HC Deb 08 February 1856 vol 140 cc493-5

Order for Second Reading read.


said, he did not rise to oppose the second reading of the Bill, but he would beg to ask the Government not to name too early a day for going into Committee, for the measure was one on which Irish Members would wish to have the opinion of their constituents. Every gentleman connected with Ireland, or who had any knowledge of Ireland, was aware that the Irish people had peculiar feelings with regard to the burial of their deceased relatives and friends, and had a very strong attachment to the places where those relatives and friends were interred. Under these circumstances he trusted that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland would accede to his suggestion. He thought that some day after Easter would be soon enough for going into Committee.


said, the Bill was one upon which the Government were very anxious to have the opinion of the country. That part of it which related to the shutting up of old burial-grounds was the same that was passed last Session, and was sent to the House of Lords. It stopped there because there was no provision in it for opening new burying-grounds. He had no objection to postpone going into Committee until after such time as would enable the people of Ireland to consider the measure.


said, he believed that, according to the law as it now stood, the majority of the people of Ireland could not bury in their own parish churchyards with any prayer or religions ceremony without the permission in writing of the Protestant incumbent of the parish. Practically speaking, that amounted, in a vast number of instances, to an absolute impediment to the burial of those who professed the faith of a large proportion of the people of Ireland in their own parish churchyards. It seemed to him that that difficulty might easily be obviated. The majority of the people of Ireland, like members of the Established. Church, desired that their friends should be buried in consecrated ground, and the churchyards in Ireland—or most of them, at least— were, in the estimation of the Catholic people as well as the Protestants, consecrated ground. They would not have the least objection to their friends being buried in those places whore the Protestant churches stand, if they were not obliged, before they could have any ceremony, to obtain the written permission of the Protestant clergyman. That was exceedingly unpleasant to apply for, although he was bound to say that he did not know of any instances in which it had been churlishly refused, or in which unreasonable conditions had been attached to it. Still there was a feeling upon the matter, which was frequently strong enough to induce them to abstain from applying for the permission. If Catholics were allowed to inter within certain hours that might be obviated. It might be done after the services in the parish church were closed, so that there might be no conflicts of any kind. He trusted some clause providing for that matter might be introduced into the Bill.


said, he did not see any objection to the principle of the Bill, but there were many of the details—such as the increase of rates and the shutting up of old burial-grounds without compensation—to which he could not agree. The Bill was only delivered to Members on the previous day, and he thought the second reading should not have been pressed on so soon. He was very anxious to consult his constituents upon it, although he did not see that the Bill involved any objectionable principles. He would consent to the second reading upon condition that the whole subject might be debated, on the Motion that Mr. Speaker do leave the Chair for the purpose of going into Committee.

Bill read 2°.