§ MR. J. DEVLIN
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to a report submitted to and received by the Belfast corporation from Mr. Nance, the manager of the municipal 1174 tramways, in which he recommended extensions, estimated to cost £108,000, and advised the corporation when it decided to proceed with these extensions to proceed by Order in Council instead of by Bill in Parliament, on the ground that the expense will be inconsiderable and the perils of opposition will be nil; whether the Privy Council has power to grant such an Order; and, if so, whether, for the protection of the ratepayers, who have not been consulted about the matter, he will insist on a local plebiscite before sanctioning such an Order, or direct that the corporation proceed by Bill in the usual way.
§ MR. BIRRELL
The Local Government Board have seen a copy of the report referred to in the first part of the Question. The Privy Council has full power to deal with an application for the extension of the Belfast tramways. No such application, however, has yet been made. I am advised that neither the Privy Council nor I myself have any power to direct a local plebiscite, as suggested in the Question, nor have I power to direct the Belfast corporation to proceed by Bill in Parliament. If the corporation should apply for an Order in Council, any persons who may be opposed to the application, either as representing the ratepayers or as individuals, would have full opportunity of being heard by the Council before a decision should be arrived at.