HC Deb 31 May 1895 vol 34 cc732-3
MR. T. SEXTON (Kerry, N.)

I beg to ask the Postmaster General if he will now state the particulars of the power, dimensions, and draught of the mail boats intended to be provided under the new agreement with the Dublin Steam Packet Company for the Irish mail service; whether power will be reserved to the Postmaster General to fix and alter the times of arrival and departure of the steamers; and whether the terms of the agreement will soon be published?


The mail boats for the Irish Mail Service, under the new contract with the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company, are to be not less than 371 ft. in length, 40 ft. in breadth, with a depth from the spar deck of 29 ft. 3 in., and from the main deck of 20 ft. 9 in. The draft is to be 14 ft., and the horse-power 8,250. Power is reserved to the Postmaster General in the new contract, as in the old, to fix and alter the hours of departure from either side. Steps will be taken for the completion of the contract as soon as possible, and, when completed, it will be laid before the House of Commons for approval in the usual way. I was yesterday asked a question as to the accommodation to be provided for second class passengers, and I said that this did not form part of the contract, but that I understood the accommodation was to be at least as good as that in the present boats. I have been given to understand by the company that there will be, in consequence of the boats being larger under this contract, a substantial improvement in the accommodation for second class passengers.


Pending the laying of a copy of the contract on the Table of the House, is there any objection to publish a full memorandum of the terms of the agreement for the information of Members?


I will consider that. I do not know that there would be any objection.


What is the difference in beam and draft between the two classes of vessels—the present vessels and the future?


I cannot give the figures because I have not got them. As the hon. Member knows the present vessels are not all on the same lines. The Ireland is much larger than the other four vessels. The figures which I have mentioned show that the new vessels will be larger than the Ireland.


As the new vessels are to be screw steamers, and as the present vessels are paddle steamers, on the question of steadiness is there any provision for increased beam with increased draft?


As I have said I have not got the particulars with me. There is no doubt that the change from paddle to screw will give more accommodation, particularly deck accommodation. I think the beam and draft will be larger than the present vessels.


What will be the speed of the new boats?


Those vessels are to do the passage between Holy head and Kingstown in half-an-hour shorter than the present passage. The hon. Gentleman can make the calculation himself. I should not like to say the speed, but I believe it is 22 knots an hour.

MR. G. W. WOLFF (Belfast, W.)

Is the extra half-hour to be gained in the passage or partly by a quicker transfer of the luggage?


The half-hour is to be gained in the passage, I understand.