HC Deb 23 July 1891 vol 356 cc208-10

Considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clause 6.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

(12.37.) MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)

Perhaps the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland will say what he thinks of this and the subsequent clauses.


said that his objection to the principle of the Bill was limited to the clause dealing with the Church surplus.

Question put, and agreed to.

Clause 7 agreed to.

Clause 8.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."


This is a very important clause. The whole structure of the Labourers' Acts since 1883 has been erected on the basis of voluntary action on the part of the Boards of Guardians. I am very far from saying that Boards of Guardians have always justified the confidence placed in them by law; but I do not think clauses of this kind should be allowed to pass in silence under this clause; the Inspectors of the Department will become the controllers of the rates of the Unions. Of course, if the Attorney-General for Ireland says that inquiries which the Irish Government have made hare convinced them it is requisite that the powers of the Boards of Guardians should be superseded to this extent, and that the voluntary action on the part of the Board should be supplemented by compulsory action on the part of the Government Department, I am not disposed to offer any opposition, but I think the measure is a strong one.

MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)

This clause is taken from the Public Health (Ireland) Act. The power will be exercised by the Central Authority when the Local Authority do not use the power vested in them. I may say that there is now in the North of Ireland considerable irritation caused by the refusal of the Guardians to act. There is every safeguard. The Inspectors are first to be satisfied, and it is not likely they will take a very violent view in opposition to the Guardians, and the Local Government Board are to be satisfied that there is reasonable ground for overriding the action of the Board of Guardians. I do not suppose that the compulsory powers will be frequently used; but the Guardians, feeling there is this power behind them, will be more inclined to consider representations favourably. The effect will be that of which there has been experience in the working of the Allotments Act in England, where compulsory power has not been used, but the fact of its existence has induced voluntary action. I admit the clause is drastic, but I think it is justified by the precedent in the Public Health Act.


No doubt it is a somewhat drastic clause, and I think there is one respect in which it requires alteration. I was about to propose an Amendment—


The question has been put "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."


On the Report stage I will propose to change the word "shall" for "may." That, I think, will remove the objection. The Local Government Board will not be bound by the mere fact of the Inspector having reported to take action, but may do so where they really think there is default.

Question put, and agreed to.


I had intended to propose a clause providing a method for applying the money, but as we are not to have the money this is useless.

Clause 9 omitted.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered on Monday.