Ceisteanna.—Questions. Oral Answers. - Control of Sluice Gates.

Mr. Lynch (for Mr. McGilligan)

asked the President if control of the sluice gates at Beleek has, with the approval of the Government, been handed over for a period to a local authority in the Six-County area; if so, for what period is this outside control to continue, on what conditions has it been approved; what is the purpose of this experiment; if the property in question falls within the scope of Article 11 of the Constitution, and if it is now being controlled and administered by the Oireachtas.

I am informed that the Drainage Board which controls Lough Erne drainage has obtained the services of an engineer, nominated by the Northern Ireland Government, to operate the sluice gates in question for an experimental period, which, I understand, is not to exceed two years. I have no information as to the conditions under which this arrangement was arrived at. The Drainage Board, which is a body created under the Drainage and Improvement of Lands (Ireland) Act, 1863, and consists of nine representatives from Fermanagh and two from Cavan, is the authority charged with taking steps necessary to maintain the drainage works in a state of efficiency. The Government cannot interfere unless the Commissioners of Public Works are satisfied that the Drainage Board have failed to carry out their statutory duty of maintenance. The sluice gates are the property of the Drainage Board, and do not fall within the scope of Article 11 of the Constitution.

Who nominates the two Cavan representatives on the Drainage Board?

I could not say at the moment. I shall get the information later for the Deputy.