§ Mr. BIRRELL
Precise information on this point could only be obtained by application to the various local authorities, but the number of houses built is approximately as follows:—
1909–10 … … … 329 1910–11 … … … 709 1911–12 … … … 665
§ Mr. O'DOHERTY
asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that Mr. Delany, Local Government Board inspector, some time ago held an inquiry under Scheme No. 4 adopted by the Innishowen Rural District Council, under the Labourers' Act, under which some six cottages were applied for in the townland of Aughilly, or Lenynarnan, in the Buncrana electoral division; that some twenty-five cottages were applied for on lands occupied by the same party in the townland of Ballymacarry Lower, one mile nearer to the town of Buncrana; that these lands in question are untenanted, the tenants who occupied them having been evicted without any compensation in 1847, and that they are at present used as grazing ranches by the representatives of the landlord's agents; whether he is aware that the present occupiers proposed to give sufficient land for all the cottages applied for on both ranches on that in Aughilly, or Lenynarnan, the one more distant by one mile from the town; that the sites committee recommended twenty-one cottages on the Ballymacarry Lower ranch and four on that in Aughilly, or Lenynarnan; will be say why the inspector refused to sanction any cottages on either of these ranches; do the representatives of these evicted families now reside in houses within the area of the town of Buncrana, at a weekly rent of 2s. to the number of twenty-two families; did the inspector sanction the demolition of the twenty-two houses which these families now occupy in order that nine labourers' cottages should be erected in their stead, and whether, in face of the refusal of the inspector to allow these labourers any houses on these lands from which their forefathers were evicted, and that no other houses of any kind suitable to these poor people are available in the town or its vicinity, these twenty-two families, who are at present under notice to quit without any fault of their own, are to be compelled, without compensation, to leaves their homes and seek shelter in the workhouse?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The facts are as indicated in the first two paragraphs of the question and statements were made at the inquiry as regards the present use of the lands referred to identical with those in the third paragraph of the question. An alterna-52W tive site for twenty-five out of the thirty-one cottages proposed was offered at the inquiry by the owner's solicitor, but it does not appear to have been acceptable to the council, as they considered that the locality was inconvenient for the labourers. The Local Government Board have no information as to the recommendations of the sites committee, but the inspector disallowed the two sites in question on the ground that "necessity was not established." It appears that in nine of these cases the inspector was not satisfied that the applicants were "agricultural labourers," within the meaning of the Labourers Acts; in five cases the proposal was withdrawn by the district council; one of the applicants was an old age pensioner; two others were absent in Scotland at the time of the inquiry; while in two other cases alternative sites were offered by the owner, but were apparently refused by the applicants. The Board have no information as to the present residences of the families referred to. Under Section 17 of the Labourers Act of 1885, the inspector holding the local inquiry is required to report to the Board the cases of any houses occupied as dwelling houses by labourers which are proved to his satisfaction to be unfit for human habitation; but he is given no powers to order the demolition of such houses, the matter being one in which the rural district council must act, but only when suitable housing accommodation has been provided by them. Of the thirty-one houses referred to in the question, it would appear that only one was proved at the inquiry to be unfit for human habitation; and of the thirty-one representations made only three were made on those grounds, the remaining twenty-eight being made on the ground that there was insufficient accommodation in the locality,