§ 6 and 12. Captain SHEEHAN
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland (1) whether his attention has been called to the demand of the agricultural cottage holders of Mid-Cork for an extension or addition of land to their cottages, as their present allotments are wholly insufficient in these exceptional times for providing sufficient food supplies for themselves and their families; whether, particularly, any steps can be taken in the various localities for providing them with suitable wheat-growing land so as to avoid a bread famine this year or next; whether, seeing that the agricultural labourers are the backbone of all increased food production, he will use his influence immediately in the direction of having this demand granted wherever it is shown there is necessity for it; (2) whether he is aware that the circular letter of the Local Government Board, dated 22nd January, 1917, and addressed to rural district councils in Ireland, deals only with the question of town labourers and the provision of allotments for them; whether, in view of the urgency that allotments should be made available for all classes of workers in rural localities, anything was done last year or is being done at present by rural district councils to meet this pressing necessity; and whether the Local Government Board will at once communicate with the rural district councils and request them to take action to provide allotments for all workers who require them, whether resident in town or country?
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL for IRELAND (Mr. Arthur Samuels)
The Local Government, Ireland, have done what they can to encourage rural authorities to acquire land for allotments in the neigh- 2095 bourhood of towns and villages, and the Department of Agriculture are constantly adding to the large number of conacre holdings which they have provided. The progress of this work has been hampered during the last two or three weeks by a conspiracy which has been organised in Ireland to prevent the operation and extension of the tillage arrangements planned by the Government, but the Department hope to overcome this hindrance. There is, I am told, no evidence of any general demand among tenants of labourers' cottages in Mid-Cork for an extension of their garden allotments.
§ Captain SHEEHAN
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a meeting of the labourers of Cork has been held to demand an extension of their allotments, and that it is as a result of that meeting that I have put this question on the Paper; and is he not further aware that the granting of these facilities for tillage is the best means of preventing these raids on land which are taking place all over Ireland?
§ Mr. SAMUELS
That would require new legislation which it would take a considerable amount of time to carry.
§ Captain SHEEHAN
Could not the Department of Agriculture, by means of its powers under the Defence of the Realm Act, make temporary provision for acquiring additional allotments for the use of these men?