§ Mr. DONNELLY
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether, having regard to the importance of the work of industrial reconstruction in Ireland, he is aware that the existing high railway goods and passenger fares tend to hamper and paralyse trade and transit development as well as inflicting an impost on the travelling public no longer justified by war exigencies; and whether, in these circumstances, he will take steps to forthwith restore the fares to their pre-war rates?
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
I am fully aware of the objections to high goods rates and passenger fares, but I fear that in view of the present position of the railways in the United Kingdom I cannot hold out any hope of an early reduction either of rates or fares, the former of which have not been increased to any considerable degree generally.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he has now completed his investigations into the action of the railway companies in Belfast in increasing the fares of the weekly tickets issued to working men since resumption after the strike; whether it is a fact that on one railway in particular the increase in fares amounts to 14s. per 418W week; whether this action on the part of the railway companies is a breach of the Defence of the Realm Act; and whether he will take steps to have this grievance removed and the former conditions restored?
§ Mr. BRIDGEMAN
I am in communication with the Irish Railway Executive Committee on this matter, but I am not yet in a position to give a definite reply on the subject. I will do so as soon as I can.