HC Deb 04 December 1888 vol 331 cc1013-4
MR. M'CARTAN (Down, S.)

asked the Secretary to the Treasury, Whether he is aware that the pier at Newcastle Harbour, County Down, which is now in ruins, is a source of great danger to the poor fishermen who live there, and that the harbour affords no safety, but is in such a state that it is almost impossible for boats to enter it; whether he is aware that this harbour was constructed in 1854, and then handed over to the Grand Jury of County Down, notwithstanding their protests; whether, after injury had been done to the pier, the Board of Works received from the County Down Grand Jury, after the March Assizes of 1869, a sworn statement made by B. B. Murray, Esquire, county surveyor, in which he swore that the harbour was unsafe for vessels; that any temporary repair would be useless; and that the damage had been caused owing to the improper and imperfect construction of the harbour; whether he is aware that there is no harbour of safety on the coast from Dublin to Belfast, and that plans of such a harbour at the "Stag Rock," near Newcastle, were prepared by a Government engineer before the construction of the present harbour, and that it was then considered the safest place for a harbour; and, whether, considering the expenditure then imposed upon the cesspayers, and the necessity for a harbour of safety, and for the protection of the lives of the fishermen of that district, he will cause inquiry to be made as to the desirability of constructing a new harbour at or near the "Stag Rock," Newcastle.

SIR HERBERT MAXWELL (A LORD of the TREASURY) (Wigton) (who replied) said

The statements in paragraphs one and two are substantially correct. (3.) There is no record of the affidavit mentioned; but it is quite possible that its existence at presentments was for some years disputed by that Grand Jury. (4.) Between Belfast and Dublin there are the natural harbours of Oarlingford and Strangford Loughs, and the artificial ones of Donaghadee and Ardglass, which are available, under certain conditions, for the refuge of fishing vessels. There is another small harbour of refuge now under construction at Clogher Head. There is no record of any plans such as those mentioned; but it is understood that Mr. Adams, who was the guard officer at Newcastle, recommended some such work. There was no funds available for the construction of a harbour at "Stag Rock."