§ MR. FINUCANE (Limerick, E.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether the Government will lend money to the Irish farmers at the same rate of interest charged by a previous Government to the landlords in the year 1879, for the purpose of—first, executing useful works on their farms; and, secondly, of giving employment to the agricultural labourers during the next six months?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for having given me notice of his question and for the letter with which he accompanied it. I do not, however, think it would be advisable to comply with the implied suggestion which it contains. In most of the districts where serious distress may be apprehended there are no large farmers, and relatively few agricultural labourers, the population consisting almost entirely of small occupiers. Moreover, many of the objections which apply to the system adopted in 1879 for lending money to landlords apply, though with less equal force, to the proposal made by the hon. Gentleman.