§ As amended, considered.
§ MR. BUTCHER (York)
moved to leave out the Tralee and Fenit Pier and Harbour Order. He said the Bill was promoted under the impression that an agreement had been arrived at between 679 the harbour board and the Kerry County Council, but that was a misunderstanding. The board had no desire to press the Bill in its present form in opposition to the views of the council, and as time did not permit an agreement being arrived at this session, he moved to omit this particular Order. He hoped that by next year an agreement would be arrived at. His Motion was to omit the second Order from the Bill. He begged to move.
In page 14, line 1, to leave out the words to the end of schedule (Tralee and Fenit Pier and Harbour Order).'"—(Mr. Butcher.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out to the word 'time,' in page 16, line 6, stand part of the Bill." —
§ MR. THOMAS O'DONNELL (Kerry, W.)
said the Bill was promoted by the harbour board of county Kerry. He should be very sorry to see the Bill dropped if it could be amended so as to meet the wishes of the county council, because it would mean the useless expenditure of so much money. The understanding that the hon. Member for York had mentioned had reference to the system of election to the harbour board. He read to the House a telegram he had received from the chairman of the county council as follows—Just seen Order. It upsets clear undertaking given by the chairman of the harbour board that there would be no multiple voting, and agreement arrived at by the county council and the harbour board to this effect.The Bill proposed to give two merchants who imported the largest amount of tonnage seats on the board ex officio, and votes for the election of the board were given to other merchants in proportion to the tonnage they imported with a maximum of three votes. But the tonnage could be broken up between partners in any firm, and the largest importer who brought in 30,000 tons might have eight or ten partners who would each have votes, and the two gentlemen who had seats ex officio might 680 thus control the election of the board. That was a condition of affairs which he thought was not right. They wanted a better and more democratic system. The ratepayers paid £5,000 every year for the management of the harbour board, and paid the loss on working expenses and interest on the original capital spent on the pier and railway, but had no voice in its control He did not think they would gain much by giving these two merchants an absolute monopoly. If nothing could be done to mend it now, and it was decided to withdraw it—and they preferred its withdrawal to its passing in its present form—he hoped more attention would be paid to its drafting when it was introduced next year, so that the ratepayers of county Kerry would not be put to further expense. The county council were responsible for debts contracted by the board of £200,000. The annuity in respect of that sum amounted to £5,000, and they had been paying it for twenty Tears, though they had nothing to say to the board's expenditure. It was time something was done in that matter. He had an Amendment asking that each firm composed of one or a dozen men should pay dues in the name of the firm only, and not be allowed to break up its tonnage.
§ MR. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)
pointed out that in 1901 the harbour board was formed by the three principal merchants in Tralee. There were then twenty-eight votes. Merchant No. 1 controlled thirteen votes, Merchant No. 2, seven, and Merchant No. 3, five votes, or a total of twenty-four out of a possible twenty-eight. He held that this had been done illegally, and he wanted to see this prevented in the future. The county of Kerry had to pay £5,000 a year, and the claim they made was the modest one that they should have three representatives out of a total of fourteen. Under no consideration would he be a party to this Provisional Order being carried out.
§ MR. FIELD
(Dublin, St. Patrick) thought the House did not realise the 681 gravity of this matter. £5,000 a year was a considerable sum to the ratepayers of Kerry, and he thought some amicable arrangement ought to be entered into. He had received a telegram showing that an agreement was entered into between the promoters of the Bill and the county council, and if that were so he intended that that honourable understanding should be carried out. He hoped the Bill would be allowed to pass. An enormous amount of correspondence had passed on the subject, the Bill was badly wanted for the harbour, and all the people were anxious about it. The hon. Member for York must recognise that the discharging of the Order did not meet the situation, because the matter would have to be brought forward again next session.
§ MR. MURPHY (Kerry, E.)
suggested that as all the Members for Kerry were in agreement, the hon. Member for York should not do anything which would make the position more difficult. He proposed that there should be an adjournment for a week in order that an understanding might be arrived at between the county council and the promoters of the Bill.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Murphy.)
§ MR. BUTCHER
considered that would have been an admirable suggestion if the session were younger, but unfortunately there was not the slightest chance of the parties coming together at this late period. There were two alternatives. One was to read the Bill a third time, and the other was to discharge it in the hope that early next session the parties might come to an agreement which would satisfy everybody. He asked the House to adopt the second alternative.
§ MR. THOMAS O'DONNELL
did not think anything would be lost by postponement so as to give the county council and the harbour board an opportunity of coming together to decide the small and simple point in the Bill. That would avoid the difficulty and 682 expense of promoting another Bill next year.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said that he was informed that the promotion of the Order would cost £200 or £300, and he thought they should not take a course which would inflict the cost upon the taxpayers of the county. It would injure no one to adjourn the matter. If the misunderstanding which ought to be cleared up could not be cleared up, then they could take the alternative suggested by the hon. Member for York.
§ MR. BUTCHER
said that if there were really a possibility of agreement he would certainly not oppose the proposed adjournment.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Debate to be resumed upon Monday next.
§ Glasgow Corporation Order Confirmation Bill [Lords] (by Order); Paisley District Tramways Order Confirmation, Bill [Lords] (by Order); Glasgow Corporation (Tramways Consolidation) Order Confirmation Bill [Lords] (by Order). Read a second time; and ordered to be considered upon Monday next.