§ MR. A. O'CONNOR (Donegal, E.)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether his attention has been called to a report in the Derry Journal of the 29th May, of a meeting of the shareholders of the West Donegal Railway Company (Chairman, Mr. James Musgrave, D.L.), at which Mr. Soady (Secretary to the Board of Works) said the statement might be made with authority, namely, that the Government had a very serious alternative, that of entering into direct relations with the Great Northern Company, by which the Treasury would make over to the Great Northern the Glenties line, making it broad gauge, making a station at Ballybofey, and taking running powers, which they could get at trifling cost, over the Finn Valley line, and eventually making a broad gauge to Killybegs; whether, as a fact, Mr. Soady did say this; and, if so, whether in his capacity of shareholder or of Secretary to the Board of Works; and whether, as a fact, the Government have entertained 1472 such an alternative; and, if so, whether he will lay the details of it upon the Table?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. JACKSON,) Leeds, N.
I have not seen the report in the Derry Journal to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, but I have seen a report in the Londonderry Sentinel, in which the Chairman said that the idea was to squeeze the Government, who had no alternative in the matter, but that the Government had another alternative, namely, that which is named in the question. I do not know whether this is a correct report of what took place; but the Board of Works have lent money to the West Donegal Railway Company, and are more interested in that Company than any other person or body, and the proposal submitted to the meeting seems to me to have been what ought to have been accepted. I certainly consider the alternative referred to one which is open to the action of the Government.
§ In reply to further questions by Mr. A. O'CONNOR,
§ MR. JACKSON
said: I do not think there is any justification for the assumption that an arrangement is being rushed. The question has been under consideration now for a great many months, and I am sure Mr. Soady will be willing to afford every information as to the negotiations that are taking place. He is authorised by the Board of Works to give any information the shareholders desire to have.