, they will let lands to urban councils to be allotted under urban schemes, so that seeds, manures, etc., may be obtained by the persons who undertake the tillage on the same terms as if such lands were taken by agreement between the councils and occupiers under council schemes?
§ Mr. DUKE
Where the occupier of land in a rural district fails to comply with the Defence of the Realm Regulations as to compulsory tllage, the Departmeint of Agriculture are empowered to enter upon the land and arrange for its cultivation by any person, or they may select the land and authorise a rural district council to exercise the powers as to cultivation. In such cases the arrangements for cultivation will be in the form of conacre lettings. In order to provide necessary food for residents in an urban district, the Department are empowered to acquire land compulsorily for the purpose of allotments, when in their opinion land for this purpose is being unreasonably withheld, and if the cultivation of the land in such cases is entrusted to an urban district council that council can arrange for the supply of the requisite seeds and manures.
§ Mr. DUKE
If the hon. Member will refer to the Regulations dealing with the matter he will see that the Department have power to enter where the conditions exist which are mentioned in the answer I read, and that they may, for the purpose of giving the necessary facilities for allotments, put in action these local district councils, who will take charge of the distribution and control of the land which is obtained by the compulsory powers.
§ Mr. FLAVIN
Will the Agricultural Department from to-morrow, or after tomorrow, when the date expires, take immediate action in the urban areas where the local landowners have refused to give any facilities for increased tillage? Will they give compulsory powers to the local authorities so that the land may be tilled and cultivated in time for the spring season?
§ Mr. FLAVIN
May I bring the situation of the county of Kerry before the right hon. Gentleman's notice? There are three urban authorities, and in no instance will the local landlord give any facilities.