HC Deb 25 February 1898 vol 54 cc29-30
MR. P. J. POWER (Waterford, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, in view of the fact that the Treasury have forced the sale of the Water-ford, Dungarvan, and Lismore Railway by foreclosing their mortgage, and as the Treasury promised to safeguard the interests of the guaranteeing ratepayers in any sale of the line that might take place, whether his attention has been called to a statement made in the Times of 24th February, to the effect that the Rosslare and Fishguard Railway Company have withdrawn from their railway scheme and disposed of their rights and prospects to the Great Western Railway Company; whether such is the case; and when will the Treasury be in a position to give the guaranteeing ratepayers information as to their position under existing circumstances?


It is not the fact that the Treasury have foreclosed the mortgage. I have seen a statement in the newspapers that the Rosslare Company have come to an arrangement with the Great Western Railway Company, but I have no official information on that point. I have, however, received a letter, dated the 16th instant, from the Chairman of the Great Western Railway Company, stating that the Bill promoted with the object of acquiring the Waterford, Dungarvan, and Lismore, and the Lismore and Fermoy Railways, in the joint interest of the Great Western and the Great Southern and Western Railways, will not be further proceeded with. The interests of the guaranteeing ratepayers were provided for in the Bill which has now been withdrawn under the provisional agreement made between the joint Companies and the Treasury. In the case of the rival scheme of the Rosslare Company, with whom no agreement existed, no such provision is, I understand, at present inserted, and it may be necessary to deal with that subject when the Bill is in Committee.


As this Bill is down for second reading on Monday next, will the right hon. Gentleman be in a position to make a statement, in the interests of the guaranteeing ratepayers, as to the terms of the arrangement which was reported to have been come to?


I have no means of knowing what private arrangements had been made between the Great Western and the Rosslare Company.


Previously to any transfer, will the Great Western Company be called upon to give a guarantee that they would fulfil the engagements entered into by the Rosslare and Fishguard Company relative to the alternative route, and the proposed railway developments in the South of Ireland?


I do not think we can interfere with any private arrangements. The Great Western have withdrawn altogether, and have abandoned their Bill.

SIR JOHN COLOMB (Great Yarmouth)

Had the Rosslare Railway Company sold to the Great Western, and Great Southern and Western jointly, or to the Great Western alone?


I have no information beyond what was available to the hon. Member, or what had appeared in the newspapers. He had no official information from cither of the Companies with regard to any arrangement between them.