HC Deb 11 February 1895 vol 30 cc461-2

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether his attention has been drawn to the hardship inflicted on the keepers of rock lighthouses off the Irish coast by their not being made relieving stations; would he state how many of these rock lights have no relief; whether these light-keepers, with their families, are on these rocks for three or four years at a time, the children being, of course, without any opportunity for education of any kind; whether he is aware that these people suffered severely on some of the rocks during the recent gales, owing to flooding and want of fresh water; and, whether, as the Board of Irish Lights are unable to carry out these reforms owing to want of funds, he would consider the propriety of providing the necessary funds for thus improving their condition?


The Board of Trade are fully aware of the difficulties in connection with island or isolated lighthouses on the Irish coast. There are 14 of these, of which the most pressing cases are said by the Irish Lights Commissioners to be Slyne Head (two lights), Tearaght, Maidens Rocks (two lights), and Eagle, Island (two lights); and it is the case that, when the keepers at such isolated stations remain there for several years at a time, the disadvantages referred to in regard to the education of their children are, no doubt, experienced. It is also true that recently in Eagle Island, in common with other stations, the light-keepers suffered severely during the gales. The Commissioners of Irish Lights are, however, quite alive to the necessity for converting some of the more exposed stations into relieving stations whenever this can properly be done; and the Board of Trade, who are alive to the hardships which some of these cases present, are fully prepared to consider on its merits any definite application to that effect.