§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN (Kilkenny)
On behalf of the honourable Member for the St. Patrick Division of Dublin I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if he will state the total amount of money advanced by the State for the construction of railways in Ireland; also the separate amounts advanced on the different lines now in the possession of the present existing companies, also the amount of baronial guarantees paid by each Irish county to railway companies, and the amount paid last year, and the companies to whom it was paid; also the amount of principal and interest repaid by railway companies to the Treasury segregated amongst the present existing companies; and what powers of control over the railway companies have been granted to the Treasury and the local authorities in Ireland in consideration of their payments to the railway companies?
The information which the honourable Member desires is too complicated to be given in an answer to a Question. I shall be glad, however, to consider the possibility of giving a Return which will cover the points that he has raised, and perhaps the honourable Member will communicate with me on the subject. With regard to the last paragraph of the Question, I understand that over all guaranteed lines under the Tramways (Ireland) Act, 1883, the county and the Treasury have certain controlling powers fixed by the Order in Council sanctioning the making of the line as regards inspection of works and auditing of accounts. The county also can, in case they have for not less than two years paid any money towards the working expenses of the line, take possession of 326 it and work it themselves. Under the Railways (Ireland) Act, 1896, the Board of Works have power to inspect and report on the condition of the guaranteed undertaking, and its working, maintenance, and development, and if it is not efficiently worked, maintained, and developed, the Lord Lieutenant, on getting a report to this effect from the Board, and on hearing all parties interested, may make an Order appointing a manager or receiver, for such time and with such powers as the Privy Council may determine.