Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Labourers' Cottages in Co. Clare.

(Clare) asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he is aware (a) that 12 cottages are in course of construction at Kildysart, Co. Clare, on which the conditions of employment are far less favourable than conditions operating in several other employments in the area; (b) that local labour is not being employed, and (c) when his Department was first notified of this position, and what action it has since taken.

A complaint has been made that tradesmen from other parts of County Clare are employed in the erection of labourers' cottages at Kildysart workhouse and that wages at trade union rates are not being paid the labourers working on the scheme. The matter was reported to me in November last and on the 22nd November I brought the complaint to the notice of the Clare Board of Health and Public Assistance calling their attention to the provisions of Section 8 of the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1932. The Board of Health are in communication with the Minister for Industry and Commerce as regards the proper rate of wages payable to workers in the Kildysart district.

Mr. Hogan

Is the Minister aware that the prevailing rate of wages is the wage paid by the County Council, 35/- per week, and would he be in a position to state to the Board of Health that unless the prevailing rate of wages, and nothing less than the prevailing rate of wages, is paid, the grants will be probably withdrawn?

I cannot say what is the prevailing rate. I do not know personally. I have no knowledge at the moment of what is the prevailing rate.

Mr. Hogan

The Minister knows that it is more than the 20/- that is being paid.

(Clare) asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he will state (a) how many applications for cottages were received by the County Clare Board of Health since the enacting of the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1932; (b) how many of these have been sanctioned by his Department; (c) how many cottages are now in course of erection, and (d) how many cottages is it expected will be erected before the end of the financial year 1934-1935.

(a) The number of applications received by the Clare Board of Health and Public Assistance for the erection of labourers' cottages since the passing of the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1932, is 738; (b) the number of cottages included in the Clare County Scheme Order, 1933, as confirmed is 165. A further order made by the board for the acquisition of land for the erection of 296 cottages has been submitted and a local inquiry as to the propriety of confirming this order will be held at an early date. (c) The number of cottages in course of erection is 13. (d) The number of cottages which it is estimated will be completed before the 31st March, 1935, is 242.

(Clare) asked the Minister for Local Government and Public Health if he can state whether a suitable site has yet been found on which to erect the number of cottages necessary to complete the urban housing scheme at Ennis started over 12 months ago, and if he has made any inquiries as to whether such a site is procurable.

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The purchase of a site containing 10 acres 2 roods and 34 perches was sanctioned by me on the 11th August last. The question of title to these lands is involved and is engaging the attention of the local authority's solicitor.

Mr. Hogan

Does the Minister not think that it is time that this matter was brought to a head?

That is not our job. It is the job of the local authority and their lawyer.

Mr. Hogan

I am not blaming the Minister, but surely the Minister has power under the Act to do certain things that would facilitate the building of the houses?

Anything we can do to facilitate building will be very willingly done.