HC Deb 11 April 1918 vol 104 cc1682-3W

asked the Postmaster-General whether representations have been made to him, or by him to the Admiralty, as to the necessity of extending a patrol-boat guard daily and nightly to the Irish mail boat; whether he is aware that on three recent occasions this boat had narrow escapes from being torpedoed; whether, owing to the practical closing of the North Wall service, this route is now the principal one used for military and civil traffic between England and Ireland; and, if so, will he now direct that in future at least one torpedo-destroyer do accompany the Irish mail boat in future on both day and night service?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to answer this question. I understand that certain representations received by him have been forwarded to the Admiralty. As regards the second part of the question, reports of being missed by torpedoes have been received from vessels belonging to the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company on three Occasions within the last month. I am not aware of the grounds for the assumption that the North Wall service is practically closed, and, as regards the last part of the question, it is not in the public interest to state what measure, of protection is being, or is going to be, afforded to this traffic; such information would be of the greatest value to the enemy, but my hon. Friend may rest assured that the best possible protection with the means at our disposal has been, and will continue to be, given to this and all other traffic.


asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Government has yet considered the advisability of having none but daylight sailings to and from Ireland; and if he will cause instructions to be issued for every boat to carry at least six rafts, and that the lifeboats shall be unlashed the moment they leave the quayside?


For the answer to the first part of the question I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty on Thursday, the 21st March. With regard to lifeboats, rafts, and other appliances on the Irish cross-Channel passenger steamers, I may say that the Board of Trade are in communication with the owners of these vessels with a view to effecting improvements in their life-saving arrangements generally.