§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary whether his attention has been directed to the repeated complaints made by fishermen resident in Howth and Baldoyle, county of Dublin, of the destruction or injury to their lines and nets by steam trawlers; will he explain why although specific instances in which steam trawlers have deliberately run into and destroyed nets and lines have been reported from the districts mentioned to the Irish Fishery Commissioners, that body has taken no steps to prevent such illegal acts or bring their authors to punishment; and what action the Government proposes to take with a view to put a 1420 stop to this state of things which will have the effect of reducing the fishing population to beggary?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The complaints, referred to were received by the Inspectors of Irish Fisheries, and were duly submitted by them to the Irish Government. Unfortunately the fishermen were unable to furnish the Inspectors with any evidence or information likely to lead to a conviction of the offenders. The whole question of illegal practices by steam trawlers off the coast of Ireland has been engaging the careful attention of the Irish Government. The Admiralty have consented from time to time to send, on the requisition of the Irish Government, one of their vessels to visit some specified locality; but they have expressed their inability to detail a vessel for sole employment on fishing duty. A special vessel, however, for this purpose is, in the opinion of the Irish Government, essential for effective action I hope it may be found possible to deal more successfully with the evil under the provisions of the Bill about to be introduced for establishing a Department, of Agriculture and other industries in Ireland. Meanwhile the Irish Government will, whenever practicable, seek assistance from the Admiralty.
§ MR. CLANCY
Is it not possible for the Irish Government to institute proceedings in specific cases which were submitted to them?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
As I have already explained, the Government have no vessel which would be required for that purpose at their disposal.