§ Mr. FETHERSTONHAUGH
asked the Secretary to the Treasury what amount of money was actually paid by the Road Board in the years 1911 and 1912, respectively, for road improvement in Ireland; how much in each of those years was by way of Grant and how much by way of loan; what is the estimated amount to be paid in 1913 by way of loan and by way of Grant; docs the Board grant usually 75 per cent. of the cost of works of road improvement in England and only 50 per cent. in Ireland; and will the Board consider the desirability of making more liberal Grants in the case of poor counties, such as Mayo, Sligo, Galway, and Leitrim, where in many cases the local councils have already exceeded their limits of expenditure and yet are unable to bring their roads up to modern requirements?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
The Road Board have indicated to individual highway authorities in Ireland Grants aggregating £144,236 and loans aggregating £25,030. 1007W The Grants and loans made in the years ending 31st March, 1911 and 1912, with the approval of the Treasury, totalled as under:—
1911—Grants … £51,968 Loans … Nil. 1912—Grants … £32,006 Loans … £9,376
The sums paid in these years under Grants and loans amounted to:—
1911–Grants … £18,848 Loans … Nil. 1912–Grants … £24,265 Loans … £3,721
The Board are considering the allocation of a further £100,000 for road improvements in Ireland, but before making further Grants the Board desire to have certain technical advice as to the roads on which moneys can most advantageously be spent, and in order to obtain such advice they have appointed an advisory committee of Irish road engineers, who are carrying out an inspection of a considerable mileage of Irish roads. Within the limits of the funds available, the Board generally make a Grant of 75 per cent. of the ascertained net improvement cost of an approved work, or, in the case of Ireland, 50 per cent. of the total cost. Highway authorities in Ireland generally prefer to take 50 per cent. of the total cost, as this, in most cases, results in a larger Grant. As regards the counties referred to in the question: In the case of Mayo, the Board sent an engineering inspector to assist the county council in formulating a scheme and in preparing estimates, specifications, and plans for the improvement of the Ballina-Belmullet road, and they intimated to the county council that they were prepared to make a Grant of 90 per cent. of the total cost of the necessary works upon the section between Ballina and Crossmolina. The Board are waiting to hear from the county council with regard to the arrangements for carrying out the work, and they understand that the work on the section above referred to will be commenced shortly. In the case of Sligo, the Board have made Grants aggregating £3,020 and loans aggregating £5,610, and have indicated further Grants of £3,925 and loans of £6,215. In the case of Galway, the Board have made a Grant of £4,700. The question of further Grants is waiting the result of a report on an inspection of certain roads. In the case of Leitrim, the Board have made a Grant of £1,700, and have indicated a further Grant of £1,000.