§ MR. E. M'HUGH (Armagh, S.)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he has read the paragraph in The Irish News announcing that the Insurance Companies doing business in Belfast have raised the premiums as much as 50 per cent. on all fire insurances effected since July last; if he will ascertain from the companies why the Belfast merchants and traders are compelled to pay these enormously high premiums, which are in many cases over 100 per cent. higher than traders in Dublin and other towns have to pay; whether he has any information concerning the reason Belfast is the only city where the average clause is in force; and if ho will use his good offices with the companies to induce them to put Belfast merchants on the same footing as traders in Dublin and other parts of Ireland, or at least to revert to the old rates and not to impose this additional tax on the Belfast traders, especially as the City Authorities are about to expend £30,000 in procuring the newest appliances for extinguishing fires?
§ MR. MUNDELLA
I understand that the Insurance Companies have raised their rates in Belfast because they did not pay; but the Board of Trade has nothing whatever to do with insurance rates.