§ Mr. SHEEHAN
asked the Chief Secretary whether the system of agricultural credit banks for the assistance of the farming and cottier population prevails to any extent in Ireland; in so far as these banks exist are they due solely to voluntary effort and co-operative endeavour, or has the Department of Agriculture taken any part in their promotion, and, if so, to what extent; is he aware that the system of agricultural credit banks has been widely encouraged and generously supported by Continental states; and will he state the powers and intentions of the Irish Department of Agriculture in regard to their extension and popularisation in Ireland?981W
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I understand that there are over 260 co-operative agricultural credit societies in Ireland. The Department of Agriculture in Ireland do not directly promote the formation of such societies, but render them financial assistance by way of loan in suitable cases. I am aware that systems of agricultural credit are in extensive operation in certain Continental states, and the question as to the best method of further developing agricultural credit in Ireland is under consideration.