§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that complaint has been made to the Board that the steam launches ferrying for hire between Omeath, county Louth, and Warrenpoint, on Carlingford Lough, do not exhibit notices as to the number of passengers they are licensed to carry; can he state what the maximum number is; has this complaint that the launches are overcrowded, especially on Sundays and holidays, been investigated; and, if so, with what result, and will any steps be taken to prevent the public safety being endangered by overcrowding or by these launches taking crowded row boats in tow across the lough.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
Yes. Sir, the Board of Trade have received certain complaints with regard to the steam launches to which the hon. Member refers. These launches hold Board of Trade certificates, authorising them to carry respectively a maximum number of sixty-five, thirty-eight, and thirty-one passengers. In one case it is stated that the certificate has not been exhibited on board, as required by the Merchant Shipping Act, and the question of prose- 452 cuting the owner or master is under consideration. No case of overcrowding the launches themselves has come to the notice of either the Board of Trade or the local police, or proceedings would have been taken, but I shall communicate with the local authorities and with the owners of the launches with a view to stopping the objectionable and dangerous practice I understand to prevail of launches full of passengers towing crowded rowboats across Carlingford Lough.