§ 68. Brigadier-General McCALMONT
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether it is the policy of the Controller of Coal Mines to ensure that all available coal shall flow through the same channels and to the same customers as heretofore; whether he is aware that several coal merchants in Ireland who do not own ships are losing customers, owing to their inability to obtain supplies; and whether instructions will be issued that will ensure an even distribution throughout the trade?
§ Mr. WARDLE
Since September last the principle of continuing available coal supplies through the same channels as previously has been in force so far as possible. 1647 Whether the available supplies of coal should go to the same customers as heretofore depends entirely upon the importance of the work the consumers are doing. Work vital to the conduct of the War must have priority. The position, however, is affected in regard to quantities as a result of the release of miners for the Army, increased supplies to Allies, plus the effect of the influenza epidemic, which has largely affected the miners. The attention of the Coal Controller's representative in Ireland has again been drawn to this question.
§ Mr. FLAVIN
Is the price of coal in Ireland controlled, and is the hon. Gentleman aware that in many poor agricultural districts of that country labouring men and workmen have to pay £3 10s. a ton for coal?
§ Mr. FLAVIN
I only want to know whether the price is controlled in Ireland. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"] Why not?