§ Mr. GINNELL
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland how many persons the Congested Districts Board now employs in connection with the fishing and preservation of the River Ownea and estuary and their aggregate yearly wages; where those persons were on the 22nd June last, when Mr. Micks himself found it necessary to pursue poachers who had taken a quantity of fish, the property of tenants and the Board; whether the Board has got the testimony of an independent witness that one of the principal poachers is a person still in the Board's employment; whether the Board has deprived the tenants claiming the fishing rights of the turf bogs they have enjoyed for more than twenty years, and transferred those bogs to the Board's 746W agents; whether the Board still insists upon signature by the tenants of a clause in the purchase agreements surrendering the rights they have hitherto enjoyed; whether the Board will consent to send an impartial representative to the district to confer with the tenants as to the purchase by them of the fishing and game rights and as to the future economical management of the fishery; and whether the Board is prepared to vest in the tenants whose holdings abut on the River Ownea and estuary below Glenties Bridge all the fishing and game rights hitherto enjoyed by them jointly with the Marquess of Conyngham on their signing agreements to repay the full amount advanced by the Board to the Marquess for those rights, with interest, in the usual manner?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
One manager and thirteen watchers are employed by the Congested Districts Board in connection with the fishing and preservation of the Ownea river and estuary at yearly wages totalling £444, and during the netting season temporary employment in the estuary is found for twelve boatmen at a cost of £75. Mr. Mick's visit, of which the circumstances are not correctly represented by the hon. Member, was for the purpose of making arrangements for the discharge of the duties of the manager who was ill. On that occasion Mr. Micks saw the watcher at the part of the river which he visited. Letters have been received from one of the objecting tenants making allegations against one of the persons in the Board's employment. The Board have not deprived any tenant of a right to cut turf, but within their rights as landlords they have pointed out places where turf is to be cut for fuel.
With regard to the last three parts of the question I would refer the hon. Member to my previous replies of the 10th and 29th ultimo which set out the attitude of the Board and their willingness to discuss any reasonable proposal on the part of the riparian tenants for the transfer of the fishery to them.