HC Deb 22 April 1825 vol 13 cc125-6
Sir H. Parnell

presented a petition from the Butter-makers of Doonane, in the Queen's County, praying for a repeal of the laws for regulating the Butter Trade of Ireland.

Mr. Hutchinson

hoped, that if a committee were appointed to investigate this subject, due notice of its formation would be given, so as to afford those who were interested in the trade an opportunity of stating their sentiments.

Mr. Grattan

said, that the abuses in the trade appeared to be so great, that he hoped a committee would be appointed in the present year to examine the evil, and to recommend measures for its correction.

Sir G. Hill ,

was of opinion that no new measure should be adopted respecting this trade, without a very serious and extended inquiry.

Mr. S. Rice

said, that the subject might be full y discussed, without altering the law this session.

Mr. L. Foster

felt that the subject was one of deep importance. If any alteration were made it the law, it ought to be preceded by a vary minute inquiry.

Sir J. Newport

said, he had no objection to inquiry; but, in his opinion, it ought to take place at the commencement of next session. If the examination were now set on foot, it would have a great effect on the exportation of butter. Day after day the price of that article would be influenced by the evidence given, or the statements made before the committee.

Sir H. Parnell

said, that the corrupt practices carried on under the butter act were a most severe infliction on poor and industrious people. Complaints were particularly made of the butter-tasters. It had been represented to him, that those persons were often induced to neglect their duty for a bribe; that they sometimes attended to perform their functions in a state little short of intoxication; and that they often decided on the quality of the butter, not as it really deserved, but in proportion to the emolument which they were to reap from their corrupt practices. He had inquired into these points; and had found the allegations well-founded. In one instance, five guineas had been given to the wife of a butter-taster to induce her husband to certify that butter of second quality was of first quality, that it might be exported in this fictitious character. Parliament were called upon to inquire into this subject; and he could see no reason why that inquiry should not commence now.

Mr. C. Grant

said, that ministers were quite ready to go into the committee, either in this, or the next session.

Ordered to lie on the table.