HC Deb 01 July 1880 vol 253 cc1247-8

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, To say, having regard to the admission contained in the Preamble to a Bill introduced by the late Government in 1876 for the improvement of Arklow Harbour, that said harbour was an important station and place of refuge for vessels employed in prosecuting the sea fisheries on the east coast of Ireland, and should be deepened, extended, and otherwise improved, and also having regard to the opinion expressed by his Grace the Duke of Marlborough when, as Lord Lieutenant, he visited Arklow in November 1878—"That the improve- ment of Arklow Harbour would be a work of national importance as well as local benefit," whether prompt measures will be taken by the Government to acquire, by arbitration or otherwise, possession of the harbour from its present proprietors, in order that works of improvement of such admitted public importance may be proceeded with without further delay?


As the hon. Member is probably aware, the Bill introduced by the late Government for the improvement of Arklow Harbour contemplated the transfer of the harbour to the Board of Works for improvement, at an estimated cost of £26,000, one-half to be a free grant and the other half to be advanced by way of loan on certain specified security; and that, on the completion of the works, the harbour should be handed over to a body of local Commissioners. The Bill was ultimately withdrawn, in consequence of certain conditions demanded by the Wicklow Copper Mining Company, who are the owners of the harbour, with which the Government were unable to comply. The Company made a fresh proposal last year, to which also the Government were not able to agree. The effect of this proposal was that, while retaining the harbour as their own property, the Company should obtain the grant which it had been proposed, under the Bill of 1876, to make on the condition of the harbour being constituted public property and vested in local Commissioners. The Government would be ready to consider any proposals for an agreement, whether by arbitration or otherwise, which may be brought before them, if they are such as could be fairly entertained; but they are not prepared to take the initiative in the matter.