HC Deb 11 August 1885 vol 300 cc1855-6

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Attorney General for Ireland.)


said, under Clause 4 of this Bill the Lord Lieutenant would have power to appoint three Commissioners for the purposes of the Act; but he thought that would be too small a Board to efficiently discharge the duties to be entrusted to it. The number, he thought, should be increased to five. Power was proposed to the Commissioners under Clause 5 to transfer endowments for elementary education to the management of the Commissioners of National Education, and he took the opportunity of saying he should oppose any such transfer of power. The Commissioners of National Education used the powers they had badly, and no funds available under this Bill should be applied by them. If necessary, let the Board of National Education have an inspecting power; but he believed its existence would be a short one, and soon determined. He should certainly make his objection to this part of the clause in Committee.


said, it was very late, and scarcely worth while to proceed with the second reading of an important Bill. Some of his Friends from the North of Ireland had strong objection to the Bill. Would not the Government defer consideration of the Bill to a time when there would be a better attendance of Members than could be expected at half-past 3?


said, he was very much surprised at the statement of the hon. Member, that some of his Friends entertained strong objection to the Bill, because he had been assured that the late Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Walker) and other Members from the North of Ireland were strongly in favour of the Bill and anxious to bring it forward. As to what had been said by the hon. Member for Sligo, he had to say that he had placed an Amendment on the Paper for Committee, by which the number of Commissioners would be increased to five, and also an Amendment to the 5th clause omitting the power of transfer to the National Boards.


said, while offering no opposition to this stage of the Bill, it was right he should express the opinion that the Bill could by no means be accepted as a settlement of the question with which it dealt. Though they might allow the Bill to pass this year, Irish Members thought it right to guard themselves from allowing it to be supposed that they accepted it as a settlement of grievances such as that in connection with the Swords School. It was necessary something should be done to stop such scandals; and in allowing the Bill to pass now he guarded himself against any admission that this was the closing chapter of the controversy. It was not surprising that the position of the Bill should be unknown to the hon. Member for Donegal (Mr. Lea) and his Friends, seeing the way in which they discharged their Parliamentary duties. The Bill had been twice passed by the House of Lords, last Session and this Session, at the instance of the late Government; and of course, had they now been in power, the hon. Member for Donegal would not have ventured an objection to the Bill.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for To-morrow.