§ Mr. PATRICK MEEHAN
asked why the Privy Council have decided that the new bridge to be erected in the city of Water-ford is to be constructed of ferroconcrete, seeing that the Vice Regal Commission appointed in connection with this undertaking reported that ferroconcrete was unsuitable for the bridge at Waterford; and whether the Commission so reporting consisted of an eminent lawyer as chairman, three county surveyors having large experience outside their duties as county surveyors, the fourth engineering member being the most able and experienced in Ireland for this special work, and unanimously condemned ferroconcrete and recommended a steel structure?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Waterford Bridge Commission was constituted as stated. The Commissioners recommended and submitted plans for a steel structure, but expressed no opinion in their report as to the merits of ferroconcrete. Appeals were received from all the counties interested (with the exception of Tipperary, North Riding) objecting to the plans and specification for a steel bridge adopted by the Commissioners on the grounds that such plans were too elaborate and that to adopt them would be attended with unnecessary cost. At the hearing of the appeals before the Committee of the Privy Council all the contributory bodies were represented by counsel and many expert witnesses were examined. All the parties interested, including the Waterford Corporation, agreed on urging that a ferroconcrete instead of a steel bridge should be erected, and the Committee, after hearing their views, decided in favour of a ferroconcrete structure.
§ Mr. PATRICK MEEHAN
asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that the representatives of the contributory area to the cost of the new bridge at Waterford, including the counties of Kilkenny, Tipperary, Queen's County, and Wexford, got no opportunity of considering the Report of the Vice Regal Commission; whether the only recommendation 1913W from the city of Waterford in favour of ferroconcrete was founded on misconception and misrepresentation; whether, having made further inquiries into the merits of ferroconcrete for bridge construction, the Corporation of Waterford, by twenty-five votes to eight, condemned ferroconcrete and requested the Privy Council to sanction a steel structure; whether, seeing that this resolution of the corporation was unanimously approved by the Federated Trades and Labour Union of the city, and in view of the practically unanimous objection to ferroconcrete steps will be taken to have the recommendation of the Vice Regal Commission carried out?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
A copy of the Report of the Commissioners, with specifications, plans, and estimates, was duly sent to each contributory body in accordance with the Statute. Seven out of the eight bodies concerned appealed against the Report of the Commissioners. These appeals were heard before the Committee of the Privy Council. All the contributory bodies were represented by counsel at the hearing, and had an opportunity of expressing their views, when it was decided, with the consent of all parties, that the bridge should be of ferroconcrete. A resolution was subsequently adopted by the Corporation of Waterford to the effect that they were strongly of opinion that a ferroconcrete bridge would not be a suitable structure. This resolution was submitted to the Committee of the Privy Council, who declined to alter their recommendation in favour of ferroconcrete. The Order directing the construction of a ferroconcrete bridge has been passed by the Privy Council, which has the entire power and responsibility in the matter, and there is no intention to reopen the question.