§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)
I beg to move the Second Reading of this Bill. The object of the measure is a very small one; it is merely to remedy a defect of a technical nature in the Act now in operation in Ireland. There is very great difficulty in obtaining suitable sites for dispensaries, and the Bill is to give greater facilities in that direction.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Macartney.)
§ DR. TANNER (Cork, Mid)
I really think that we should have had some opportunity of considering this Bill before the Second Reading was proposed. At any rate, courtesy might have prompted the promoters of the Bill to have put it before the members of the medical profession. Personally, I have not heard one word in favour of the Bill from any of my professional colleagues in Ireland; and if the measure is intended to benefit the sick poor, who are better able to offer an opinion upon it than the man who has to look after the poor? I certainly take issue with the hon. Member when he says that the Bill is to afford greater Facilities for the provision of dispensary louses in Ireland. Such places can be provided without any Bill of this kind. I should like to know from one or other of its promoters whether the operation of the Bill is to be limited entirely to Belfast and to the North of Ireland? At any rate, in order to give hon. Gentlemen an opportunity of explaining the matter properly, I beg to move that the Bill be read a second time this day six months.
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary)
I beg to second the Amendment, and also to protest against the manner in which the Bill has been introduced. There is a good deal in what my hon. Friend has said. It may very truly be said that the Bill has been sprung on the House. We have had no proper explanation of the provisions of the Bill. We on this side of the House are quite prepared to support any measure that has for its object the acquiring of land for the purpose of carrying out with greater facility the object of the Dispensary Law, but the hon. Member (Mr. Macartney), in moving the Second Reading, said the Bill was for the purpose of rectifying a technical error in the law as it already stands. Did he point it out? How do we know that such a technical error exists? It is preposterous to expect that Irish Members will support a measure introduced in such a manner.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
I did not wish to take up the time of the House when I moved the Second Reading of the Bill, but I admit the objections hon. Members opposite have taken call for some reply from rue. The Bill was not brought in in the interest of any part of Ireland particularly, but the circumstances which have led me to introduce the Bill have occurred in that part of the country with which I am more familiarly acquainted than, perhaps, hon. Members opposite. The Dispensary Board of my Union have been unable to acquire land for the purpose of a dispensary because there is no land available, and I have introduced this Bill for the purpose of enabling the Dispensary Boards not only in the North of Ireland but in all parts of Ireland, to acquire land exceeding 60 years' tenure. No political or sectarian considerations are involved, and therefore I hope hon. Members will not hesitate to agree to the Second Reading.
§ MR. BIGGAR (Cavan)
There is one great reason why I am disposed to look upon questions affecting the administration of the Medical Charities Act in Ire- 1116 land with suspicion, and it is that the ratepayers are always involved in extravagant expenditure. I know a case in which, while the amount spent on the support of paupers was £500 in the year, the payments made under the Medical Charities Act exceeded £500. I do not see any justification for laying out public money on buildings under the Medical Charities Act if—
§ MR. BIGGAR
In many parts of Ireland there is now an agitation to consolidate Poor Law unions. If such consolidation takes place, surely the old Poor Law buildings could be easily utilized for any purposes connected with the Medical Charities Act.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
rose in his place and claimed to move "That the Question be now put;" but Mr. SPEAKER withheld his assent and declined then to put that Question.
§ And, it being midnight, Mr. SPEAKER rose to interrupt the Business.
§ Whereupon Mr. MACARTNEY rose in his place, and claimed to move "That the question be now put;" but Mr. SPEAKER withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Debate to be resumed upon Monday, 1st April.