HC Deb 12 February 1917 vol 90 cc284-5W

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether the food production scheme in England and Scotland is largely worked through war agricultural committees in each county or districts in counties; whether such committees are empowered to select the land most suitable in their respective areas for tillage purposes; if so, why is it that the Irish scheme was drafted and set forth without any consultation whatever with those who have the best knowledge as to the best mode of producing extra tillage, namely, the representatives of Irish county councils and Irish agricultural committees; why was Ireland treated in a different form to England and Scotland; why were the representatives of agriculture in Ireland absolutely ignored in the matter; and, in view of the dissatisfaction which prevails amongst all classes in Ireland as to the constitution and methods of the so-called food committee, will immediate steps be taken to set up a new scheme which will take the line adopted in Great Britain and by doing so carry to success the issues at stake.


The food production scheme, for the administration of which the Department of Agriculture are responsible, is worked mainly through the representative statutory county committees of agriculture which exist in every county in Ireland, and which are formed by the county councils and represent them. So far, therefore, from the representatives of agriculture being ignored they are consulted and brought into the actual administration of the scheme. I am not aware that there is, in fact, the dissatisfaction referred to by the lion. Member. Throughout Ireland, so far as the facts are within my knowledge, the great majority of occupiers of land are doing what they can to carry out the requirements of the Regulations.

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