HC Deb 21 February 1888 vol 322 c1121

Motion made, and Question proposed, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to assimilate the rating qualification of the Municipal and Parliamentary Franchise of the borough of Belfast."—(Mr. De Cobain.)

MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)

said, the bon. Member would have very little chance of carrying a measure of this limited character, and he would advise him to acquire the support of Irish Members by not confining the operation of the Bill to Belfast. The evil of such a course was strongly felt last year in reference to a Belfast Bill passed under very peculiar circumstances, whereby a Bill intended for all Ireland was cut down to a single borough. The Irish Members were now free from any entanglements with the Tory Party or Members of that Party such as went on last year, and, so far as he was concerned, he would oppose the Bill and block it, though he was not in the habit of blocking Bills—to prevent a single town like Belfast, a town specially remarkable for riots and loss of life, from being in possession of the English franchise when it was enjoyed nowhere else in Ireland. He would respectfully ask the hon. Gentleman, whom he recognized as a sincere Democrat though sitting on the Tory side, not to proceed with the Bill in this form, but to leave out reference to Belfast and bring in a Bill assimilating the Municipal and Parliamentary rating in the whole of Ireland.

Motion agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. De Cobain, Mr. Esslemont, Mr. O'Neill, and Mr. Fenwick.

Bill presented, and read the first time. [Bill 138.]