HC Deb 28 July 1904 vol 138 cc1476-7
MR. THORNTON (Clapham)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the present derelict state of the Portumna Railway is owing to the loss of a security for £32,420, through the negligence of a Department of the Government, and that this loss has been the cause of the difficulties that have befallen the railway, including a loss to the Treasury of their loan on mortgage of £12,000 and interest; and, if so, whether the Government will take the necessary steps for renewing the permanent way, and get the line reopened for traffic for the benefit of the district at an early date; or failing the above, whether he will cause a full investigation into the circumstances referred to.


The Public Works Loan Commissioners have no knowledge of the loss of any security affecting this railway. But even if such a loss had occurred it would not have caused the difficulties that have arisen. The Commissioners advanced a sum of £12,000 towards the construction of the line in 1867. They took possession of it in 1878 as first mortgagees, and remained in possession until 1883. The gross receipts for the three years prior to 1878 averaged less than £2 per mile per week. The Great Southern and Western Railway Company, by whom the line was worked, lost about £1,500 a year on the transaction. It does not appear that the traffic conditions would be more favourable if the line were re-opened.


Was not the railway allowed to become derelict through the negligence of the Government in 1885.


The Government do not accept any responsibility in this matter, although, of course, they very much regret the state of affairs.