§ Mr. PATRICK MEEHAN
asked the Chief Secretary whether he will cause inquiries to be made into the conditions under which the Irish Parliament in 1791 granted a charter giving certain rights of navigation and other privileges over the River Barrow to the Barrow Navigation Company, now represented by the Grand Canal Company (Ireland), for the purpose of ascertaining whether the canal company had any legal right to create islands and plant osiers in the bed of the river; and whether obligations were imposed on the Barrow Navigation Company to keep the river dredged and free from obstruction?
§ Mr. CHERRY
The charter is of great length. It does not appear to contain any clause imposing an obligation to keep the river dredged. A power is given to cut canals at either or both sides of the river (which might have the effect of forming islands), and it gives certain rights in the soil and water, and the banks of the river. Any riparian owner who has been injured by the action of the company has, of course, his ordinary legal remedy by action, if the company have exceeded their rights under their charter or have caused any illegal obstruction to the flow of the water. The Government cannot undertake to protect private rights of this nature, but must leave it to individuals who assert that they are injured to enforce their rights in the ordinary way.
§ Mr. P. MEEHAN
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the rights in this case are the rights of the public, and affect the public health, in a district covering 40,000 acres of land? Who is to take the initiative in compelling the Navigation Company to remove the obstruction?