§ SIR THOMAS ESMONDE (Wexford, N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he is aware that recently, when the fishermen of Courtown were out at night fishing, a sudden gale arose and they had to run for the harbour, which is now, and has been for a long time, blocked with sand; that seven of the fishing boats grounded on the bar, and that their crews, thirty-four men in all, had to get overboard, at the risk of their lives, and lift their boats over the bar into deep water; and whether the Government propose to take any notice of the repeated representations which have been made to them regarding the condition of these fishermen.
I understand that the facts are substantially as stated in the Question. I am informed, however, that in the case of one boat only did the crew get overboard and lift the boat over the bar; the remaining six boats were pulled over the bar from the pier with ropes. Courtown harbour is vested in the Wexford County Council, whose duty it is to maintain it; but, as I informed the hon. Baronet on the 8th instant ‡ the† See (4), Debates, clix., 1103.‡ See (4) Debates, clxiv, 759–760.318 Department of Agriculture, having learnt that the entrance to the harbour had become choked with sand, were then about to assist the county council in the matter by erecting a steam crane and grab to remove the accumulation of sand, as they had done on a previous occasion. This work is now in progress.