HC Deb 24 February 1885 vol 294 cc1165-6

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether he is aware of the proposed formation of an arterial drainage district in North Kilkenny, projected by certain tenant farmers, and extending over an area of some twenty miles in length; that the county surveyor of Kilkenny has executed all the necessary maps, plans, and specifications, on their behalf, which have been lodged with the Board of Works at the expense of those tenant farmers; that the engineer of the Board of Works has held an inquiry, after deposit of funds made by those tenant farmers, that he has reported favourably as to this proposed arterial drainage scheme, and that the sum of over £32,000 proposed to be expended would realise at the lowest estimate 6½ per cent. upon the outlay; that a deputation waited upon his predecessor, Mr. Trevelyan, in 1883, requesting exceptionable terms as to the interest upon the sum of £32,000 required for the project, and likewise encouragement and assistance in reference to the formation of the drainage district and the action of the Board of Works in relation thereto; that by a letter dated the 6th day of December 1883, Mr. Trevelyan intimated that some alteration in the law in regard to giving tenants a voice in the undertaking of arterial drainage works would be introduced into the Laud Improvement (Ireland) Consolidation Bill of the former Session in the event of its being re-introduced in the then next Session, and that Mr. Trevelyan recommended upon the whole matter— That the promoters of the Kilkenny scheme should hold it over until those matters had been considered and decided by the Government; that the Land Improvement and Arterial Drainage (Ireland) Bill of 1883 was withdrawn, and subsequently the Land Improvement and Arterial Drainage (Ireland) Bill of 1884 was likewise withdrawn; that the tenant farmers of this extensive drainage district, namely, of Urlingford, Johnstown, Cullohill, Rathdowney, and Durrow, who have expended a large sum in preliminary expenses, in reference to those projected drainage works, have been and are much disappointed, and likewise the labourers of the locality; and, whether the Government are prepared to introduce provisions into the Arterial Drainage Bill now brought in, that will carry out the undertaking of Mr. Trevelyan as to giving a voice to the tenants on the Drainage Board by constituting "Statutory termors" owners of land for the purposes of the Act, and otherwise?


The circumstances stated by the hon. Member are known to me, and I am glad to recognize the intelligent zeal of the tenant farmers for the improvement of their land. In reply to the substantive part of this Question, I beg to refer him to the Land Improvement and Arterial Drainage Bill now before the House, Clause 45 of which would effect the object he desires, and which contains many other useful improvements in the existing law. Unfortunately, however, these improvements seem to be disapproved by the hon. Member for Cavan (Mr. Biggar).