HC Deb 05 May 1863 vol 170 cc1243-5

said, he rose to move for a Select Committee to inquire into the state of Holyhead Harbour, with a view to ascertain the best method to afford safe and efficient accommodation for the Vessels engaged in the Irish Mail Service, and for the Passengers conveyed by them. When the wind blew from particular quarters, there was considerable danger, and vessels were not safe alongside the pier. It was said that there should be a protecting wall, but the only protection was by piles, and it was totally insufficient. The Government had promised to strengthen the pier on more than one occasion, and had failed to perform those promises. The vessels were often delayed twenty or thirty minutes in getting alongside the pier, and the passengers had to scramble over wet planks on a dark night. He hoped the Committee would be granted, as it was the only hope which passengers to and from Ireland had of any attention being paid to their just complaints.


seconded the Motion. The noble Lord the Secretary for the Admiralty had himself on more than one occasion expressed his concurrence in the importance of these improvements. He might say that long and unavoidable delays in landing the mails were often occasioned by the state of the accommodation.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the state of Holyhead Harbour, with a view to ascertain the best method of affording safe and efficient accommodation for the Vessels engaged in the Irish Mail Service, and for the Passengers conveyed by them.


said, the House was hardly in a position to accede to the Motion of the hon. and gallant Gentleman. The correspondence on the subject was on the point of being circulated among Mem- bers, and ought to be perused before the subject was discussed. As far as he knew, there was no disposition on the part of the Government to deny that they were bound to make arrangements for the safe landing of the mails and the accommodation of passengers. The packet company had not complied with the requirements of the contract in regard to speed, but there was no connection between that and the state of the pier. The Government were prepared to carry out the plans certified as sufficient for the accommodation of the steamboats, and the captains of the vessels had admitted that those plans were satisfactory. The works were in progress, and the jetty was about to be filled in so as entirely to exclude the sea. The covered building suggested had not been erected because it was believed to be too heavy for the jetty; but a substitute would be provided. He hoped that under the circumstances the hon. and gallant Member would not press his Motion.


said, he regretted that the answer of the right hon. Gentleman was not more satisfactory. There had been a distinct breach of contract by the Government. For eight years the steamboat company had put themselves in a position to keep their part of the contract, but the Government had not performed their part.


said, he thought there ought never to have been any correspondence at all. The House had a right to insist upon the Government keeping its part of the contract. The Government had, eight years ago, promised to build a pier for the passengers, and they had not done it. The steamboat company, on the contrary, had done all in their power. The Government had much better make up their minds to build a new pier than to try to patch up the old one. He hoped the appointment of the Committee would be agreed to.


said, that the Holy-head route was not the best way of communication with Ireland, and contended that to lay out any more money on it in addition to the £1,000,000 which had already been expended was a course which ought not to be adopted without due consideration.


trusted the Government would not throw away any more public money in an endeavour to make the present pier-head the place for landing.


said, he should move the adjournment of the debate. He did not see that the case was one for investigation by a Committee; and even if it were, the House ought not to proceed further in the matter until the correspondence mentioned by his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, which was now in the press, was in the hands of Members.


said, that he thought the question of the appointment of a Committee was not proper then; but if, after the perusal of the correspondence, the House should think otherwise, it might be proper to re-consider the point.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate he now adjourned."

The House divided:—Ayes 40; Noes 35: Majority 5.

Debate adjourned till Tuesday next.