§ On the Order for the Second Reading of this Bill,
MR. T. M. HEALY
thought this was the first occasion on which so remarkable an event had occurred as that this Bill should be moved at twenty-five minutes to five in the morning. He would not, however, at the present stage, divide against the Second Reading. He found that in 1893, the hon. Member for South Tyrone took the strongest exception to the renewal of the Arms Act, and on Monday, when they came to the consideration of this question in Committee, he should be happy to ask the hon. Member to follow him into the lobby, and he was sure the fact that the hon. Member was now "paid" would not deter him from doing so. In 1874, Mr. Butt took exception to the renewal of certain expiring laws of a coercive character, and Sir S. Northcote gave certain promises as to the position of the Conservative Party on the subject. When in that year Sir Stafford Northcote, who was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, promised that in future no coercive legislation should he carried for Ireland in the shape of expiring laws, it naturally filled them with hope that when the Conservative Party came into office they would not attempt in future to carry such coercive legislation. The then Irish Chief Secretary was the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he gave effect to the promise of Sir Stafford Northcote by bringing in, the following year, the Peace Preservation Bill. To-morrow, when they came to the consideration of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, he should ask the Conservative Party to carry out the pledges given by Sir Stafford Northcote and the then Irish Chief Secretary. The law as to arms, which the Government desired to include in this Bill, was ineffective, for whenever a gamekeeper of a noble lord desired to shoot at a cyclist he was always able to get the necessary arms to carry out his purpose. It would be his duty to move the striking out of the schedule relating to the Arms Act from the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill. He was glad to see that the Glebe Loans Act was renewed by the Government in this measure, and he would ask the right hon. Gentleman to 1373 consider, with regard to this question, the present high rate of interest charged for loans under that Act, with a view to seeing whether the interest could not be reduced, having regard to the present condition of the money market. He was aware that the Treasury had been anxious to drop this Glebe Loans Act, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would be no party to dropping it out of the schedule of the Expiring Laws Continuance Bill, but would continue the policy of making these loans, which, at a time when money was dearer than it was now, had been the means of giving some satisfaction to certain classes of the population in Ireland.
§ Bill read 2°.