§ MR. SLOAN (Belfast, S.)
To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he will have printed and circulated with the Votes a copy of the letter which he received recently from the Belfast Harbour Commissioners to certain questions regarding that body, together with the effect of any supplementary information which he may have received from the Commissioners.
§ (Answered by Mr. Lloyd-George.) The letter which I received from the Belfast Harbour Commissioners was in the following terms:—
§ Belfast Harbour Commissioners.
§ Harbour Office, Belfast,
§ 6th July, 1907.
§ I am instructed by the Belfast Harbour Commissioners to acknowledge receipt of your communication of the 4th instant (H. 8441) transmitting a series of Questions proposed to be asked in the House of Commons by Mr. Devlin, M.P., on the subject of the affairs of this trust.
§ I am to point out by way of preface that the statements contained in the Questions are so varied and cover such a large field of statistical and other matters that it is obviously impossible, in the 451 limited time permitted for reply, that a full and satisfactory answer can be made to the many points on which information is desired.
§ I am, however, directed by the Commissioners to deal with the subject matter of the Questions as fully as the circumstances will admit, and to say that the Commissioners observed in the press some vague and general statements reflecting on the Board made by Mr. Carlisle at a luncheon on the 27th ultimo, of which they took no notice.
§ The Commissioners are not aware whether Messrs. Harland and Wolff refused to tender for ships in consequence of a refusal on the part of the Commissioners to give them ground, but if they did so refuse to tender the fault does not lie with the Commissioners, as they never declined to let ground to this firm. As a matter of fact the Commissioners have about 140 acres of ground which they are desirous to let for shipbuilding purposes.
§ A special plot of land, containing about forty acres suitable for shipbuilding purposes on the east side of Musgrave Channel, was put up for letting by public auction on the 6th October, 1903, in accordance with the provisions of the Harbour Acts. See following advertisement cutting:—