§ MR. J. TUITE (Westmeath, N.)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury—(1) is he aware that, under Sections 33 to 35 of 58 Geo. III., c. 35, a sum of £15,000 was deposited with the Irish Government by the old Royal Canal Company for the purposes of the obligations of the Company; (2) can he state whether that fund is still available; and, if so, will the Irish Board of Works, to whom the powers of the Directors of Inland Navigation in Ireland were transferred by 1 & 2 Will. IV, c 33, now apply that sum, as authorised by Section 38 of the said Act of Geo. III., to 466 the carrying out of whatever works may be necessary to put the canal in a proper navigable condition, the present owners, the Midland Great Western Railway Company of Ireland, as successors of the Royal Canal Company, having failed to do so, as proved by the Reports of the Inspectors of the Board of Trade; (3) can he state the purport of the quarterly Reports of the Midland Railway Company to the Lord Lieutenant as to the condition of the canal immediately before the inspections by Major General Hutchinson and Major Marindin; and (I) whether the representations of the Company were found to agree with the Reports of the Inspectors?
§ * MR. HANBURY
The answer to the first paragraph is Yes. The Act of 1818, to which the hon. Member refers, provided for the creation of the Board of Control and for setting aside a Reserve Fund of £15,000, applicable by the Board (with the consent of the Irish Government) towards works required for the maintenance and preservation of the canal, the Company being required to recoup any such expenditure. By an Act of 1845 the canal was transferred to the Midland Great Western Railway, subject to the existing control of the Board of Control and the Irish Government. By an Act of 1818 the fund, which had increased from £15,000 to £17,538, was mulcted of £12,000, which was transferred to the Railway Company for the purpose of making the railway; but the remaining £5,538 stock is still available. The Railway Company's Reports, I am informed, deal in considerable detail with ordinary maintenance and state the works done in the period to which they refer, but do not deal with the general state of the canal. The Reports of the Board of Trade Inspectors show that they were not satisfied with the sufficiency of the maintenance of the canal. I am informed that the Railway Company report that they are carrying out the Board of Trade recommendations, and have bought a steam dredger. Meanwhile, the Board of Control have arranged to make an inspection of the canal at an early date.