CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - DIVISION OF WESTMEATH RANCH.

SEAN O LAIDHIN

To ask the Minister for Agriculture whether he is aware that the Estates Commissioners bought a ranch from Lieutenant Murphy in the townland of Tyfarnham, Crooked Wood, Westmeath, for division amongst ex-service men and others, and that £700 was added to the purchase money by the tenants for expenditure in fences and road-making; and further, whether he is aware there is £150 still on hands, and, if so, why was the work of fencing and road-making suspended last December, 1921; and if the balance mentioned is still on hands will he see that it will be disposed of in order to relieve the unemployment in the townland referred to.

A sum of £720 was sanctioned by the Estates Commissioners for fencing, road-making and drainage on the lands referred to. This money was given as a grant, and no addition in respect of it was made to the purchase moneys of the allottees of the lands. Of this amount the sum of £576 has already been expended.

I have been in communication with the Commissioners since the beginning of the month in regard to continuing work on hands with a view to giving the maximum amount of employment. The Commissioners are acting on this principle in this case as in every other case in which they are dealing. The balance of the money will accordingly be expended.

The Commissioners are now making arrangements for the resumption of the work under more satisfactory conditions.