§ Mr. SHEEHAN
asked why the Local Government Board intend to sanction a rent of 1s. 9d. per week for labourers' cottages in the county of Mayo, whilst the 2560W average rent for similar cottages and allotments in Cork county is only 1s.; is the cost of land, labour, or materials any dearer in Mayo than in Cork; and, if not, why are the labourers in Mayo obliged to pay a rent in excess of the average for the rest of Ireland?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The original proposition of the Killala Rural District Council was to charge 1s. 10d. per week for cottages with acre allotments and 1s. 9d. for cottages with half-acre allotments, but as the result of the intervention of the Local Government Board the Council agreed to reduce the proposed rents to 1s. 9d. and 1s. 6d. respectively. These figures, as already stated, do not compare unfavourably with the rents charged in other rural districts in Mayo. Although the cost of providing cottages and plots of land in county Mayo may not be higher than in county Cork, there is a wide difference between the two counties as regards the ability of the ratepayers to bear the additional taxation in respect of the provision of labourers' cottages. In Cork the ratepayers, through their elected representatives, appear to be only too willing to tax themselves for this purpose to the extent of 1s. or 1s. 3d. (the maximum) in the £ by charging very low rents to the labourers for the cottages, but the hon. Member will readily recognise that it would be quite impossible for the ratepayers in the Congested Districts of Mayo to bear anything approaching this additional burden of taxation, and accordingly rents have to be charged approximating more nearly to the annual payments by these councils in respect of the cottages. If any deduction is to be drawn from the difference in the rents generally obtaining in the two counties, it is that the rents in county Cork should be increased and not that those in county Mayo should be reduced to the same level as those in the former county.