MR. FIELD, St. Patrick) (Dublin
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the average rate per ton on merchandise carried by railways in England, Scotland, and Ireland has been calculated, and shows that in 1880 the excess was 21.83 per cent. above the English rate, and 27.13 above the Scotch; in 1890 the excess was 22.75 above the English, and 29.22 per cent. above the Scotch; and in 1900 the corresponding percentages were 37.14 and 33.97; whether any steps will be taken by the Government to reduce the cost of transport in Ireland, where there is an average difference of almost £2 per ton in the carriage of goods: whether he will cause inquiry to be made into those figures with a view to providing a remedy.
THR CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (MR. WYNDHAM,) Dover
The figures are as stated, except that the average difference in the cost of carriage of goods on British and Irish railways is 2s., not £2. It should be observed, however, that the proportion of expenditure to receipts on Irish railways is higher than on the Scottish lines, and almost as high as on the English rail-ways. The rates in Ireland are presumably within the legal maxima which 285 the companies are authorised to charge. In reply to the concluding inquiry, I must refer the hon. Member to my reply to the Question put by him to me on Tuesday last. †