HC Deb 09 February 1900 vol 78 cc1055-6
MR. FFRENCH (Wexford, S.)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that the Wexford bye-laws are being constantly violated by steam trawlers, and that great damage is being done to the fishery, and numbers of poor men thrown out of employment; and that although the names of four trawlers have been supplied to the inspectors of fisheries, they refuse to prosecute on the ground of insufficient evidence: and whether, since local vessels can do no more than find out the names of the trawlers, he will consent to give a gunboat to protect Wexford and other Irish fisheries, considering that gunboats have been given to protect English and Scotch fisheries.

* THE FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY (Mr. GOSCHEN, St. George's,) Hanover Square

As I have often explained, the duty of the Admiralty is to protect fishermen against any illegal inroads on the part of foreign fishing boats, but they do not undertake the enforcement of bye-laws passed by local authorities, nor have they appropriated vessels for local fisheries except in the special case of the Scottish Fishery Board, who have the assistance of two small vessels. There are gunboats on the coast of Ireland which are fully employed there at present.


Under these circumstances cannot a gunboat be sent to protect Irish fisheries from steam trawlers? If not, of what use is the Navy to Ireland at all?

MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)

Will the hon. Member for South Dublin take into consideration the advisability of—


Order, order! Notice should be given of these questions.

MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)

Is it not the fact that these bye-laws are made not by the local authorities, but by the Fishery Board? Will the right hon. Gentleman under these circumstances reconsider the matter?


We do not undertake to enforce the bye-laws of the Fishery Board.