HC Deb 25 February 1896 vol 37 cc1084-5

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury—(1) when the Select Committee upon Government Printing Contracts will be re-appointed, when will they commence their sittings, whether they will ask for evidence from Ireland as well as England and Scotland, and whether they will be instructed to report before the contracts which fall in this year are renewed; and (2) whether he intends to take steps to redeem his promise to the deputation which waited upon him in Dublin Castle last December, that the printing for all Irish Government Departments should be printed by the Queen's Printers in Ireland?


In reply to a question put in this House on the 20th June, 1895, my predecessor stated that the terms of the reference to the Select Committee already included all Stationery Office printing contracts whether in England or Ireland, and that there was no objection to including in the Inquiry the printing contract of the National Education Commissioners. I think that his reply covers the first sentence in the hon. Member's question. I quite agree with the hon. Member that it is desirable that the proposed Committee should report in good time before the existing contracts expire, but I am not sure that it would be wise to limit them to a fixed date. As regards the last paragraph of the question, I find that under the existing practice all Irish papers over which the Stationery Office has any direct control—namely, all Departmental papers, and all papers presented by Command—are, as a matter of course, printed in Ireland. The only exceptions are the comparatively few and short papers which are delivered in manuscript to the House, moving for them, and are then ordered by the House to be printed. These are sent by the officials of the House direct to the printer holding the contract for printing ordered by the House. The hon. Member will understand that I have no direct control over these papers, but I will consult with the officials of both Houses as to whether the Irish papers could be sent to Ireland in future.