HL Deb 31 March 1846 vol 85 cc366-7

presented a petition from the grand jury of the county of Kerry, praying their Lordships to give their most attentive consideration to the various lines of railway now projected throughout Ireland, and more especially to such as were intended to be constructed in that county. The noble Marquess took occasion to inquire of his noble Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty (Lord Ellenborough) whether any consideration had been devoted or was intended to be directed by the department over which that noble Lord presided, to a matter which might be said to be connected in some degree with the subject of railways in Ireland, and which, at all events, possessed much interest for the Irish people. It was notorious that from time to time surveyors had been ordered, under the direction of Government, to take surveys upon the south-west coast of Ireland, in order to ascertain upon what part of that coast a packet station, or a military station, or both, might be most advantageously established, with a view to correspondence across the Atlantic, or the better security of the country. He was most desirous to avoid expressing any opinion whatever as to the expediency or inexpediency of undertaking any such works; that was a question which must rest upon military and naval grounds. Of the first the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Wellington) was the best judge; and with respect to the latter, there were many persons whose opinions on the subject would be much more valuable than his (the Marquess of Lansdowne's); but what he wished to impress upon their Lordships was this, that if any design of the kind was indeed entertained by the Government, it was highly desirable that they (the Government) should make up their minds at once as to the exact place where it was proposed to establish the station or stations, and notify the same to the public with as little delay as possible. There ought to be some understanding with the Government with a view to see how the public interest might be promoted. It was due to capitalists and to the public in general, that this should be done, for it might prevent unnecessary expenditure or other inconvenience.


said, that the subject had not been recently brought before the Admiralty. The choice of a packet station rested with the Treasury and not with the Admiralty: the Admiralty were only applied to in such a case, for the opinion of professional men, as to the eligibility of such and such a point for a packet station. It was not very probable that a packet station would be established either at Valentia or Bantry Harbour; if any such station were to be established at all on the Irish coast, it was likely that the site would be at Cork, which was more advantageously circumstanced than either of the other places.

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