HC Deb 13 February 1871 vol 204 cc235-6

, in moving for leave to bring in a Bill to assimilate the Law for the relief of the poor in Ireland to that of England, by substituting Union Eating for the present system of Bating by Electoral Divisions, said, as he understood a Committee was to be appointed to inquire into the subject, he would not press the second reading of the Bill until after the Committee had reported.


said, that if the hon. and learned Gentleman had not made that announcement he should have felt it his duty to take the unusual course of opposing the introduction of the Bill, the only object of which was to relieve some rich men, landlords, and towns from certain burdens and spread them over the rural districts of Ireland, to the disadvantage of the enormous majority of the inhabitants. The hon. and learned Gentleman seemed to ignore the fact of the existence of the head of the Poor Law Board (who was a Member of the Cabinet), a Secretary to the Poor Law Board, and of a Chief Secretary for Ireland, and wished to take any alteration entirely out of their hands. He was quite satisfied that a full inquiry would prove that the hon. and learned Gentleman was quite in the wrong. It was a great mistake to speak of there having been any assimilation of the Irish to the English system, for the former carefully avoided all the errors of the latter; and the introduction of Union rating would not assimilate the two systems. When a question had been submitted to and decided by a Committee of the House, as this question had been, the House ought not hastily to overturn the decision of that Committee. The inquiry was made in 1861; there was a division in the Committee on this question; the voting was 10 to 3; and the names of the 10 showed that this was not a party question, for they were Mr. Monsell, Mr. H. Herbert, Mr. John Browne, Mr. George, Mr. Gregory, Sir Edward Grogan, Lord Naas, Mr. Quin, Mr. Cogan, and himself. Under these circumstances, he decidedly objected to an attempt to effect an alteration by a side-wind.


said, that, but for want of time, it was the intention of the Government last Session to propose a Committee of Inquiry upon this question, which was one of considerable importance, was by no means so clear as the noble Lord opposite (Lord C. Hamilton) seemed to suppose. It was a very proper subject of inquiry which the Government intended to promote. The terms of the Motion of last year, which he should move shortly, were— That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the operation of the present area of rating within Poor Law Unions in Ireland, with a view of ascertaining whether such area of rating might with advantage be extended. He did not think the case had been so fully decided upon as the noble Lord wished them to believe. The Committee which investigated the subject of the Poor Law in Ireland did not devote any great part of its time to this particular point, and some of those who were most able to give an opinion on the working of the Poor Law in Ireland were very much in favour of the proposal now made. In agreeing to the Motion of the hon. and learned Member (Mr. M'Mahon), he expressed a hope that time would be allowed for the Committee to finish its labours before the Bill was put down for a second reading.

Motion agreed to. Bill to assimilate the Law for the relief of the poor in Ireland to that of England by substituting Union Rating for the present system of Rating by Electoral Divisions, ordered to be brought in by Mr. M'MAHON, Mr. DOWNING, and Mr. STACPOOLE. Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 18.]