HC Deb 30 October 1918 vol 110 cc1488-9W

asked the Minister of Munitions whether any provision has been made in the conditions under which licences are issued to scutch mills in Ireland providing for safe lighting and heating of the mills or as regards the fans fitted to exhausts or the distance at which flax should be stacked away from the mill; and whether, in view of the number of fires which have taken place by causes connected with these matters, he will consider the propriety of issuing further Regulations dealing with these matters, in order to prevent the loss of valuable commodities and to enable millowners to effect insurances on their premises and on the stocks committed to their care?


No provisions have been made in the conditions under which licences are issued to scutch mills, providing for any special type of lighting and heating, or as regards fans fitted to exhausts, although suggestions as to the best and safest methods are always made by the inspectors of the Ministry of Munitions. The majority of Irish mills are very primitive, and the owners are not in a position to carry out the most modern methods. If licences were granted only under these conditions, the industry would probably be discouraged and supplies of flax would be prejudiced. With regard to the stacking of flax, one condition of the licence is that only a normal four weeks' output of flax may be stacked around the mill—any balance must be elsewhere. This condition has already had the effect of a quantity of flax being saved in recent fires. The Ministry of Munitions does not propose to issue further Regulations dealing with these matters. The largest mill-owners insure their stocks of flax at the present time.