§ CAPTAIN M'CALMONT (Antrim, E.)
asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether, with regard to the loan he is about to grant for the continuance of the works connected with the West Clare Railway, he has obtained any information from those competent to give an impartial opinion, as to the prospects of its ever paying even its working expenses; whether he is aware that the Chairman or Director, Mr. J. F. Lombard, is a near relative of the contractor, Mr. W. Murphy, M.P., and whether they fixed their own price for construction, no tender having been asked for or even permitted; whether these two gentlemen are the principal promoters, and, consequently, are the only persons likely to benefit by the making of the line; and, whether he will cause further inquiries to be made before finally granting this loan?
§ MR. M. J. KENNY (Tyrone, Mid)
Before the Secretary to the Treasury answers the Question on the Paper, I beg to ask him if this line of railway is not being constructed under the provisions of the Tramways Act of two years ago; if the capital advanced is not guaranteed, together with interest at 4 per cent in perpetuity—firstly, by three baronies; and, secondly, by the county of Clare at large; if the presentment of these three baronies and the Grand Jury of the County Clare unanimously sanctioned all the arrangements made, and if they are not also represented specially on the Board of Directors; and if, under the circumstances, the Question of the hon. Member is not in intent a gratuitous libel?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. HENRY H. FOWLER) (Wolverhampton, E.)
The estimate for the construction of this line, which is to be constructed under the provisions of the Tramways (Ireland) Act, 1883, has, I am informed, been considered satisfactory by the Privy Council, before whom 747 the proposal was sent. I am informed that the Chairman is the father-in-law of the contractor; but that is a matter with which the Treasury has nothing to do. The Treasury has agreed to make the loan on certain terms, which have not yet been accepted.