HC Deb 26 July 1897 vol 51 cc1066-7
Mr. PATRICK O'BRTEN (Kilkenny)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury (1) whether, before concluding the sale of the Government interest in the Waterford, Dungarvan, and Lismore Railway to either the Great Western or Rosslare Companies, he will make it a condition of sale that the company that becomes the purchaser shall carry free Irish Members of Parliament who may use their systems when travelling from Ireland to London to attend Parliament, and when returning therefrom; and, (2) if not disposed to make such a condition in the contract, will he, before closing the sale, afford an opportunity for the discussion of its terms in this House, with a view to the insertion of such a clause, if the House of Commons should so decide?


also asked the Secretary to the Treasury (3) whether he is aware that a considerable number of Members of Parliament are directors of British awl Trish Railway Companies, and that all directors of Rail way Companies, British and Irish, can travel free over the British and Irish Railway lines, while Members of this House who are not Railway directors, but who are bound under penalties to serve on Committees on Railway Bills in Parliament, often for weeks at a time, are not so privileged; and, (4) whether he will take these facts into consideration when deciding as to the desirability of making free travelling for Members of Parliament a condition of the proposed sale of the Waterford, Dungarvan, and Lismore Railway to an English Railway Company?


With respect to Questions 3 and 4, I really cannot see any justification for saddling a single and small Irish Railway with a burden which is not imposed on other railways or steamer or carrying companies in the Kingdom, nor can I admit that the fact that railway companies may voluntarily allow railway directors free passes, is any argument for compelling them to give Members of Parliament similar privileges. The proposal is connected with a much larger question, viz: the payment of Members, which has of course nothing to do with the sale of the Government's interest in a small Irish line.