MR. AETHUR O'CONNOE (Donegal, E.)
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether the Government have yet decided as to the particular mode in which the £50,000 proposed to be taken for public works in Ireland is to be expended; and, whether, in view of the immense damage annually caused by floods in the valley of the Barrow, in insalubrity induced thereby, the impossibility of properly draining such places at Portarlington, and other centres of population, and the strong representations made by a series of Commissions and other authorities on the subject, he will cause arrangements to be forthwith made for carrying out a general scheme for dealing with the main channel of the Barrow, from Mountmellick to Carlow, in the present summer?
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)
also asked the right hon. Gentleman, with reference to the disposal of the £50,000 to be given to Irish works, and to his statement that the Government would at once direct the necessary surveys to be made, in order to enable them to decide how far they could carry out the recommendations of the Irish Public "Works Commission in regard to arterial drainage. Is he aware that two Government surveys have been made as to the Bann drainage, that two Royal Commissions have reported in favour of the work, and is it intended to make a third survey of the Bann now?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
With regard to the Question of the hon. Member for East Donegal (Mr. A. O'Connor), the greater portion of the £50,000 will be devoted to the development of arterial drainage in Ireland. It is the intention of the Government to undertake at once the surveys recommended by the Royal Commission as a preliminary to the establishment of Conservancy Boards 1426 and the execution and maintenance of drainage works in the several river basins. In addition to this, we shall proceed with the execution of such works upon the rivers specially mentioned in the Reference to the Royal Commission, and of which the Barrow is one, as can be carried out without legislation, pending the introduction of a measure giving effect to the principal recommendations of the Commission next Session. In the present state of Business it would be impracticable to legislate on the subject this year; but the Government are in communication with the Royal Commissioners, who are at present in Ireland; and I can assure the hon. Member that there will be no delay in commencing such operations as can be undertaken with our present powers, and, in the opinion of the Commissioners, can be advantageously executed in the present year. As it seems unlikely that the whole £50,000 can be devoted to drainage works during the year, we propose to spend about £4,000 on works on the West Coast, commenced or contemplated by the Piers and Roads Commissioners appointed under the Relief Act of last year. A sum of £5,000 will also be devoted to promoting the improvement of the breed of cattle and horses in Ireland, which is seriously deteriorating; and the Government will avail themselves of the agency of the Royal Dublin Society in giving effect to that purpose. With reference to the Question of the hon. and learned Member for North Longford (Mr. T. M. Healy), the shortness of the Notice has prevented my consulting the Royal Commissioners, on whose Report we are acting in instituting the proposed survey, with regard to it. The Government accept the opinion of the Royal Commission as to the desirability of further drainage operations on the Bann, and the nature of the work to be undertaken. The real difficulty in the case of the Bann lies in the variety of authorities whose concurrence is necessary, and in passing the requisite legislation. In any case, however, it will be necessary to prepare a detailed scheme for carrying out the plans of the Commissioners before work can be begun. The principal object of the proposed surveys is the delimitation of the catchment basins of the several rivers, with the view to the establishment of Conservancy Boards. 1427 This will be necessary in the case of the Bann, as in that of other rivers.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
asked if the right hon. Gentleman could state how much of the £50,000 would be spent on the drainage of the Bann?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, he was not at present in a position to give the information asked for. He expected a reply from the Commissioners, and as soon as he received it he would communicate with the hon. and learned Member, and let him know the precise amount which would be expended on the drainage of the Bann.
§ MR. P. McDONALD (Sligo, N.)
wished to know if any, and how much, of the £50,000 would be appropriated to the improvement of harbour accommodation in Ireland?
said, it was not contemplated to devote any of the money to this purpose, except a portion of the £4,000, which it is proposed to devote to certain piers, roads, and harbours on the West Coast.