In a recent Wexford Corporation meeting, presided over by Mayor Benjamin Hughes, tensions flared over the ongoing debate surrounding the proposed amalgamation of the Waterford and Limerick Railway with the Great Southern and Western Railway and the Midland Great Western Railway. The controversial issue sparked discussions on the need to prioritize local interests over national concerns, as well as calls for a complete reevaluation of Ireland’s railway and canal policies.
During the meeting, the Town Clerk read a letter from the secretary of the General Council of Delegates of Irish County Councils held in Dublin last December. The letter enclosed a resolution passed by the council that asserted the proposed railway amalgamation should not be referred to any Select or Hybrid Private Bill Committee in the Parliament. Instead, it urged the appointment of a government commission to investigate the overall state of railway and canal policy in Ireland.
Mayor Hughes, however, expressed apprehension about delving into the matter, fearing it might interfere with the current railway scheme within Wexford county. Alderman Furlong disagreed, counter-arguing that the interests of all Ireland needed to be considered, even if it had a potential impact on local projects like the Rosslare scheme. Furlong went on to advocate for the nationalization of Irish railways as the only proper solution to address such concerns fairly.
Despite Furlong’s perspective, the mayor maintained his stance on prioritizing Wexford first, saying, “Wexford first and the rest of Ireland after,” which was met with laughter from those present at the meeting. Alderman Hadden chimed in, emphasizing the magnitude of the Rosslare and Fishguard scheme and highlighting the difficult balance between local and national interests in Ireland’s railway system.
As discussions on the matter continued, it became clear that finding a comprehensive solution that caters to both local and national concerns would not be an easy task. In the meantime, the debate over the Limerick amalgamation and broader Irish railway policy will likely continue to spark tensions in various governing bodies, as they wrestle with the need for infrastructure development that supports the welfare of the entire nation without hampering local progress.
Irish Independent – Tuesday 06 February 1900