§ MR. JOHN O'DONNELL
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the ratepayers of the barony of Kilmaine, in the county Mayo, are taxed annually at a rate of from 3d. to 6d. in the £; that when this line of railway was being built the Midland Great Western Railway Company, who are now working the line, gave evidence to show that when it would be in working order it would cost the ratepayers nothing; that the shareholders are guaranteed 5 per cent. on £71,640; and that the railway company are entitled to half gross receipts, and to work the line on the other half; and, if so, whether, in view of the fact that the traffic has increased within the past few years, he will take steps to remove the payment of the guarantee from these people.
(Answered by Mr. Wyndham.) The railway referred to is presumably the Ballinrobe and Claremorris Railway. It is worked by the Midland Great Western Railway Company for 50 per 1472 cent. of the gross receipts. In addition to that working charge there are general charges, directors' and auditors' fees, etc., amounting to about £240 per annum. The surplus revenue to meet the dividend of 5 per cent. on the guaranteed share capital of £71,640 (equal to £3,582 per annum) in the year to 31st October, 1902, was £1,242 13s. 10d., which was a slight improvement on preceding years. This left the sum of £2,339 6s. 2d. to be paid by the guaranteeing area, namely, the barony of Kilmain, and the parish of Ballyovey, in the barony of Carra. One-half of that amount (£1,169 13s. 1d.) was recouped to the guaranteeing area by the Treasury under The Tramways and Public Companies Act, 1883. The net or residual charge would represent 5¼d. in the £ on the valuation of the area charged, namely, £55;435. As the traffic improves (and there has been an improvement since 1893, when the surplus revenue was £730 and the net charge against the guaranteeing area £1,426) relief is afforded to the ratepayers. The guarantee is imposed by statute and cannot be removed without legislation.