HC Deb 23 April 1896 vol 39 cc1501-2
MR. C. J. ENGLEDOW (Kildare, N)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland—(1) whether he is aware that a boat master named Thomas Meany, in the employment of the Grand Canal Company, lost his life on the night of Friday the 10th instant at the twelfth lock on that canal, and that an inquest was held in the case; (2) whether he will state what was the verdict arrived at by the Coroner's jury, and why no public intimation was made of their decision; (3) whether he is aware that within the last few years material changes have been made in the construction of the boats used by this Company, and that since that date the number of accidents have been considerably increased; (4) whether he will ascertain whether night traffic is carried on by this company, and whether the locks are sufficiently lighted, having due regard to the safety of the men employed on night duty; also whether there is a man on duty and in charge of each lock during the night, or is the opening and closing of the lock gates left to the men who are in charge of the boats; (5) whether there is any limit to the number of hours of continuous work to be performed by men in charge of the boats; (6) whether the law provides for the inspection of the working and management of these canals, with a view to the protection of the lives of the men employed on this service; and, (7) whether any inspection or inquiry has ever been made out; and, if so, when?


The reply to the first paragraph is in the affirmative. (2) The coroner's jury returned a verdict of accidental drowning. No reporter was present at the inquest, and hence, I presume, no public intimation of the case was given. (3) I believe the fact to be as stated in the first part of the third paragraph, but I am not in a position to say whether the changes referred to have resulted in an increase in the number of accidents. (4) Night traffic is continuous. The only lights used at the locks are the lamps used by the lock keepers. There is a lock keeper at each lock for duty both by day and night. It is his duty to open and close the gates, and the keys are in his custody. (5) The reply to the fifth paragraph, so far as I can ascertain, is in the negative. The matter appears to be one of contract between the canal company and the men. (6) I am informed that it is not the function of the Board of Trade to generally inspect the working and management of canals, and I do not think the law provides for any such inspection. (7) There has never been any inspection or inquiry in the case of the Grand Canal.