HC Deb 15 February 1836 vol 31 cc429-31
Mr. Poulett Scrope

rose to move for leave to introduce a Bill for the relief and employment of the poor of Ireland. He did not intend to go into the general question. He was happy to perceive the almost unanimous opinion that seemed to prevail as to the necessity of the introduction of some Poor Law for Ireland. He was gratified that an authorised inquiry into the condition of the poor of that country had taken place. He had never doubted what the result of such an inquiry would be. Statements of the most heart-rending character, as to the distress that prevailed amongst the poorer classes in Ireland, were contained in the Report of the Commissioners which had been laid upon the Table of the House. He would very briefly state the heads of the Measure he wished to introduce. He did not wish to interfere with any plan that the Government might intend to bring forward. He merely wished to offer this measure as a suggestion on the subject, and in aid of the intentions of the Government, and in the hope that some of its provisions might be thought worthy to be embodied in their plan. His object was, to introduce into Ireland a provision similar to that of the 43rd of Elizabeth. He was also desirous of introducing the principle of centralization, and he wished that the local machinery should be superintended by a central Board. He proposed the establishment of a central Board to meet in Dublin, with power to Regulate the union of parishes, to establish the union of particular districts, the poor to be relieved by a rate on property in each particular union. He would propose that settlement and removal should be regulated similarly to the amended Poor Law of 1833. He would propose that guardians of the poor should be appointed, that some means should be provided either for assisting emigration or giving employment to the able-bodied poor, to be administered under the control of the Central Board of Commissioners, in the same manner as was provided by the amended Poor Law Act of 1833. He merely asked the permission of the House to introduce the same Bill as he had brought forward in the last Session of Parliament. He wished, in conclusion, to express a hope that some practical measure on this important subject would speedily be brought forward by the Government; and he begged to ask the noble Lord whether the Government expected to be in possession of the final Report of the Commissioners in sufficient time to enable them to introduce a Bill in the course of the present Session.

Viscount Morpeth

was understood to say, that he had no objection to the Motion of his hon. Friend, and he thought, as there were so many Bills on this subject, it would be well that the House should have the opportunity of considering them. In reply to the question of his hon. Friend he was happy to assure him that the Government were in daily expectation of receiving the final Report of the Poor Law Commissioners, and they hoped to be able to offer to the House a practical measure on this subject in the course of the present Session.

Mr. O'Connell

was exceedingly glad to hear that expression of the noble Lord, With respect to the measure proposed by the hon. Member, he considered it would be utterly impossible to provide employment for the people at the public expense. If individual capital could not be employed with sufficient interest for that purpose, it was impossible to think that the public should pay the wages of the labourer. The difficulty with regard to the 43rd of Elizabeth was, that it provided for the support of the able-bodied. He would respectfully suggest to the hon. Member to separate the two branches of the proposed measure. That for the relief of the poor and destitute, which was the important part of the measure, from that which provided for the employment of the able-bodied, and which he considered to be perfectly visionary.

Motion agreed to.