HC Deb 26 March 1885 vol 296 cc673-4

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, If his attention has been drawn to the failure of the Tramways Act to meet the want of Railway communication in Connemara; if the Connemara district agreed, through the Grand Jury of the county of Gal way, to guarantee a Railroad through that district, the baronies affected guaranteeing three per cent.; the Government, under the Tramways Act, to guarantee two more per cent.; if, after this guarantee through the recognized county authorities, the Irish Privy Council declared that the proposed Railway was not only most valuable for Connemara, but was of national if not Imperial importance, but still that they, the Privy Council, would refuse the application on the ground that the baronies affected were too poor to afford the guarantee; and, if, after this statement on the part of the Privy Council, the Government would by a special grant, or otherwise, do something to develop this large and isolated district which the Privy Council has declared requires a railroad, and which has done its best to avail itself of the Act, but which has been pronounced by the highest Government authority in Ireland to be too poor to develop its resources without extraneous assistance?


The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) has asked me to answer this Question. The facts are substantially as stated. I believe that the Privy Council also suggested that the case was one in which the entire county Galway should be asked to contribute. As I understand, when this was put down the Grand Jury refused the application. The failure of this scheme and certain other schemes has not escaped the notice of the Government; but while they greatly regret it, it is impossible for the Government to contemplate making a special grant in an individual case. The question of the sufficiency of the existing means must be decided after a further period of the working of the Act.