HC Deb 11 February 1904 vol 129 c1033
MR. O'DOWD (Sligo, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that several county and district councils in Ireland have been surcharged by the Local Government Board because of the construction and repair of roads on a width of less than sixteen feet, although, in reply to queries addressed them, the Board have stated that the law is not clear on the matter; and whether, seeing that, owing to the uncertainty existing on this point, and the fear of surcharge, many councils are prevented from repairing old roads on the existing width, and in view of the hardship imposed on communities residing in backward districts, steps will be taken to have it repealed.


It is undoubtedly contrary to the express provisions of the 55th Section of the Grand Jury Act, and, therefore, illegal to construct any new road of a width less than sixteen feet, and any change in the law in that respect would be most objectionable. But there is nothing illegal in the repairing of an old road of less width than sixteen feet, provided it be a public road. Whether a road is a public road or not is a mixed question of law and fact depending on many circumstances. If any county or district councils feel aggrieved by the decision of an auditor they can appeal to the Local Government Board, who are empowered to remit the surcharge on equitable grounds.