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County Kildare History and Heritage

Gordon Bennett Motor Race 1903

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Leinster Leader, Saturday 28 February 1903 -Page 3.


In the House of Commons on Monday night, Mr. James O’Connor asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether, in view of the desire in Ireland that the International Automobile Race should be run in that country, and considering that the local councils through whose districts the cars will speed were prepared to take every precaution for the safety of life, he would introduce a bill to enable the competitors to hold the race in Ireland.

Colonel Saunderson: Before the right hon. gentleman answers this question may I ask whether His Majesty’s Government is aware that this is one of those rare occasions on which the Irish people are at one (cheers) – and taking that into consideration, whether the Government will not give a favourable reply to the question?

The Chief Secretary: In reply to the supplemental question just addressed to me I believe that my hon. and gallant friend is today speaking for the whole of Ireland. (Cheers and laughter). I understand that a bill has been drafted and introduced by Mr. Scott Montagu, and in view of this unanimous desire, which is shared by all the local bodies representing the districts through which the proposed route will run, and by all the members of Irish constituencies without distinction of party, I may venture to express the hope on the part of the Government that such a bill may be regarded as non-controversial.

Mr. P. O’Brien: Will the Government make the bill their own?
The Chief Secretary: I do not like to contemplate the possibility of those not directly interested in Ireland opposing a bill brought forward with the unanimous support of the Irish members. I still hope that it may pass by consent. No one can be interested in opposing it.