HC Deb 15 June 1894 vol 25 cc1225-6
MR. W. O'BEIEN (Cork)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he can communicate to the House any particulars as to the fearful drowning disaster at Westport; and what steps have been taken to provide for the widespread suffering and destitution that the calamity will entail upon the unfortunate people of Achill?


I am afraid any information I have received adds nothing to the intelligence reported in the newspapers regarding this lamentable catastrophe. In reference to the last paragraph, I can only say that I at once directed one of the Commissioners of the Local Government Board to proceed to Westport and Achill, in order to ascertain by inspection on the spot whether any distress or other consequences have followed from this disaster which any means at the disposal of the Government will enable them to cope with. The Commissioner is already on his way. He will report at once, and whatever we can do will be done promptly.

MR.H. PLUNKETT (Dublin Co., S.)

May I ask whether the traffic between Achill and the mainland is under any Regulations of the Board of Trade; and, if not, whether steps cannot be taken to guard against such accidents by preventing overcrowding?


As far as my inquiries have proceeded at present, I do not think that any statutory provision exists enabling the Board of Trade to regulate the passenger traffic to which my hon. Friend refers in such manner as to provide precautions against such deplorable occurrences; but I am making further investigation, and will communicate with him on the subject.


Will the inquiry be extended to the west coast generally, as last year there was an accident causing the loss of many lives at the mouth of the Shannon?


I have reason to believe that these accidents do sometimes occur through overcrowding vessels of this kind. Opportunity will be taken to consider whether the scope of the inquiry shall be extended as suggested by my hon. Friend.