§ SIR JOHN LENG (Dundee)
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade whether the Commissioners of Irish Lights have given any explanation why in the four years 1898 to 1901 inclusive they forwarded no reports of inspections of local seamarks in Ireland, corresponding to those of the Trinity House and the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses; what is the number of Irish seamarks; the number inspected and reported on to the Board of Trade in the year 1902; and is the Board entitled by statute to insist on regular and systematic inspections by, and reports from, the Commissioners of Irish Lights.
(Answered by Mr. Bonar Law.) The Commissioners of Irish Lights urge that the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, does not render it incumbent upon them to make local inspections within any specified periods, but merely as they think fit. The number of Irish seamarks under local jurisdiction is roughly estimated at 350, including lighthouses, buoys, and beacons. Fourteen reports were received from the Commissioners in 1902, but the Board are unable to specify the number of seamarks covered by those reports. The Board of Trade are not empowered by statute to insist on regular and systematic inspections, but, as stated in my reply on Wednesday † to the hon. Member for South Dublin, I am in hopes that the representation which has been addressed to the Commissioners will receive their attention.†See page 1181.