§ Mr. SHEEHAN
asked whether the areas of plots attached to labourers' cottages in the Fermoy Rural District were in any instances found to be inadequate after fencing of the plots had actually taken place; if so, who was responsible for this; and what steps were taken to remedy it?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Local Government Board have received no complaint on this subject, but they observe from the minutes of proceedings of the Fermoy Rural District Council that a complaint has been made to the council in one instance and that an independent surveyor has found that the plot was five perches short of the authorised area. The council are apparently investigating the matter, but the Board are not aware whether the council have yet fixed responsibility for the mistake, or what steps they propose to take in the matter.
§ Mr. SHEEHAN
asked whether the Local Government Board have received any complaints from Ballycastle, in the Killala Rural District, county Mayo, as to the manner in which labourers applying for cottages and allotments have been treated by the council: whether sites were fixed, in most cases, in the worst corners of the land and cottages built on the double plan, against the wishes of the applicants; were numbers of the cottages first built let to naval pensioners, returned Americans, and others possessing considerable means, whilst deserving labourers were passed over; is the rent charged 1s. 9d. per week, and have the Local Government Board given their sanction to this; and, in all, how many cottages have been erected in the Killala Rural District prior to the Labourers Act of 1906, and how many have been sanctioned and erected since?1767W
§ Mr. BIRRELL
Complaints have been received by the Local Government Board as to the delay by the Killala Rural District Council in building authorised cottages. As compensation at an average rate of about £38 an acre was awarded by the arbitrator for the lands authorised to be acquired it would not appear that such lands are inferior. The Board have received one complaint regarding the erection of cottages in pairs, but this is a matter within the discretion of the council, who appear to be acting quite properly in building cottages in blocks, where feasible, with a view to economy. The Board have no information that the cottages have been let as alleged. The council's letting regulations, which are not yet confirmed by the Board, provide for a rent of 1s. 6d. a week being charged for cottages with half-acre plots, and 1s. 9d a week for those with acre plots, and the Board consider they are reasonable, and have expressed their willingness to confirm the regulations when submitted to them after the requisite preliminaries. No cottage was erected in the rural district prior to 1906, and the Board are not in a position to state the number actually completed at the present date out of the forty-one cottages authorised under the Labourers Act of 1906.