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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 25 Mar 1969

Vol. 239 No. 6

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Maintenance of Monaghan Bridges and Roadways.


asked the Minister for Finance whether he intends to incorporate in the next Transport Bill provision for compensation to the Monaghan County Council for its maintenance of overline bridges and roadways thereon, left by the Lagan Navigation Company when they closed the Ulster Canal in County Monaghan in 1930.

It is not possible at this stage to say whether such a provision will be included in the next Transport Bill. If Monaghan County Council wish to make a submission on this matter, it will be carefully considered.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware of the endless confusion and difficulty arising on almost every front in County Monaghan as a result of continued doubt about the title to the abandoned land of the Lagan Navigation Company and will he, for a variety of reasons, take legislative steps to bring this abandoned land into Government ownership so that it can be used effectively for the benefit of the community?

I am aware that the situation is a very complicated one, legally and otherwise, and that it creates many difficulties in Monaghan. As has been said in the reply, if Monaghan County Council, or any other responsible person for that matter, has submissions to make about this, they will be very carefully considered.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware of the absurd situation arising out of the fact that Monaghan County Council claim that there were rates due of about £300 from the Lagan Navigation Company before it went into liquidation some times in the 'Twenties; that, as a result of this dormant claim for a minimal quantity of arrears of rates, nobody will take the responsibility for the land and that there is now a large stretch of land passing through County Monaghan on which nobody can build a school, a house or do anything else? Is the Parliamentary Secretary further aware that we had actually approved the building of a secondary school in Monaghan but that we could not build it because nobody owned the land and the Department of Education would not give a grant to a person who had a defective title and the Board of Works would not give title for fear they would admit on their part that they were liable for the £250 which Monaghan County Council claimed from them in 1926?

Why did the Deputy not fix it up when he was in Government? Was it not clear enough when the Deputy was Minister?

No, it was not. I was in the process of drafting a Bill to take it over. I am asking the Minister to implement the Bill which I was in the process of drafting. The Deputy ought to have more sense and ought to know about this problem—as do the Minister for Transport and Power and other members of the Government generally. Will the Parliamentary Secretary consider a short Bill to take this over?

I shall convey the Deputy's remarks to the Minister. In referring to the various anomalies that arise in this connection, Deputy Dillon has over-simplified the situation. It is extremely complicated—from my short reading of the Minister's brief. It may not be extremely simple, as Deputy Dillon seems to suggest.

A short Bill will settle the whole thing.

I am certain that if there were a simple way out of these difficulties, the Minister would see it.