§ MR. DEVLIN
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the statement made on the 20th instant in the Belfast Police Court, by Mr. Nagle, resident magistrate, to the effect that there had recently been great distress in the country, and that practically every day in that court they had cases of poor people, who were utterly destitute, and had no homes, brought up for wandering about the street at night, and that the funds in the police court poor box, from which many of these poor people received assistance, were hardly equal to the demand; whether he could state the approximate number of the unemployed in Belfast at present as compared with this time last year; and whether he would consider the advisability of communicating with the local authorities in Belfast with a view to the initiation of some means of alleviating the distress at present existing in that city.
(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) I have seen a newspaper report of Mr. Nagle's 72 remarks to the effect stated in the Question. His object seems to have been to stimulate the flow of donations to the police court poor box. The Local Government Board have no information as to the approximate number of the unemployed in Belfast, but the relief statistics for the Belfast Union show that the average number of persons in receipt of outdoor relief during the past three months is 686, as compared with 530 last year. The Board have no reason to believe that the resources of the union will be inadequate to meet any distress which may arise, and, in all the circumstances, they do not feel that they have any grounds for making special representations on the subject to the local authorities.