HC Deb 15 February 1877 vol 232 cc454-8

Order for Second Beading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Sir Michael Hicks-Beach.)


said, he was glad that the Irish Bill was on the same lines as the English measure, and that it would put an end in Ireland to a system that had long been in operation. The Grand Juries there appointed a Board of Superintendence, the composition of which was of a character he would not enter upon, but it was that Board who had the charge of the prisons. He should, however, like to know why the appointment of the visiting justices there should not be made as in England by quarter sessions, and why the powers to be given were not the same as those extended to the English visiting justices. Taking the case of the county of Cork, he ask how was it possible to carry on the administration of justice if there were only one prison? The distance to which prisoners would have to be sent was as much as 50 miles, which was very objectionable.


objected to industrial schools being placed under the same management as the criminal establishments. He hoped the Chief Secretary would see his way to removing that objectionable feature, but in other respects he considered the Bill an excellent one.


said, that one of the Inspectors of County Prisons in Ireland happened also to be Inspector of Industrial Schools, and bearing that in mind it had occurred to him that there was no reason why the same duties now performed by that gentleman should not be performed by others. It was, however, he admitted a question quite open to discussion. He had left the appointment of visiting justices in the hands of the Grand Jury, because there was no meeting of the magistrates in Ireland at all analogous to that of the quarter sessions in England. As to another point, whether power should not be given to visiting justices to nominate persons to subordinate positions, it was a question which might be fairly discussed in Committee, and if then any practical method of introducing such a provision into Ireland could be shown, all he could say was that he would look upon it favourably. The hon. Member for Cork (Mr. M'Carthy Downing) spoke of the inconvenience arising from sending prisoners remanded for a few days to the county gaols. He was quite aware of the inconvenience, and he did not intend to inflict it upon the country. The Bridewells would be retained as the lock-up was in England, and for the same purposes, and accommodation would be provided in the different districts for remand cases. He hoped the second reading would pass, and details be dealt with in Committee.


had hoped to hear an intimation that the rights of the Dublin Municipal Council in this matter would be respected.


expressed it to be his intention to vote for the second reading, although he looked upon the Bill as containing some objectionable provisions, and as tending rather too much in the direction of centralization. It had the merit, however, that it would relieve the people of Ireland of a very considerable amount of taxation.


said, he thought the proper way to deal with the question would be to improve the Grand Jury system rather than interfere with the principle of local self-government. He did not think there would be any great saving when they came to put the measure into operation; and with regard to the mode of employing prisoners, he urged the necessity of caution in that matter, especially considering the outcry that was being raised against the interference of prison labour with the outdoor trades.


thought the Irish Members ought to pause before they expressed entire approval of the Bill. At the same time, opposition to it from them might be misunderstood in Ireland, where it was generally supposed that the measure would relieve the county ratepayers from considerable burdens. He would have preferred that the Bill should be delayed for a month or two, so as to give time to the Irish people to understand thoroughly its provisions. He confessed that he was in a difficulty with regard to the measure, but he certainly did not like its principles so far as it affected the question of local self-government. With regard to the reformatory schools that had been referred to, that was an important matter, and he hoped a clause would be introduced during the progress of the Bill by which those institutions might be freed from the opprobium of being regarded in the same light as the prisons of the country. The industrial question was also one that required grave consideration; and he thought that in any general rearrangement of the prisons system of Ireland, the matter should not be overlooked by the Government. There was no doubt the agencies established for the sale of prison-made articles had been a serious injury to the artizans who were engaged in the manufacture of same goods. He thought the Irish people ought to consider very carefully whether the benefit they would derive from the Bill would be commensurate with the evil results it would bring about.


said, he could state from his own sad experience that he had suffered more in one month's im- prisonment in the prison of his own county than he had in seven months in the Government prison of Mountjoy, Dublin. From time immemorial the principle he suffered under had prevailed, and for that reason he supported the Bill. During the months he spent at Mountjoy he was not insulted or persecuted. Prisoners there were treated in a very different way. His own experience, therefore, afforded a good reason for the amalgamation of prisons in Ireland. Another reason why he would support the Bill was, that he regarded it as a measure of economy which would give relief to the ratepayers.


moved the Adjournment of the Debate. He did not believe in the kind intentions of the Government after their conduct the previous night in putting up officers on the very front bench to talk against time.


seconded the Motion.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned." (Major O' Gorman.)


could not admit there had been any talking against time on the occasion referred to, and he trusted the hon. and gallant Member would not persist in his Motion. The debate had proceeded very fairly; all the hon. Members who had spoken had been more or less favourable to the Bill; and if the hon. and gallant Member for Waterford had any arguments to advance against it he was sure the House would gladly listen to him.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 5; Noes 199: Majority 194.

Main Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read a second time.


hoped the Committee would be put off for some time, as the people in Ireland knew nothing about the Bill, and hon. Members would shortly have to attend the Grand Juries at the Assizes in Ireland.


thought the business of the nation should be attended to before the local affairs of counties in Ireland, and thus the attendance at the Grand Juries was no reason for postponing the Committee.


stated that the Committee would not be taken till after the Committee on the English Bill.

Bill committed for Thursday next.

  2. c458
  3. GUN LICENCE ACT (1870) AMENDMENT BILL. 43 words