§ 48. Mr. BYRNE
asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the resignation of one of the members, Sir John Griffith, and the engineer of the Dublin Port and Docks Board; if he is aware that they have resigned as a protest against the management of the port and the ill advised treatment of its employés by the Economic Committee of the Board; if he is aware that the changes and the dismissals of workmen proposed by that committee were started as a result of a circular sent by the Government asking the Board to economise; if he will state whether the Government approve of economy that tends to reduce employment and injures the principal harbour in Ireland; if he is aware of the growing demand in Dublin for an alteration in the laws and franchise that elects members to the Dublin Port and Docks Board; and if he will say what steps, if any, he intends to take that would enable the people to elect popular representatives to safeguard the interests of the port of Dublin?
I have seen a newspaper report of these resignations, but I have received no official intimation of the reasons for them. In May, 1915, the Board of Trade issued a circular to harbour authorities urging the importance of economy as regards new works for both labour and financial reasons. I understand that the Dublin Port and Docks Board have asked the Minister of Munitions if he can find work for some 200 of their employés, as they are of opinion that these men can be spared for the period of the War without detriment to the working of the Port, and that the matter is receiving consideration. I have no knowledge of any demand in Dublin for an alteration of the franchise upon which the Port and Docks Board is elected, and I see no occasion to take any steps in that direction.