§ MR. O'DONNELL
, in calling attention to the proposed blocking of the river trade of Carrick-on-Suir by the erection of a bridge below the town unprovided with a portcullis in place of the present bridge above the town, explained that the bridge which was about to be erected would have the effect of preventing ships discharging their cargoes at the town quays, which they could do at the present time. Such a proceeding was wanton and vexatious. The Grand Juries concerned had directed the works to which he objected quite oblivious to the interests of the town. It would be the same thing to build a bridge near the outlet of the Thames which would prevent shipping passing up to the City. It was impossible to get the authorities to review what they had done, for, like the famous Justices in the rhyme—"What they says they always says." They were told the Lord Lieutenant could give a remedy for the grievance; but it was entirely within his Excellency's discretion to re-consider these complicated plans, and he hoped the House would prevent the carrying out of the works which would condemn Carrick-on-Suir to hopeless failure.
§ MR. MELDON
thought the subject had been most properly brought forward. It was a decided grievance. The matter 1874 was one in which the Lord Lieutenant had ample jurisdiction to pronounce a decision, and suggested that, before any further steps were taken, the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown with respect to it should be taken. He trusted that the Chief Secretary would take care that the matter was looked into, even if he could not give an assurance that the wishes of the inhabitants of Carrick-on-Suir would be yielded to, and that the bridge would not be built in the wanton manner proposed.
§ MR. J. LOWTHER
said, the question had been referred to the Irish Law Officers, and in accordance with their opinion the Irish Government thought that they ought not to interfere with the decision of the judicial tribunal by whom the question of the new position of the bridge was considered. All persons interested had access to that tribunal, and its decision met with the approval of the great mass of the people concerned, although, no doubt, there were some who took a different view. He could not see from the papers that there was any reason to regret the course which was adopted in the matter by the Irish Government.
§ MAJOR NOLAN
thought the Government were responsible, because they had made no practical efforts to reform the Grand Jury Laws, which would enable the people to prevent such things being done.
§ MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY
said, it seemed a most monstrous and preposterous thing that a Grand Jury—an irresponsible body, representing nobody—should have the power of interfering with the traffic and checking the development of a place that might otherwise come to be a seaport town.
MR. O'CONNOR POWER
said, those were the instances which illustrated the deficiencies of local government in Ireland, and which should guide them in framing a system of local government more in accordance with the interests and feelings of the country. The great complaint against the Grand Jury system was that it continually perpetrated such jobs, and he called this a job without hesitation, because they could not be; called to account by those who found I the money. It would, from a sentimental point of view, be a thing which they should all deplore if the people were to blow up the middle arch of the obnoxious bridge pending the return of 1875 a lucid interval to Her Majesty's Government when they should have sense enough to deal with this question. He appealed to the Government to give the terms of the legal decision which had been referred to.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. GIBSON)
expressed his surprise at the tone of the debate, and spoke of the bridge as an improvement by substituting a new bridge for an old one. The whole matter had been fully considered, and there was now no power on the part of the Grand Jury or the Lord Lieutenant to re-open the question. On the merits of the question there was no reason why it should be re-opened. The usual traffic of Carrick-on-Suir was by means of barges, and a sea-going ship would be quite a novelty there.
§ Motion, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair," by leave, withdrawn.
§ Committee deferred till Monday next.