Land Cultivation At Marble Hill Estate

Land Cultivation At Marble Hill Estate (IRELAND)

02 April 1917

Mr. DUFFY

(Constituencies-Galway South October 1, 1900 – December 14, 1918)

Asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that a number of fanners living in the district of Marble Hill, Loughrea, are anxious to assist the Government in raising more food this year; whether he is aware that certain large areas of land are to be found in the district where the owners are making no reasonable attempt to cultivate their proper share this year; and will he make inquiries and compel such people either to cultivate the land themselves or let it to the farmers, who are willing to answer the appeal of the State, at a live and let live rent?

Mr. DUKE

(Chief Secretary for Ireland 1916 – 1918)

The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. I have no knowledge as to any large areas of land in the district of which the owners are making no reasonable attempt to cultivate their proper share. The Defence of the Realm Regulations will be enforced in cases of default.

Mr. DUFFY

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that Captain Sir Gerald Burke, Marble Hill, Woodford, offered all the land he occupies outside of his demesne to a deputation that waited upon him some time ago for tillage this year; whether he is aware that the farmers accepted the offer, and made arrangements accordingly to procure machinery and seed for the planting of such crops as they contemplated; whether he is aware that this land has since been refused to them; and will he take steps to see that these farmers are afforded facilities to assist the Government, in answer to the appeal made to them, to raise extra food in the present year?

Mr. DUKE

I am informed that a dispute has arisen as regards the circumstances mentioned in the first part of the 935W question. Some farmers did make arrangements to procure machinery and seed. The Department of Agriculture have the matter under consideration.

Mr. KILBRIDE

(Constituencies-Kerry South September 27, 1887 – July 13, 1895, Galway North July 13, 1895 – October 1, 1900, Kildare South May 23, 1903 – December 14, 1918)

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether his attention has been directed to the fact that over considerable areas of the arable land of the midlands and south-east of Ireland barley produces in normal years in or about twenty barrels to the acre, I.P.M., that is 320 stones weight, wheat on these lands producing in or about ten barrels to the acre, I.P.M., that is 200 stones weight; whether he is aware that wheat yields 80 per cent. and barley 60 per cent. of flour, consequently an Irish acre of barley grown on the land mentioned will give for food 192 stone of flour and wheat 160 stone;; and whether, with a view to having the land used for the greatest production of human food, steps will be immediately taken to safeguard and encourage the growing of barley on the lands more suitable for the production of this crop than other grain?

 Mr. DUKE

The Department of Agriculture are fully aware of the value of barley as a food crop and that certain districts in Ireland are particularly suitable for growing it. They have advised farmers to grow it on good barley soils in preference to oats, but on land where oats give the best return the Department consider it advisable to grow this crop instead of barley.

Mr. KENNEDY

(Constituencies-Cavan West June 11, 1904 – December 14, 1918)

asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) if he is aware that discontent is being caused in Cavan by the fact that Mr. R. H. Johnston, Bawnboy House, Bawnboy, county Cavan, who holds large areas of land in Galway as well as near the village of Swanlinbar, county Cavan, has not tilled any of his Cavan lands and refuses to set any of it in tillage; is he aware that many of the villagers in Swanlinbar, who have relations at the front, cannot get any conacre for potatoes owing to Mr. Johnston’s action; and will any steps be taken?

 Mr. DUKE

This is a case in which the owner holds land in two counties, and it is open to him, if he so desires, to carry out on one holding the total area of tillage required under the Defence of the Realm Regulations.

Mr. D. BOYLE

(Constituencies-Mayo North January 15, 1910 – December 14, 1918)

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland what provision has been made on the island of Inniskea South, 936W county Mayo, for increasing the area of tillage; and if the common land of about 40 acres will be distributed amongst the small holders for this purpose?

 Mr. DUKE

The Department of Agriculture are making inquiries in the matter.

 Mr. BOYLE

asked what steps have been taken by the Congested Districts Board to distribute, drain, and fence the holdings on the Mrs. J. A. Atkinson estate, Glencastle, Erris, county Mayo; and what facilities have been afforded to tenants on the estate for increased tillage this spring?

 Mr. DUKE

The estate of Mrs. J. A. Atkinson is not yet vested in the Congested Districts Board. There is no untenanted arable land on the estate to be distributed, the untenanted land being mountain and bog used for grazing and turbary. The Board have expended nearly £400 on works of improvement which could be carried out prior to the vesting of the estate, including accommodation roads, the opening of a limestone quarry, etc. Very little rearrangement of the holdings on this estate is necessary or possible and the work will not be proceeded with before the estate is vested. In order that the tenants who are in occupation of the arable land on the estate might be free to cultivate as much of it as possible the Board suspended improvement works on the estate to release labourers for cultivation of the land.

HC Deb 02 April 1917 vol 92 cc934-6W

Reprint extracts: from digitised editions of the UK Commons and Lords Hansard, the Official Report of debates in Parliament. This was part of a project led by the Commons and Lords libraries on Marble Hill House and estate lands in Galway, Ireland. Original article reference can be found here.