HC Deb 04 April 1892 vol 3 cc554-6
MR. SEXTON(for Mr. FLYNN,) Cork, N.

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War, in reference to the Military Lands Consolidation Bill, whether he is aware that the Cork Harbour Commissioners have made frequent complaints to the commanding officer of Cork district of the danger caused to navigation in and off Cork Harbour by the practice of target firing from Forts Camden and Carlisle; and is he aware that complaints of the danger incurred from this practice have frequently been made by yachtsmen and masters of vessels using Cork Harbour; and, if so, whether any special provisions will be introduced by the War Department in the Bill to prevent injury being done to the trade and other interests of Cork Harbour?

SIR E. BIRKBECK (Norfolk, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Section 15 of the Military Lands Consolidation Bill raises questions of great importance to fishermen, coasting traders, and others, and that their grievances are being investigated by the Committee recently appointed to report on target practice seawards; and whether he will, under the circumstances, postpone the appointment of the Select Committee until he receives the Report of the Target Practice Seawards Committee?


In answer to the hon. Member opposite, I would say that is a subject which will be fully considered by the Committee on Target Practice Seawards, and I would rather express no opinion on the subject till that Committee reports. In answer to my hon. Friend behind me, I am not aware how soon it is probable that the Committee on Target Practice Seawards will be able to report; but I am quite willing to postpone the Military Lands Consolidation Bill for a reasonable time, so long as we do not run the risk of losing it for the Session, as it is desirable in the public interest that the law should be made clear. Section 15 makes no change in the existing law, and in no way prejudices the inquiry upon which he is engaged.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that under Clause 15 questions are raised affecting the coasting trade and fishing industry?


That is one of the subjects referred to the Committee.

MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary, S.)

Will the right hon. Gentleman say who compose the Committee, where it sits, and whether they will examine witnesses whom hon. Members of this House may think desirable?


The Committee was appointed by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade, and I cannot at once give the names of all the Members. I imagine the places where they sit are selected by the Committee themselves.

MAJOR BANES(for Major RASCH,) Essex, S.E.

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he will give the Essex fishermen facilities for giving evidence before the Target Practice Seawards Committee, as their trade will be seriously affected by the proposed partial closing of the fishing grounds off Sheerness?


This is a matter for the Committee itself to decide; but I have no doubt that the case of all fishermen said to be affected by acts of this description will be considered by them.