CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - OWENMORE DRAINAGE SCHEME—REDUCTION IN WAGES.

asked the Minister for Finance if he will state the reasons why the wages of the workers employed on the Owenmore Drainage Scheme, County Sligo, were reduced some months ago, and whether it is intended to restore the wages of these men to their original amount.

The rate (27/- per week) paid to workers on the Owenmore Drainage Scheme was fixed last spring on the advice of the Inter-departmental Wages Advisory Committee, who in fixing it took into consideration the somewhat lower wages paid for ordinary agricultural work in County Sligo.

This is the highest rate paid by the Commissioners of Public Works to labourers on any drainage scheme in Connaught and it is not proposed to increase it.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that these workmen were led to believe, before the June elections, by prominent supporters of the Government that if they voted for the Cumann na nGaedheal candidates their wages would be restored to their former level, and is he aware that these were the men who, out of their slender earnings, presented the Minister for Finance with a silver shovel, some time ago, in recognition of his efforts in connection with this drainage scheme, and is he further aware that the work at which these men are employed, especially during the winter months, is of a very strenuous and unpleasant nature? In view of these facts, would he be prepared to reconsider his action in this matter?

Mr. BOURKE

I am not aware of all the facts that have been brought to my notice by the Deputy. I am aware that the Deputy he refers to has made representations to me on several occasions, having the same object in view as the Deputy has.