§ MR. G. W. WOLFF (Belfast, E.)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he has yet received any communication from the Board of Irish Lights Commissioners regarding the beacon on the North Briggs Reef; and whether it is their intention to put up a new beacon in the place of the one which has been washed away?
§ MR. RITCHIE
The Commissioners of Irish Lights have informed me that representations have been already made to them by the Belfast Harbour Commissioners and the Belfast Chamber of Commerce as to the desirability of re-erecting the beacon on the North Briggs Reef; but that, looking to the fact that the beacon was originally erected by private enterprise, and for local purposes, they do not consider that they would be justified in proposing that the expense of the replacement of the beacon should be thrown on the Mercantile Marine Fund.
§ MR. RITCHIE
The Board of Trade have no power to compel the Irish Lights Commissioners to do anything in the matter. Their power is entirely confined to meeting the expenses which the Irish Light Commissioners think it right with the sanction of the Board of Trade to undertake. But the Board of Trade have no power to compel them to do anything which they do not think it their duty to do. They think this is a local matter, and that the beacon ought to be restored by the local authority.