§ Mr. SHEEHAN
asked whether the attention of the Department of Agriculture has been drawn to a Resolution adopted by the Cork District Committee of the Irish Land and Labour Association to the effect that the question of an immediate advance in the rate of wages for all agricultural occupations is one which demands the best thought and practical effort of the various interests connected with the growth and development of the agricultural industry of Ireland, and suggesting that the Department should take steps by the appointment of a departmental committee, or otherwise, to ascertain the views of farmers, labourers, and other classes concerned as to what might constitute a reasonable standard of wages, under existing conditions, for the various Irish provinces; whether the Department has already testified to the necessity for an improvement in the rate of wages paid to agricultural labourers; and does it propose to use its influence and authority to deal with the question in any way?825W
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland have not seen the Resolution referred to. In the Report issued by the Department on Agricultural Labourers in Ireland for the year 1909–10, the opinion is expressed that the standard of wages for agricultural labourers is lower in Ireland than in Great Britain, but it is pointed out that the question is a difficult and personal one which only the Irish farmers and the Irish labourers themselves can solve. The Department, not having any authority to regulate wages, cannot take action on the lines suggested in the question.