§ MR. JOHN O'CONNOR
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland what are the legal difficulties referred to in the Report of the Department of Agriculture for Ireland, at page 10 of the Fourth Annual General Report, 1903–4 [Cd. 2509], that prevent county authorities from taking advantage of the offers of the Department to render aid in the construction and improvement of piers and harbours in Ireland; are these difficulties removable by legislation or otherwise; and, if so, will an effort be made to remove them.
In the case of new marine works to be constructed by county councils the maximum sum which the council can contribute is limited by Sec. 67 of the Grand Jury Act of 1836. (as adapted by the Local Government Ireland Act 1898) to £300. As the section provides that the county can, within this limit, provide for only two-thirds the cost of any such work, it follows that the entire cost of a new work† (4) Debates, cliii., 775.1117 to be constructed by a county council under the section is limited to the sum of £450. This difficulty obviously precludes the Department from co-operating with county councils in many cases—such as those in which a larger local contribution should fairly be forthcoming, or where the entire expenditure on a work would exceed £450. The difficulty, I understand, can only be removed by legislation.