HC Deb 12 June 1896 vol 41 cc952-3
DR. COMMINS (Cork Co., E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, in view of the facts that the Commissioners to administer the £250,000 granted by Parliament out of the surplus of the Irish Church Fund for the building of piers and harbours in Ireland recommended a free grant of £10,000, or thereabouts, for the improvement of Greystones, that the expenditure has been more than double this sum, and that an additional amount has been provided for by a free grant, will he explain from what fund the extra grant was provided; were the Commissioners appointed under the Act, or the Inspectors of Irish Fisheries consulted as to such additional grant; what was the original estimate of the Board of Works, and how was the amount proposed to be provided when the work was sanctioned by the Treasury; what is the actual amount expended on it up to the present, and how has this money been provided, and under what authority; and, why have the Kinsale Harbour authorities been differently treated by the Government?


The original grant was of £8,500 from the Sea Fisheries Fund. The extra grants, which were mainly due to the construction of the North Groyne, were provided from the same fund. Those extra grants were not sanctioned until the Piers and Harbours Commission had ceased to exist, so it was impossible for them to make recommendations on the subject. The Fishery Inspectors did not recommend the construction of the North Groyne; but the Treasury, with the concurrence of the Irish Government, decided that it must be built for engineering reasons, in order to save the existing works from being destroyed by the movement of the shingle, that movement having been dangerously accelerated by the removal of the railway after the original works had been constructed. The original estimate was £10,000, and was provided for by the £8,500 grant, together with £1,000 loan and £500 local contribution. The actual amount expended up to date has been £20,649, of which all except the local provision of £1,500 has been provided by free grant out of the Sea Fisheries Fund. I can trace Treasury authority for the whole amount of the free grants, except about £680, as to which I am making inquiry. The circumstances of Kinsale and Greystones are not, of course, identical; but apart from that, I have already explained to the hon. Member that the apparent absence of any bona fide desire on the part of the Kinsale Harbour and Town Commissioners to meet their obligations has rendered it difficult for the Treasury to consider further concessions; but that if they should make any real effort to meet their obligations to the Government, the Government, would on its part be prepared to take the circumstances again into consideration.