HC Deb 17 September 1886 vol 309 cc925-8

Resolutions [16th September] reported.

Resolutions 1 to 5, inclusive, agreed to.

Resolution 6 read a first and second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

MR. M. J. KENNY (Tyrone, Mid)

On this Vote I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) two questions—namely, if any information has come into his possession recently in regard to the action of the Land Commissioners in instructing their solicitor to proceed against certain glebe purchasers in Ireland for arrears which the Land Commissioners knew the men could not pay; and, also, if he can see his way to include the case of the glebe purchasers within the purview of the inquiry which is about to be held into the condition of agriculture in Ireland? All the glebe purchasers in Ireland are very anxious that the scope of the inquiry should be so extended as to include their case.


I have no information as to the first question of the hon. Member (Mr. M. J. Kenny). As to the second question, I may say I have already been in communication with some Gentlemen, Members of this House, who have interested themselves on behalf of the glebe purchasers; but I do not see how the case of the glebe purchasers could come within the purview of the inquiry. They are not tenants, but owners under the provisions of the Irish Church Act. They do not come under the Land Act of 1881, into the operation of which the Commission is to inquire. For that reason I do not see how their case can be inquired into.


Is it not possible to extend the scope of the inquiry?


No; not to include their case. I think I have already said, in answer to a Question, that I will look into the matter, and see whether anything can be done to improve the position of these purchasers.


The right hon. Gentleman has said these men are not tenants, but owners; they can, however, be ejected.


They are there in the position of mortgagees.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolutions 7 and 8, severally, agreed to.

Resolution 9 read a first and second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."

MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)

In consequence of the answer I received earlier in the Sitting from the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach), I desire to raise the question of the accommodation of certain Presbyterian prisoners in Ireland. Of course, I wish to acknowledge the courtesy of the right hon. Gentleman. I am quite certain the statement he made in reply to my question must have been put into his hands by the officers whose conduct is complained of. It is a fact that eight Presbyterian prisoners were sent from Belfast to Kilkenny Gaol in the month of June, and not only were they there denied the services of the Presbyterian minister at Kilkenny, but every effort made by the Kilkenny Presbyterian minister to see the prisoners was objected to by the officer in authority. In short, the men were denied the ministrations of their own clergymen. It is no answer to say that six of the prisoners expressed themselves satisfied with the ministrations of the Episcopalian clergyman. There is another point to which I would like the Chief Secretary to direct his attention, and it is that the Presbyterians have no representative on the Prisons Board—they have very little representation on any public Board in Ireland—and as the Member for a constituency largely Presbyterian I think it well to say there is a very bitter and strong feeling growing up on this question. I should like some assurance from the Chief Secretary that during the Recess he will look into the matter. The right hon. Gentleman did not answer the last part of the question I put to him earlier. I asked him to say if care will be taken in future that such a thing as occurred at Kilkenny will not happen again, and that Presbyterians will not be sent to prisons where they are denied the right to the ministrations of their own clergymen. It does not follow, because the Presbyterian Church furnishes so few prisoners, that prisoners of that persuasion ought to be neglected in the matter of religious ministrations.


I sympathize with the hon. Member (Mr. T. W. Russell) in the complaint he has put forward. I have myself known cases in which Roman Catholic prisoners have been refused the ministration of clergymen of their own Church. In matters of this kind we are quite as ready to speak in the interest of Episcopalians as we are in the interest of members of our own Church; and, therefore, I express a hope that the Government will see that when Presbyterian prisoners are removed from Belfast to places like Kilkenny, the Presbyterian minister there shall be allowed to have reasonable access to the prison.


I can assure the hon. Member that there is no desire to prevent reasonable access being had to prisoners by the clergymen of the Churches of which they are members, and the matter shall not be lost sight of.

MR. BIGGAR (Cavan, W.)

I think the Presbyterian ministers have far more favours shown them than is desirable. I know that those gentlemen do not give any ministerial services unless they are paid for. If the minister in the neighbourhood has any zeal for his religion, one would think that he would attend prisoners without a special payment. Perhaps the case could be met by making a capitation grant.

Question put, and agreed to.

Remaining Resolutions agreed to.