HC Deb 12 July 1898 vol 61 cc673-5
MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is he aware that Richmond Prison, built by the Dublin Corporation at a cost of over £120,000, was taken over under the late Conservative Government by the military authorities as a barracks without any compensation to the city, which was obliged to pension the staff; while the War Department insisted on receiving £60,000 for the Pigeon House Fort from the Corporation, the site of which that body originally granted free to the Government; is he aware that the Dublin Corporation are now engaged on the work of main drainage, which will cost when completed nearly £500,000, without any contribution from the outlying townships; and that this work was originally insisted on by Government about 1870, in the interest of the health of the troops, under an intimation that steps would be taken to compel the work of sanitation in respect of the river Liffey; will he explain why it is that, while Belfast only contributes £15,000 to the police with a larger and more disturbed population and greater resources, Dublin has to pay a rate of 8d. in the £ on the metropolitan area, averaging £35,000, while in addition the hackney car duty goes to the police along with a special pawnbrokers' licence, averaging together nearly £10,000 more; and why are these arrangements not insisted on for Belfast, or why is Dublin not released from them; and, in view of the present heavy charges on Dublin and the recent profitable arrangements made by the Crown with its Corporation, will he consider the question of accepting the police rate alone as the Dublin police contribution?


(1) Richmond Prison appears from a Parliamentary Return to have cost the local authority £96,000 from 1813 to 1877, when its maintenance was undertaken by Government. When no longer required as a prison it was transferred to the War Office to be converted into barracks. Any pensions to its former staff would be divided between rates and votes. (2) The "Pigeon House Fort," and other War Department property at the mouth of the Liffey, which cost the Government £157,000, were surrendered for the drainage scheme in consideration of £65,000, the cost of replacing part only of the works surrendered. (3) I am aware that within the last 10 years a drainage scheme has been promoted by the Corporation. Government will contribute its share of the cost in the shape of contributions in lieu of rates on its property in the city, valued at over £40,000 a year. (4) The contributions of the Dublin police district (which is much larger than the city) and of Belfast towards the cost of their police are fixed by Statute. That of the former is about 35 per cent. of the cost, that of the latter something like 15 per cent. Considering that in Great Britain over 50 per cent. of the cost of the police is provided from rates, the comparisons suggest rather an increase in the contribution from Belfast than a decrease in that from Dublin. I will make inquiries as to the pawnbroker's licence; but, as at present advised, I see no reason for reducing the total charge on Dublin. As regards the hackney car duty, special services are rendered by the police in respect of it, as in London, where a similar system exists.


Can the right honourable Gentleman say what, if Belfast paid on the same basis as Dublin, would be the amount of her contribution?


I cannot give the exact figure. Belfast only pays 15 per cent. as against Dublin's 35.