HC Deb 04 May 1894 vol 24 cc369-70
MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether the attention of the Fishery Inspectors has been directed to the action of the proprietors of the Flesk Mills, on the River Flesk, near Killarney, in working the mills night and day, on every day of the week, including Sunday, the power being used during the day for grinding purposes and at night for working the dynamos for the Killarney Lighting Company: whether such a continuous working of the mills by water power is contrary to the weekly close season law, which expressly provides that the water sluices supplying the mills shall be closed for 24 hours consecutively every week, and consequently the mills stop working; whether, considering that the fishing is one of the main sources of revenue in the district, any steps will be taken to prevent this systematic breach of the law; whether the Fishery Inspectors' attention has been drawn to the fact that there is no "Queen's gap," or "Fish pass," in the dam constructed across the River Flesk by the owners of the mills, the absence of which prevents the spawning fish reaching the upper waters; and if any steps will be taken to compel the proprietors to provide such a gap?


The attention of the Inspectors of Fisheries has been drawn to the working of the Flesk Mills near Killarney day and night the week through, including Sundays. It is required by law that the sluices shall be closed for 24 consecutive hours during each week to force the water through any existing gap, and through the waste gate if no gap exists. In the case of the Flesk Mills there is no such gap. The section, however, also provides that by the opening of the waste gate the mill must not be deprived of the necessary-supply of water for its full and efficient working. In the present case the opening of the waste gate would deprive the mills of the water power; and, in these circumstances, the Inspectors do not recommend any steps to be taken. The weir at the mills is not a "fishing" weir; and, therefore, no question of "Queen's" gap arises. Having been constructed before the year 1842, no obligation exists in the owner to construct a fish pass at his own expense. The millowner intends to erect a wooden structure, which, it is hoped, will have the effect of facilitating the ascent of fish.


But was not the mill contemplated by the Act a corn mill or a mill for spinning purposes? Surely it was never contemplated it should be used for grinding electricity on Sunday. The Statute must have contemplated mills for some mercantile purpose.


Yes, I should think that must have been so.