§ MR. LONSDALE (Armagh, Mid.)
To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland what is the present position of the negotiations respecting the scheme of railway extension to Belmullet projected by the late Government; and whether he can hold out any hope that such extension will be undertaken.
(Answered by Mr. Birrell.) I understand that the scheme of railway extension to Belmullet, to which the hon. Member refers as having been projected by the late Government, is the scheme for the construction of a railway from Mullaranny to Belmullet. His Majesty's present Government, after careful consideration, and as the result of protracted negotiations, made a definite offer to the Midland Great Western Railway Company of a large sum of public money as a free grant conditional upon the construction and equipment of the proposed line by the company. This offer the company did not see their way to accept, and the Government have since had under consideration an alternative scheme for a line from Killala to Belmullet. The promoters of this scheme, however, have not satisfied the Government, as at present advised, that the prospects of the scheme are such as to promise success, but I have been asked to receive further representations on the subject, and the matter therefore must be regarded as still pending.