HC Deb 17 March 1892 vol 2 cc1034-7

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."


I do not rise for the purpose of offering any opposition to the Bill at this stage—I merely wish to point out to the House what the Bill proposes. It is promoted by the Cork Harbour Board, and proposes to extend the jurisdiction of that Board some 80 or 90 miles, thereby affecting the rights and interests of a number of pilots who live along the south-western sea-board of County Cork. It cannot be denied that the shipping interest of the county and therefore of the pilots will be affected. These pilots render valuable service to the shipping on the coast, and they have been instrumental in saving valuable lives and property, because they can approach vessels under the security of the land when the Queenstown pilots cannot leave the harbour. It would be disastrous to the shipping interest if these pilots were disqualified or prevented by this Bill from earning their livelihood and assisting in the rescue of vessels driven by stress of weather to the harbour of Crookhaven. The Cork Harbour Board seek to extend their jurisdiction by the Bill, but I think they should give some representation on the Board to the localities where these pilots live, and also some guarantee that the rights of these pilots should be safeguarded. I wish, further, to point out that this Bill seeks to give the Cork Harbour Board jurisdiction over waters 90 miles from Cork, where no Harbour Authority at present exists; but it is quite possible—and indeed desirable—that a Harbour Authority should be created in this district; and I would propose that there should be some provision by which, should Local Harbour Authorities be established, they should have some jurisdiction over their adjacent water. I hope that when this Bill comes to be considered in Committee these local interests will be safeguarded. At this stage I offer no opposition, but I reserve the right to oppose at a subsequent stage should the rights and interests of the pilots along the south west seaboard of County Cork be disregarded by the promoters.


As President of the Board of Trade I have special responsibility in regard to matters affecting pilotage, and I must say that it is not without some doubt that I assent to the Second Reading of this Bill. There are several points connected with it which have been duly noticed by the Board of Trade and brought to the attention of the House—above all, the extension of jurisdiction referred to by the hon. Member; and the Bill proceeds in a direction rather contrary to the character of pilotage legislation in recent years. The extension is from Knockadoon Head to the eastward of Cork Harbour over a district westwards to Mizen Head. No doubt there is some force in what the hon. Member has said, that this may interfere with the pilotage of another locality. Certainly there should be nothing in the Bill which could be construed into instituting compulsory pilotage over so wide an area; and I think that a provision should be inserted enabling the pilotage charges to be separated according to the section of the district over which the pilots serve, upon the principle which prevails in the Bristol Channel. Then there is a provision in the Bill enabling what is called "choice" pilotage to be established, by which, in consideration of pilots serving a particular line of vessels, less may be charged for this service than for others. That is contrary to the views expressed in the Report of the Select Committee which was appointed three or four years ago, and it should, I think, be carefully considered in Committee. There are, I understand, financial considerations which have prompted the Bill, and there is a proposal for the payment from pilotage revenues of the interest of money borrowed by the pilotage authority. This point will require careful consideration. Finally, there is the provision for the representation of pilots on the pilotage authority, which hardly, I think, gives sufficient representation when compared with what was done in 1890 in the case of Bristol, and last year in the case of Swansea, and in other places. I think it is my duty to call the attention of the House to these points, which are points of importance, and which will, I trust, be considered in Committee, together with those points mentioned by the hon. Member.

MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

I am informed by the promoters of this Bill that in regard to the point raised they are disposed to assent to the insertion of the most equitable and even liberal provisions in regard to the Crookhaven pilots—four, I understand—




In regard to the four Crookhaven pilots, and five other pilots immediately outside Cork Harbour. These points, no doubt, will be satisfactorily dealt with in Committee. As to the extension of jurisdiction, the view of the Cork Harbour Board is that, taking into account the point at which ships for Queenstown require protection, the extension is necessary, having in view the importance of the trade entering Cork Harbour. I make no complaint whatever of the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman in reference to the protection of individual interests; and as to the financial arrangements, I am informed that the position of the general body of pilots will be improved by the Bill. Whereas the nominal earnings are now 28s. a week, that amount is lessened by the necessity to provide boat hire; but the provisions of the Bill will allow of the earnings being actually what they are now assumed to be. I am informed that the Committee of the Local Pilots' Association are in favour of the Bill, and I have no doubt whatever that the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman will be sufficiently considered before the Committee, and no further discussion is necessary at this stage.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed.