§ MR. SLOAN (Belfast, S.)
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he is aware that the Lough Erne drainage rate has been increased this year by 30 per cent.; and if he can say what is the cause of the increase.
(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) Drainage maintenance rates are struck and levied, under the powers given by The Drainage and Improvement of Lands (Ireland) Act, 1863, by the local drainage boards which are elected by the proprietors of lands within the several districts. The rate which may be struck in a particular district does not come within the cognizance or control of the Government. It has, however, been ascertained from the secretary to the Lough and River Erne Drainage and Navigation Board that the rate of the present year amounts to £1,500, which represents a large increase on the rate for last year. This increase was due to the fact that the Board was involved in certain legal proceedings in connection with their rules. If the hon. Member or any ratepayer concerned desires fuller information on the subject, I would suggest that inquiry be made direct from the drainage boards.