§ Mr. MacVEAGH
asked the Chief Secretary whether the Local Government Board for Ireland proposes to take any action with regard to the neglect of the Moira (county Down) district council to carry out the fifth scheme for labourers' cottages; whether he is aware that the sites were secured and sanctioned by the 991W Local Government Board nearly two years ago and that the owners are still in possession, although the purchase price was paid a year ago; whether Dr. O'Neill reported over two years ago that many of the houses in which the labourers at present dwell are unfit for human habitation, and that the condition of the dwellings is now much worse than when that report was issued; and whether an inspector will be sent down at once to investigate any alleged obstacles in the way of carrying out the scheme?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
A loan to the Moira District Council for the erection of sixty-eight cottages was sanctioned by the Local Government Board in May, 1913, and the council proceeded to acquire the several plots which it is understood the council have now decided to mark off and fence. The council recently determined to postpone the erection of the cottages owing, as they state, to the increased cost of material and scarcity of workmen caused by the War. In 1912 Dr. O'Neill reported that fourteen cottages in the rural district were unfit for human habitation. There has been considerable delay in proceeding with the erection of these cottages and the Local Government Board are considering whether in the present circumstances they should take steps to exercise the compulsory powers vested in them.