I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, if he would explain in what respect, if funds were available, a guarantee from the Treasury would be illegal in the case of the proposed line of railway from Castlerea to Ballaghaderreen, whilst it has been found to be legal in the case of the Ballinrobe and Claremorris, Loughrea and Attymas, and Mitchelstown and Fermoy Railways; in what respect do these latter lines differ in construction from the heavy main lines in connection, with which they have been built; and, whether, in order to clear up any legal doubts upon the matter and allay anxiety as to the legality of the guarantee in reference to the three lines mentioned, he will submit a case to the Irish Law Officers or other counsel, asking their opinion on the several orders made regarding them, as well as upon the alleged illegality of the line now proposed to be constructed?
The Orders in Council of the three lines specified in this Question as being analagous to the Ballaghaderreen line, prescribe that the weight shall not exceed eight tons on any pair of wheels, that the maximum speed where the line is more than 30 feet from the centre of the public road shall not exceed 25 miles an hour, and that in other cases it shall be less. Such limitations would be at variance with the stated requirements of the Midland Great Western Railway Company for the proposed Ballaghaderreen line. The lines in question differ from the heavy main lines in various respects, such as having steeper gradients, sharper curves, and lighter ballasting. I do not see any necessity for submitting a case to the Law Officers, as suggested by the hon. Member.