§ Mr. NEWMAN
asked the Chief Secretary if he is aware that last year an inspector from the Local Government Board in Ireland made a report as to the Tralee Rural District Council's cottage scheme, in which 382 cottages were authorised and for which a loan of £65,750 was obtained, and reported that ninety-one cottages; 1513W were occupied, some of which were not finished; that fifteen more were supposed to be finished; that a further sixteen were in course of construction; and that over 200 had not been commenced; if he will state on what date the inspector made his report; will he state how many of the 382 cottages are still uncompleted; and if he proposes to take any steps in the matter?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
A report was made by the architect of the Local Government Board as stated in the question, but the amount of the loan was £65,700, and the number of cottages in course of erection was sixty-six. The date of the report is 10th April, 1911. On the 31st March last, the latest date for which Returns are available, there were 148 cottages returned as completed and 118 in course of construction under the scheme. As regards the last paragraph of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to his similar question, which appears later on the Paper.
§ Mr. NEWMAN
asked the Chief Secretary if he is aware that an inspector from the Local Government Board in Ireland reported, with reference to the Tralee Rural District Council's cottage scheme, that of the 107 cottage contracted for up to January, 1910, ninety-nine had been proceeded with to the date of his report, and that out of the ninety-nine cottages proceeded with, thirty-seven were not in accordance with the drawings and specifications, that only thirty cottages out of the sixty-two cottages conforming to the plans had the kitchen floor of tiles or flags as specified, and that only twenty-five cottages had the window sills of stone as specified, and that out of the ninety-one occupied cottages forty-seven fireplaces or chimneys in the living-room were defective, that in seventy-seven cottages occupied or in the course of construction the floor levels were too low, and that in sixty-five of the examined cases the mortar used was bad and the masonry defective, that in twenty-four cases the mortar was worthless, that in sixty-nine occupied or completed cottages the walls were either damp or wet, and that the damp walls were partly from the use of bad mortar and partly from bad masonry work, and might also be partly attributed to the defects in the construction of the cottages; and if he will state how the matter now stands and what the Local Government Board propose to do about the matter?1514W
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The facts are as stated. The local engineer under whom the works were carried out, and who had been in ill-health at the time of the architect's inspection, has since died, and the rural district council have entrusted the completion of the scheme to a competent engineer of considerable experience of this class of work, who, it is expected, will take special care to secure the completion of the cottages in accordance with the approved plans and specifications. Further inspection of the cottages will be made from time to time by the architects of the Local Government Board as the works progress.