To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the rent ordinarily charged for labourers cottages in the Wexford rural district are ninepence or tenpence per week, and that when the occupiers of these cottages are unable to obtain employment in their own neighbourhood and have to go elsewhere in search of it, these rents are increased to one shilling and tenpence per week; will he say whether this increase has at any time obtained the sanction of the Local Government Board; is there anything in the Labourers Acts which entitles district councils to vary the rents charged to labourers in this manner; have two tenants named Nicholas Prendergast and James Ronan been recently evicted by the Wexford Rural District Council because they have declined to pay this rackrent; and, seeing the hardship that is inflicted on the occupiers in circumstances such as these stated, will he use his influence with the Local Government Board to prevent increases of rent on labourers who are forced by local exigencies to temporarily seek employment outside their own district.
The Wexford Rural District Council have provided aarge number of labourers cottages, the rents of which are ordinarily only ninepence or tenpence a week. Some of the tenants have made a practice during the busy season of leaving their families in the cottages and going outside the district to obt in more remunerative employment, thus leaving the farmers without labourers and defeating the object for which labourers cottages are provided. In order to counteract this practice the council have made it a usual condition of letting that any tenant who so absents himself should pay the full rent of the cottage, as based on actual expenditure, and not merely the reduced rent charged to a labourer who gives the district the benefit of his labour. The Local Government Board do not consider this to be an unreasonable condition, but in any case they have no power to interfere with the council's discretion in the matter. The two persons named in the Question were tenants who, having gone elsewhere, had refused to pay the full rent charged by the council. The council, however, directed that they should be reinstated on paying the amount due.