§ MR. W. A. MACDONALD (Queen's County, Ossory)
I beg to ask the Attorney General for Ireland whether he has received the copy of a resolution passed by the Mountmellick Board of Guardians, praying the Government to undertake the drainage of the River Barrow, and basing their request on the unhealthy condition of the towns through which the river flows, and the general want of employment among the people; whether he is aware that great poverty exists in Mountmellick and the neighbouring district among persons who are in want of work and cannot obtain it; and whether, in view of the forward state of Government business, he will reintroduce his Bill for the drainage of the Barrow?
§ MR. MADDEN
In answer to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's question, I have to say that the resolution to which he alludes has been received. As regards that part of his question which refers to the Drainage Bills, I must remind him that these Bills cannot be introduced unless preliminary notices are served upon the owners and occupiers concerned. In two or three successive years the Government undertook the cost and trouble of serving these notices, in addition to the expense of paying a staff of engineers for the purpose of framing the plans and advising the Government upon them. Each year these attempts to improve the condition of the flooded river beds of Ireland were rendered nugatory by the action of certain Members of this House. As there was no sign of any diminution in this opposition, the notices were, I believe, not given this year, and the Bills, therefore, cannot be introduced; but the Chief Secretary requests me to say that if he receives indications that the Bills are really desired, he will favourably consider the policy of taking steps to re-introduce them next Session. The Government have not altered their views as to the expediency of passing these measures.
§ MR. W. A. MACDONALD
Will the right hon. Gentleman take into consideration that a great deal of money has been expended in preliminary inquiry, and that there is a danger of its being entirely wasted.
§ MR. A. O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
Will not the Government consider the desirability of treating the Barrow scheme separately?
§ MR. MADDEN
I am not in a position to say that one scheme will be dealt with differently from the others.