HC Deb 16 November 1914 vol 68 c236W

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he has received a resolution passed by the Mountmellick Board of Guardians on the 10th October last drawing the attention of the Government to the advisability of utilising the labour of the German prisoners, at present domiciled in Ireland, for the purpose of draining the River Barrow, and emphasising the fact that troops of our own country taken prisoners are compelled to perform all sorts of menial work in Germany; and can he say whether the Government are prepared to adopt the course suggested in the resolution, considering the position in which the occupiers of land and other residents along the basin of the Barrow are placed on account of the neglected state of the river?


I have given careful consideration to the resolution referred to, but I regret that, on financial grounds alone, it is not possible to adopt the course it suggests. The value of the unskilled labour, such as could be furnished by prisoners of war, amounts only to one-thirtieth of the estimated cost of the whole project, and the special conditions involved in the housing and supervision of such prisoners while at work would do away with any economy derived from the employment of unpaid labour.

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