HC Deb 12 October 1916 vol 86 cc172-3

asked the Chief Secretary if his attention has been called to the fact that important public bodies in Ireland have by resolution expressed grave apprehension with regard to the coal supply to Ireland in the coming winter, and urging the Government to take measures to ensure an adequate supply at reasonable prices, including sea carriage; and if he can state what action the Government propose to take?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Runciman)

My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer this question. I find that shipments of coal to Ireland have so far been well maintained; indeed, the quantity shipped in August was unusually large. The question both of supplies and prices will be carefully watched, and such action as appears necessary will be taken.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether anything is likely to be done for the purpose of developing the native coal industry in Ireland?


I am afraid that is not a question I can answer.

79. Mr. P. MEEHAN

asked the President of the Board of Trade if his attention has been called to the present condition of the coal supply in Ireland and the rise in the price of that commodity in Ireland; and whether steps will be taken to procure an adequate supply of coal at a reasonable price for that country?


As I informed the hon. Baronet the Member for Mid-Armagh, shipments of coal to Ireland have been well maintained. As regards price, it would appear from cases which have been brought before the Board of Trade that the fact that the Price of Coal (Limitation) Act applies to coal shipped to Ireland is not always understood. Merchants and consumers who have reason to believe that they are being charged excessive prices at the pit would be well advised to communicate in the first instance with the Coal and Coke Supplies Committee for the district from which their coal is drawn.


Has the attention of the right hon. Gentleman been called to the resolution of the gas managers of Ireland in which they point out that the smaller gasworks will have to shut up unless something is done to secure an adequate supply at a reasonable price?


If those cases are brought to the attention of the Board of Trade we shall endeavour to ensure for those companies the full benefit of the Prices Act.