HC Deb 21 May 1906 vol 157 cc954-6
MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London, in reply to a Question, stated on July 18th, 1901, † that there was no doubt that this company (Fishguard and Rosslare Railway Company) are pledged to construct the line from Cork to Fermoy, and the Treasury neither have the power, nor would they exercise it if they did possess it, of sanctioning any escape from that Parliamentary obligation; and will he say if the railway company was under obligation to connect the railway termini in Cork; if the Treasury is now offering a portion of the £93,000, placed in connection with the sale of the County Waterford Railway, at the disposal of the Hybrid Committee which investigated the matter in 1898, for railway development in the South of Ireland, towards connecting railways in the city of Cork; and will he take steps to secure that such expenditure of public funds will not enable these railway companies to further evade their obligations to Parliament.


The Answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. The obligation laid upon the Fish-guard Company as regards the connection at Cork is contained in Sub-section 12 of Section 68 of the Act of 1898, which enacts that the company shall "use their best endeavours to obtain the assent and co-operation of the Cork Commissioners and the corporation of Cork, and of the Cork, Bandon, and South Coast and Cork and Macroom Railway Companies"; and it is understood that this co-operation would not have been adequate without Government assistance. No portion of the £93,000 is or has been placed at the disposal of any Committee. The Treasury has, however, stated that, in the event of the Cork City Railways and Works Bill being approved by the Committee and passing † See (4)Debates, xcvii., 856. into law, it will be prepared on certain conditions to invite Parliament at a convenient opportunity to contribute £25,000 to the purposes of the Bill.

MR. JOHN O'CONNOR (Kildare, N.)

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Hybrid Committee recommended that none of this money should be given to any railway that did not comprehend a direct railway service between Cork and Waterford? I wish to know whether this scheme, which is now to have a contribution of £25,000, has any such provision attached to it.


was understood to say that the hon. Gentleman's assumption was correct.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

asked whether £25,000 was the sum to be given. £50,000 had been mentioned as the amount.


Yes, I did say £25,000. A sum of £65,000 was mentioned formerly as possible to be obtained if a local contribution of £50,000 was received in respect of the scheme which last year was to cost £200,000. The total cost of the present scheme is £98,000, and under these circumstances the Treasury consider that a grant of £25,000 is sufficient.


Do the Treasury consider it equitable to divert this money from the purposes for which it was originally intended? This money is a contribution by the Treasury in consideration of money subscribed by certain baronies in Waterford for Water-ford purposes. [NATIONALIST cries of "No."] But it was, and I wish to ask whether the Treasury consider it fair to give any of the money towards any railway scheme unconnected with Cork and Waterford.


said the Treasury had given the matter full consideration.

MR. MOONEY (Newry)

asked whether the hon. Gentleman would make public the conditions under which the Treasury were prepared to grant this sum. Was it not a fact that one of the conditions was that the Treasury should be satisfied, after a Committee of the House had passed the Bill, that the scheme from an engineering point of view was a satisfactory one. Was the Treasury to have that power of practically overriding a decision of the House?


said there was no question of the decision of the House being overridden. The Committee would meet on Wednesday and, as he understood the position, would then consider their decision, having regard to the amount of the Treasury grant.


asked whether, seeing that they were flying in the face o f the recommendation of the Joint Committee of both Houses, the Treasury would undertake to reconsider the whole matter.


said the hon. Member should give notice of that Question.