§ MR. MACALEESE
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he is aware that the Belfast Water Commissioners obtained powers from Parliament to take certain lands in the townland of Oldpark, parish of Shankhill, county Antrim, and served the requisite notices on owners and occupiers of land in 1896, and that Mr. Ryan, the arbitrator, held his first court in 1899, but has not yet made his final award; whether he is aware that Mr. Ryan in one case awarded £2,000 more than the owner of the property claimed, and that in other cases his awards were below the value of the lands as sworn to by the Water Commissioners' valuers; and whether he is aware that in consequence of the delay in the publication of the final awards the owners and occupiers have suffered loss, as they have been obliged to pay the rent of their holdings, and debarred from developing or disposing of their lands, and can he state how the appointment of Mr. Ryan as arbitrator was made, and when the final award will be delivered.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I understand the facts are as stated in the first paragraph. The Board of Public Works have no knowledge as to the matters alleged in the second paragraph. If the parties are aggrieved at the award of the arbitrator it is open to them to enter a traverse at the assizes. Nor have the Board any information as to the matters referred to in the first part of the last paragraph. The appointment of the arbitrator was made by the Board of Public Works. In the case under the Belfast Water Act of 1897, in which the arbitrator was appointed in February, 1899, it is understood that his final award 968 is in print, and will be lodged in the course of a week or two. In the case under the Act of last year it cannot be stated when the final award will be delivered.