§ Mr. SHEEHAN
asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that the Kilmallock rural district council have repeatedly appealed to the Local Government Board for loans under the Labourers (Ireland) Acts, to enable them to provide the additional half-acre allotment for the numerous labourers in the district who have not yet got it; can he explain the reason why the Local Government Board are withholding their sanction to these necessary loans; is he aware that the honourable Member for East Limerick has written to the district council stating that he got an assurance from the Chief Secretary at the time the Labourers Amendment Bill of this year was going through, that the million could be used for providing additional allotments; will he say if this assurance was given; and, if so, is it his intention, in the interests of the labourers, to have it carried out; and will he state what is the cause of the delay in holding the local inquiry asked for by the council and long overdue?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The facts in regard to the applications for a loan for additional allotments by the Kilmallock Rural District Council are as stated in the first part of the question. The reason why these loans have not yet been approved is that the Local Government Board feel bound to give priority to schemes for building cottages for labourers living in insanitary hovels over those schemes which are only required for the less urgent purpose of providing larger allotments for those who have already obtained good cottages and half-acre plots. I certainly gave no assurance which would prevent the Local Government Board deferring allotment schemes till the more urgent need of new cottages for the labourers who have not yet had the benefits of the Act have been met. If the council choose to borrow in the open market for the purpose of providing additional allotments they can do so even now.