§ MR. W. REDMOND (Clare, E.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he will state how many bulls the Congested Districts Board has purchased since July 1, 1898, their breeds, and their average price if purchased out of Ireland; whether he can give the reasons why they were imported instead of being bought in Ireland; and whether he is aware that the recent Royal Dublin Society's show was a record in point of entries and quality?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY TO THE LORD LIEUTENANT OF IRELAND (Mr. GERALD BALFOUR, Leeds, Central)
Since July 1, 1898, the Congested Districts Board have purchased 33 Shorthorns, 34 Aberdeen Angus, 49 Galloway, and seven Redpolled bulls—the average price of each class of bull purchased out of Ireland being £29 5s., £30 10s., £21 14s., and £27 9s. respectively. Of these 123 bulls, 35 were purchased in Ireland. The reasons which influenced the Board in purchasing bulls out of Ireland were that at the time at which bulls were required the Board either could not obtain suitable bulls in Ireland or could obtain suitable bulls in Great Britain at lower prices than those demanded by Irish breeders for animals of similar quality, and that many Irish breeders are inclined to hold their cattle until the Dublin spring show, when it is too late for the Board to make the bulk of its purchases. As regards the third paragraph, the entries of bulls at the recent Royal Dublin Society's spring show exceeded those of any previous year in quantity. It is not the experience of the Board's representatives, who have purchased bulls at every spring show for several years, that the quality of the bulls, within the limit of the prices they could pay, was as good as usual. The Board was still in want of 25 bulls at the time of the show, but, when the high-priced bulls had been sold, could only find 10 that they considered suitable to be sent into the congested districts at prices which they were justified in giving.