CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - ATHENRY-SLIGO RAILWAY.

TOMAS O CONAILL

To ask the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware of the very great hardship which exists in Tuam and the surrounding neighbourhood, owing to the difficulty of getting food and other commodities into the town, consequent on the closing down of the railway and the destruction of road bridges; whether the railway line from Athenry to Tuam and Sligo has been closed down for three months, and over 300 men thrown out of employment, in consequence of such closing; whether it is true that the railway has ceased to operate because of the stoppage of a Government subsidy which had hitherto been available; whether it is not a fact that the only obstacle to traffic on this line between Athenry and Tuam is a broken bridge at Crumlin, which the railway employees assert could be repaired in a day or two at most; and whether, in view of the great benefits which the re-opening of this section of railway would confer on the general community as well as on those railwaymen now unemployed, he will get into communication immediately with the Great Southern and Western Railway Company, or take such other steps as he may deem advisable and necessary to secure the immediate opening-up of this line for regular traffic.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

(replying for the Minister for Industry and Commerce):— It is a fact that there have been serious interruptions of railway and road communications in the Tuam district, but it is because of these interruptions and not of the withdrawal of any Government subsidy that the railway cannot at present be operated. I am in communication with the Great Southern and Western Co. in order to expedite repairs, and also with the Military Authorities, since the extent to which it is practicable to carry out repairs largely depends on what protection can be afforded.

TOMAS O CONAILL

Can the Minister state if a subsidy to enable the railway to keep working for three days weekly was withdrawn. Has the Minister any knowledge of that?

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I have no personal knowledge of it. I will take a note that the deputy asked a supplementary question, and ask the Minister for Commerce to write you on the matter.