§ MR. SULLIVAN (Westmeath, S.)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the military gasworks in Athlone Barracks are used by a private contractor to supply gas to the Midland Great Western Railway Company, although the Athlone Urban Council supply gas for public and private lighting in the town, and have recently expended £4,500 on improvements in the gasworks and mains; whether, seeing that the military gasworks are handed over fully equipped to a contractor to thus compete against the town supply, the military authorities sanction this arrangement.
The reply to the first paragraph is in the affirmative. In reply to the second paragraph, the contractor is liable for maintenance; the buildings, etc., have been handed over to him by the War Department, and this has been taken into account in fixing the terms of the contract. There have been arrangements of a somewhat similar character sanctioned in connection with the gas supply at other stations. The arrangement in question had been in 78 force without complaint for many years before the Athlone gas supply was taken over by the district council.