§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Sir Robert Peel.)
§ MR. GEORGE
said, he thought that in common fairness the Bill ought to be postponed until the Finance Committee had made their Report, He objected to the Bill. Optional modes of taxation were practically obligatory, and he much feared that the guardians would put in force the power of superannuation. The permissive form of the Bill was simply delusive, and he strongly maintained that this measure should be postponed until the Bill of the hon. Member for the King's County (Mr. Hennessy) had come before the House.
§ MR. POLLARD -URQUHART
also urged that further time should be given for consideration of the Bill on the ground that this was not a time for unnecessarily increasing the burdens of Ireland.
§ MR. BAGWELL
said, that this was not the only Bill before the House for increasing the burden of Irish taxation, and supported the recommendation for postponing the present measure. The Poor Law Commissioners would not practically act as a corrective of unnecessary superannuation. He would limit the superannuation to men after twenty years of service, but should like to do away with superannuations altogether as leading to improvidence on the part of expectant recipients.
§ MR. HENNESSY
said, the House had over and over again decided in favour of the superannuation principle, which had worked admirably. If he had any objection to the Bill it was that it did not go far enough. He hoped the Bill would have the support of the majority of Irish Members.
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
said, he believed the principle of superannuation was now universally admitted. He should have preferred his former Bill, because it dealt with the subject in a more liberal spirit; but after the course of legislation in England he did not see how they could refuse to apply the 1908 same privilege to Ireland. He had received from almost every Poor Law Union in Ire-land recommendations that it should be proceeded with. He had before consented to postpone the Bill for a week to meet the convenience of the Irish Members, and he thought it his duty now to press the second reading to a division in order to test the feeling of the House on the subject. A more fair, just, and equitable compensation could not, he believed, be devised for persons who had devoted all their time to the services of the unions.
§ LORD JOHN BROWNE
thought it was right to give pensions to Poor Law Officers of the various Unions in Ireland, but he thought that this Bill was not so good a Bill as that which was introduced two years ago. He thought that the certainty of a pension, as was proposed to be given under the former Bill, would enable them to get a good class of officers; but under the present Bill the granting a pension was made optional, and he did not think that the mere chance of a pension would have that effect. The first clause of this Bill defined the officers who were to receive pensions as those who devoted their whole time to the business of the union. This would shut out most of the clerks of the Boards of Guardians, which would have an injurious effect. He should vote in favour of the second reading of the Bill, but he hoped that in Committee the first clause would be altered so as to include the clerks of unions.
did not see why there should be so much objection to this Bill. He thought, however, the Bill should include the clerks of unions and the medical officers.
§ MR. BLAKE
said, if this Bill were read a second time, there was nothing to prevent the pensions of the clerks and medical officers being hereafter thrown on the Consolidated Fund. He thought the Bill would have this good effect, that it would induce many old officers to retire, who were unable from age effectively to perform their duties.
§ MR. MAGUIRE
supported the Bill, and was glad to see the right hon. Baronet pressing on the House so useful a measure.
said, he was ready to let the Bill pass the second reading, but he hoped it would he rendered intelligible, and that the Committee should be put off to a distant day.
§ MR. HASSARD
asked, if the medical officer devoted his spare time to following the practice of his profession generally, he would be excluded from the benefit of the Bill?
§ SIR ROBERT PEEL
said, in answer to the questions put to him, that the Bill related to servants of unions who had devoted their whole time to the service; that included the master, the mistress, the schoolmaster, and the paid nurse. Those officers who had not devoted their whole time to the duties required of them would not receive superannuation. In reply to another question he begged to say that, if desired, he should not object to introduce a clause giving superannuation to officers who were incapacitated by infirmity.
§ Question, "That the Bill be now read a second time," put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read 2°, and committed for Tuesday next.