HC Deb 19 February 1917 vol 90 cc988-9W

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland if he is aware that the success or failure of the food-production scheme in Ireland will largely, if not wholly, depend on the supply of labour available; whether he is aware that labour in agricultural districts in Ireland is very scarce; if he will explain why the English Government Departments are every day weeding Ireland of those who are absolutely essential for the coming season if extra food is to be produced by inducing them to come over to munition and other works outside Ireland; and will immediate steps be taken to make representations to the heads of Government Departments hero to the effect that Ireland needs her own labour to work in her own munition factories, which are the corn and potato fields, as if the present exodus continues it will mean that crops will be put into the ground only to rot there?


Considerable numbers of labourers have left Ireland for munition work in Great Britain, but there is still a fair supply of agricultural labour. The Department of Agriculture have made investigations as regards available migratory labourers, and they inform me that in the districts from which migration of labour usually takes place there are about 5,000 general agricultural labourers and some hundreds of ploughmen who are prepared to take up employment in other parts of Ireland immediately if offered wages considered satisfactory.