§ MR. T. A. DICKSON
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he is now able to name a day for the Second Reading of the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors on Sunday (Ireland) Bill?
§ MR. O'SULLIVAN
I beg to ask if the right hon. Gentleman has seen by the papers of yesterday that the following was proved in public Court at Dundee on Saturday last: —That on the previous Sunday the Artizans' Club in that town admitted 510 men and seven women, and sold 298 glasses of whisky, 1,200 bottles of beer, and 18 gallons of draught porter;and whether the right hon. Gentleman, as First Lord of the Treasury, thinks it fair that the sale of spirituous liquors should be transferred from those who pay licence duty to those who pay none?
The Question of my hon. Friend behind me has been supplemented by the Question of the hon. Member opposite. I will answer that Question first, and I will divide it into two parts. The first part refers to a statement in the Irish papers, which I have not seen, as to a considerable quantity of liquor dispensed on the Sunday in the place mentioned. That appears to me not to be so much a matter for Question to me as for the speech the hon. Member may be inclined to make on the Sunday Closing Bill. Then he went on to ask if I thought it was fair that liquor should be thus sold in clubs instead of being sold by publicans, who were bound to pay duty? I think that also is a topic well suited for any discussion that may take place on the Sunday Closing Bill. With regard to the Question of my hon. Friend behind me, we put the Bill on the Orders for to-night, with the hope of reaching it if the debate on the financial proposals of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer 472 should not last a very long time. If it does not come on to-night, we should give it a place on the Orders for 2 o'clock to-morrow, after the Bills of my hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General, in respect of which we have no reason to suppose the debate upon them will occupy any considerable time.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said, he should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, as the supreme authority, whether he was aware that nine out of ten of the Irish Members preferred that preference should be given to the Education (Ireland) Bill and the Purchase of Estates (Ireland) Bill, upon which they were agreed, over this measure, which was one of an exceedingly contentious character, and one viewed with comparative indifference by the vast majority of the people of Ireland.
Considering that the measures to which the hon. Member for Galway refers are not yet before the House, I could hardly say that we would be justified in not availing ourselves of any opportunity that might offer for proceeding with the Sunday Closing Bill. I have agreed to take the Estates Bill soon after Easter, and I still hope to redeem that promise.
§ MR. MAURICE BROOKS
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether, having regard to the fact that the persons whom it is proposed to enfranchise are those who for the most part will be affected by Sunday closing, he would defer the consideration of the Sale of Intoxicating Liquors on Sunday (Ireland) Bill until the new constituencies shall have had an opportunity of declaring their opinion regarding it?
§ MR. SEXTON
rose to a point of Order, and asked whether the hon. Member could put a Question which contained matter of an argumentative character? He considered that the statement—Having regard to the fact that the persons whom it is proposed to enfranchise are those who for the most part will be affected by Sunday closing,came within the Standing Order dealing with the point.
said, he might tell the hon. Member for Sligo (Mr. Sexton) that he was accustomed, from day to day, to see what he might term, he hoped, without offence, an "insinuating preamble," intended to draw out 473 information in the shape of admissions which, could not be directly made, and it occurred to him that a very slight attempt of that character had been made in the Question of the hon. Member for Dublin (Mr. Maurice Brooks); but, answering the Question directly, he did not think it would be right on any ground to postpone the Irish Sunday Closing Bill till the Franchise Bill was disposed of.