asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that Lord Barrymore in the period of 1878–80 secured loans for the erection of houses for labourers under the Land Improvement Acts within the Tipperary electoral division at a, lower rate of interest than could in 1884 be had by the board of guardians, the sanitary authority of the district, and that cottages and half-acre plots erected by the board of guardians under their improvement scheme of 1884 are let on an average at a rent of 1s. per week while Lord Barrymore's inferior cottages, with plots of not more than 5 perches in any case, are let at an average rent of 3s. 6d. per week; if he will say whether loans to Lord Barrymore, originally given at £5 per cent. rent-charge covering principal and interest for a period of thirty-five years and reduced by the Public Works Loans Act, 1889, to a £4 per cent. rent-charge, have yet been repaid; if not, when will they be 63W redeemed; whether he is aware that when the loans are repaid Lord Barrymore will enjoy a revenue of £400 per year from forty-four cottages erected in the Tipperary urban district (in 1878–80 a portion of the Tipperary electoral division), as referred to by the Chief Secretary in his letter of 3rd November, 1916, addressed to the hon. secretaries of the Association of Municipal Authorities in Ireland; and whether, seeing that the loans obtained for the houses in question have not been used for the purpose for which the money was advanced by the State, he will hold an inquiry with a view to placing the responsibility for the diversion of the money from the objects laid down by the Statute and for the non-enforcement of the covenants there under regulating the issue of the loans?
§ Mr. DUKE
The rate of interest charged in 1878–1880 on loans under the Landed Property Improvement (Ireland) Acts was 3½ per cent., as prescribed by Statute, and the period of repayment was thirty-five years. The rate of interest chargeable in 1884 in respect of loans for the same period to boards of guardians for the erection of houses for labourers was 3¼ per cent. All the loans made to Lord Barrymore will not be paid off till 1925. I am informed that there are no arrears, that the rent-charges are paid regularly, and that any revenue derived out of the cottages after the loans have been paid will obviously be in respect of the capital expenditure by Lord Barrymore. I have no official information as to the rents charged for cottages by the Tipperary Board of Guardians and by Lord Barrymore respectively, but if only 1s. per week is charged by the guardians it is insufficient to meet the loan charge, apart from any question of repairs. As regards the rest of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to his previous question on the 29th of October.