§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN (Kilkenny)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether, in view of the fact that there is now before Parliament a Bill promoted by the Great Southern and Western Railway Company, which proposes to amalgamate under that Company certain other railways and give that company an absolute 1227 monopoly of all the railway systems in thirteen counties of Ireland, comprising about half that country, he will procure and have laid upon the Table of the House a Return of all rates and fares chargeable by the Great Southern and "Western Railway Company at present for passengers and the various classes of merchandise, agricultural products, minerals, stock, and all other classes of goods to all places in Ireland and Great Britain?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE (Mr. C. T. RITCHIE,) Croydon
It would be quite impossible to lay upon the Table a return of all rates and fares actually charged by this Railway Company. There are, no doubt, hundreds of thousands of rates contained in hundreds of huge rate books distributed through the country. The maximum powers of charge can, however, be ascertained and will be found in the Acts of Parliament relating to the Company. I would refer the honourable Member to a Return presented to Parliament in 1888 and to the Railway Rates and Charges No. 26 (Athenry and Ennis) Order Confirmation Act, 1892.
§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN
Arising out of the at answer, is the right honourable Gentleman aware of the fact that at present the Government is represented in the Clearing House at Dublin, and cannot they get the information from their representative before it is decided to give half of Ireland into the hands of monopolists?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE
The honourable Member is mixing up other points with his Question. In his Question he asks whether I will lay a return of rates on the Table of the House. I have told him that, as this means a return of hundreds of thousands of rates, it is quite impossible to give it him.
§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN
I hope the Chief Secretary will take notice. I intend to question him on the subject.