§ MR. D. MACALEESE (Monaghan, N.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether it has come to his knowledge that, all things counted, borrowers from the Irish loan banks pay close upon 40 per cent. interest for their loans; that the Aughnacloy Petty Sessions Court is frequently blocked by a plethora of small debt summons brought against borrowers by the proprietors of the loan fund existing in that town; if he can state the number of seizures at the instance of this loan society the police assisted at from the 1st of January, 1895, till the 30th of April, 1896; what amount of remuneration the police received in addition to their ordinary pay for attending these seizures, and what proportion of 739 this remuneration, if any, was paid by the loan society; and, what provision is made for the discharge of ordinary police duties when the constabulary are drafted in bodies to assist in executing the decrees of this loan society?
§ * MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The rates of interest legally chargeable by loan fund societies working in connection with the Loan Fund Board are defined by the 6th and 7th Vict. cap. 91, Section 27 of which prescribes a rate of 4d. in the £ for 20 weeks on loans payable by weekly instalments. This amounts to less than 5 per cent., and I am unable to see how this figure of 40 per cent. in the Question is arrived at. The loan fund cases at Aughnacloy Petty Sessions take up very little time, and I am told that no inconvenience has ever been caused to the Court by the hearing of such cases. The police were present at five seizures made at the instance of this society during the period mentioned. They received no remuneration in addition to their ordinary pay for attending these seizures. No inconvenience either to the police or to the public has been caused by the attendance of the police at the execution of magistrates' warrants issued at the suit of this loan fund society.