HC Deb 02 July 1890 vol 346 cc611-4

As amended, considered.

(5.10.) MR. JOHNSTON (Belfast, W.)

I hope the House will be good enough to allow the Third Reading of this Bill.

MR. CHILLY (Mayo, N.)

I am sorry to do anything to obstruct the passage of this Bill, but to my mind it does not go quite far enough, and I therefore propose to move the omission from Clause 3 of the words "whose whole time has been devoted to the service of such asylum." Now, this Bill proposes to impose taxation on the country for the benefit of certain classes of people connected with lunatic asylums, but it does not include clergymen or doctors who attend to the unfortunate inmates of these institutions. I cannot see any reason for such exclusion, and, therefore, I move the Amendment, the adoption of which will secure the end I have in view, while it will leave it with the Governors to decide whether a clergyman or a doctor, who has spent many years among these poor creatures in asylums, shall have a superannuation allowance. I hope the hon. Member in charge of the Bill will accept this Amendment.

Amendment proposed, in page 1, lines 11 and 12, to leave out the words "whose whole time has been devoted to the service of such asylum."—(Mr. Crilly.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

(5.14.) MR. JOHNSTON

This matter has been discussed on previous occasions, and though I agree with the hon. Member that there is much to be said in favour of the proposal, yet I cannot accept the Amendment, because those who give only a portion of their time to the service of an institution cannot be said to stand on the same footing as those whose whole time is devoted to the work.

(5.15.) MR. CHANCE (Kilkenny, S.)

This Bill is not a compulsory one. It merely gives the Board of Governors power, under certain circumstances, to give increased pensions. I think the minimum of service is 15 years, and it strikes me that the surgeons and chaplains who hold the appointments in these institutions would never come within the scope of the Bill, for they do not put in anything like 15 years' service. Their average runs from five to eight years. Now, the object of the Bill is to assimilate the law in Ireland to that in England. In the latter country pensions are not given to those who only render partial or casual service, and if, by this Amendment, you introduce a new disparity into the law, you will defeat the purpose of this Bill.

(5.18.) MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)

I am not disposed to agree with the arguments of the hon. Member who last spoke. In my opinion, if you deviate from the law of England in this respect you will set an example which may be followed hereafter in England with very beneficial results. I do not see why a clergyman who has spent 15 or 20 years in such a service as this should not be entitled to a pension. I think it grossly unjust to exclude such cases. I am in entire sympathy with the objects of the Bill, and have no wish to delay it passing into law, but I do think the Amendment should be accepted, and, if it is, I have no fear that the House of Lords will take it upon themselves to throw out the Bill.

(5.20.) MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)

I hope that my hon. Friend will press this Motion to a Division, and I do think the hon. Member for South Belfast ought to assent to so reasonable a proposition. If it is carried it will remain within the discretion of Boards of Governors either to grant or to refuse superannuation allowances in these cases. The present state of law presses very hardly upon Roman Catholic clergymen. Again, many doctors who have but a small private practice, remain for a long period of years attached to asylums, and render very valuable service. Why should they not be entitled to superannuation allowances? I know, too, a case in which a Roman Catholic clergyman, attached to a large district asylum, complains that the salary he at present receives is not sufficient to cover his car hire. This man is performing onerous and responsible duties at an actual pecuniary loss to himself; he has occupied his post for many years, and yet this Bill will disentitle him to a pension. Surely if one class of officials attached to an asylum is entitled to a pension all classes should be put on the same footing.

(5.25.) MR. STOREY (Sunderland)

This is a Bill providing for additional superannuations, and the object of the Amendment is to enlarge the scope of the measure still further. To judge from the discussion which has been going on for the last half hour, one would think that hon. Members of this House were in favour of using public money for this purpose. Now, I am utterly opposed to the whole principle of this Bill, and I shall vote not only against the Amendment, but also against the Bill itself. This money is to be taken out of the pockets of the ratepayers of Ireland, and what control, I will ask, have the ratepayers over the Grand Juries, which will have the distribution of it? Apart from the general question, when we come to the specific Amendment I think we English Radicals have a right to feel annoyed that that should have been pro- posed. One has good reason to object as a matter of common sense, I mean Parliamentary common sense, which is very different from ordinary common sense.


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 the Question.

Debate resumed.


I am obliged to the hon. Member. What is the question before the House? It is a common sense proposal to give superannuation allowances only to those who have given the whole of their time and their duties in connection with the asylums.


The Bill comes from the other side of the House.


Then I withdraw the compliment I was about to pay the hon. Member. I cannot understand a proposal to superannuate a man who has been only partially engaged.

*(5.30.) MR. SPEAKER

Order, order!

It being half-past Five of the clock, the Debate stood adjourned.

Debate to be resumed to-morrow.