HC Deb 08 April 1895 vol 32 cc1130-1

On behalf of the hon. Member for East Wicklow, Mr. J. SWEETMAN, I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether the very critical condition of the breakwater at Wicklow has been reported to the Board of Public Works, the engineer having stated that no one could now give this pier a month's lease; whether he is aware that the Commissioners of the Harbour, who are it present expending some £2,000 with a contractor on urgent temporary repairs, have during the past ten months made constant application to the Treasury, through the Chief Secretary and through the Board of Public Works, for a grant to enable them to secure the breakwater and improve the harbour; that they have obtained and laid before the Board of Public Works, by its directions, plans, specifications, and a tender for repairing and improving the harbour for £22,500, on which Sir Alexander Rendel has recommended additions and modifications, bringing the cost up to some £30,000; and that the town of Wick-low, with a valuation of £5,266, in addition to paying its share of the £1,940 annually paid for the £40,000 harbour loan by that district, contributes £540 annually towards this harbour in interest on the former £12,000 harbour loan, and is unable to contribute anything further than the surplus income of the port (which it is willing to do if given the power) in raising a loan of £10,000, provided the Treasury gives the balance required as a grant; and whether, considering the present very critical condition of this harbour, and its importance to the locality and also to the Government now that a cordite factory has been started in the neighbourhood, he will take immediate steps to give a grant for the necessary repairs before it is blocked by the collapse of its breakwater?


I fully recognise the importance and difficulty of this matter, and it is receiving every attention. The Exchequer has already advanced on loans sums amounting to £46,000 towards the construction of the harbour, and the Government is prepared to afford further assistance, but I cannot admit that the locality is unable to contribute anything by way of guarantee or otherwise.