Page 23, line 41, after 'council' insert 'and council of a county borough.'"—(Mr. M. Healy.)
§ MR. M. HEALY (Cork)
Do I understand that I have the assurance of the right honourable Gentleman that the section includes the council of a county borough?
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Page 24, line 6, leave out from the second 'of' to end of sub-section, and insert 'four shillings a week, or one half of such net charge whichever is most.'" (Mr. Macaleese.)
§ MR. MACALEESE (Monaghan, N.)
The object of this Amendment is to make the section run, "of four shillings a week, 134 or one hall of such net charge, whichever is most," instead of "one half of such net charge, or four shillings a week, whichever is least."
§ Question put.
§ Amendment negatived without a Division.
Page 24, line 7, leave out from 'charge' to end of sub-section."—(Mr. Serjeant Hemphill.)
§ MR. SERJEANT HEMPHILL (Tyrone, N.)
I do not know whether the right honourable Gentleman approves of this Amendment. Its object is to leave out from the word "charge." to the end of the sub-section, which would then run thus: "throughout the period of maintenance for which the sum is calculated, and one half of such net charge."
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Page 24, line 12, leave out 'poor rate made and levied,' and insert 'amount required to be raised.'"—(Mr. Gerald Balfour.)
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The object of this Amendment is to secure that a grant of this kind shall be payable, not merely where the poor rate is insufficient for the purposes of the contributions to any railway or harbour, guarantee one half the excess of over 6d., but that it shall extend to the whole sum required for the purpose.
§ MR. J. O'CONNOR (Wicklow, W.)
I was going to ask the right honourable Gentleman whether there is any reason for excluding Bray from this section. 135 The expense of building Bray harbour did not fall on the county cess, because the local Act compelled them to make a special harbour rate. This harbour rate has nothing whatever to do with any other township rate. It is kept apart from the accounts of the council, and is entirely a separate transaction, and, therefore, it appears to me to be rather severe upon the township that it should be excluded from the benefit of this clause 42. If the right honourable Gentleman insists upon its exclusion from the benefit of this clause it will lose the 3d. in the £, which, under the clause, it would have received on the excess harbour charge of over 6d. This town will then be brought under the union rating system which is proposed in this Bill, but it must be remembered that the rating of Bray is the lowest in the union in which it is situated. I believe it was last year 7d. in the £, and this year it is 8d.; while in some other parts of the union it is 1s. 6d. in the £. The loss of this 3d. in the £ will be a very considerable sum of money for a town like Bray on a valuation of several thousand pounds, and if it is insisted upon excluding Bray, I think it will be treating that township rather badly. This harbour should not have been built by the people of the town of Bray, but it ought to have been built by the Government. The Fishery Inspector and Harbour Commissioners recommended that a harbour should be built at Bray for the protection of life and property. For a great number of years, prior to its being built, there were a considerable number of lives lost. Since the time I have referred to, there has been no harbour to which the fishermen could escape from the fury of the storm, so that evidently this is a harbour which ought to have been built in the public interest and for the sake of safety along this coast of Ireland. It is objected that Bray has no claim in this respect to a share of the grant under this Bill, but I think we ought to get a further explanation from the Chief Secretary, and some reason why this harbour and this town should be placed in a worse position than the town of Wicklow. The harbour of Wicklow will have a right to the grant under this Bill, and I do not see why Bray should be excluded.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
Sir, this harbour of Bray has been referred to on several occasions as one of the harbours which ought to enjoy the benefit of the grant under this clause, and if it were on the same footing is the other harbours to which my Amendment refers, it would be included of course in those which are to receive a grant under this clause. But the fact is, that it is not of that class of harbour works in respect of which we intended to give assistance under this Bill. Bray harbour is not a harbour within the meaning of clause 41, which we have already passed, and even if the Amendment which stands in the name of the honourable Member were accepted, I do not think it would apply to Bray harbour. The fact is that we never contemplated that harbour charges, hitherto paid out of the poor rate or the county cess in connection with a general improvement scheme, should receive assistance from a grant of public money given under the Public Acts mentioned in section 41, Acts of a similar character which would include Wicklow, but not Bray. As I understand, Bray harbour was constructed not under a public Act, but under a private Act.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I hold that Bray harbour really must be regarded as being under the Towns Improvements Act in the same way as certain other harbours to which I have referred.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I really regret that the right honourable Gentleman should have drawn such a microscopic distinction. I think, if you were to analyse this Bill from top to bottom, you would find that nothing more microscopic has been drawn as to distinctions of areas than the distinction which the right honourable Gentleman has just made. It is so narrow that I could not have recognised it, and even with the aid of the light which the right honourable Gentleman has brought, to bear upon it, I can barely estimate its value. As far as I can see, Mr. 137 Lowther, this is the ground of the distinction drawn by the right honourable Gentleman. If you make a harbour to save the lives of sailors and to save shipping craft, you will get a certain amount of relief under this Hill; but if you build a harbour for those purposes, and in addition have in your mind the facilities it will give to the town as a tourist resort, then you are excluded from the benefits of this Bill. It is the same sea, it is the same stone, they are the same ships in all these cases; but it is the hinterland of the town that makes the distinction. If the hinterland of the harbour happens to be picturesque, then the right honourable Gentleman says it is to be excluded from the benefits of the grant. What a remarkable distinction! What a blessed system to live under! Let us recognise how slender is the distinction on which relief is given. A beautiful place gets no relief, but a squalid place will get relief, and that is the position taken up by the Government. So after all, as I gather. Mr. Lowther, Wicklow may be thankful that it is not a beautiful harbour, and Arklow may rejoice that it is not picturesque, but Bray must remain in sorrowfulness because it is a tourist resort, as well as a harbour of refuge. Now, what are the facts? Again and again unhappy fishermen have found refuge in this harbour of Bray, which was the only place along the whole coastline available to them. The people of Bray, with great, public spirit, undertook the cost of this work, which, to them, was considerable, because it is only a little town, with seven or eight thousand inhabitants, largely dependent upon the summer tourist season. Bray built this harbour. What occurred in a similar case in this country? When the Dover Improvement Act was being passed through this House you actually put into it a provision that Dover might levy a toll of 1s. upon every traveller from London to France; and, although I have no interest in Dover, when I am going to France, which is seldom, I have to pay 1s. for the benefit of Dover Harbour. But the Chief Secretary says this Bill is being passed for the benefit of Ireland as a whole, and this little town of Bray cannot be included. Let me show an additional injustice. What is the fund from which this grant comes? Sir, I 138 have always taken the view that this Measure in many cases was not fair to towns, and it turns out that the fund out of which these charges come is really levied in the towns. Do we not know that most of the retailers of spirits, beer, and sweets live in towns, as do auctioneers, hawkers, house agents, pawnbrokers, and dealers in tobacco, so that the local taxation, with the exception of the taxes of guns and game, is levied upon the towns? It is the money of the towns that you are employing, but when a town like Bray desires to get something of its own—something of its thousands—the right honourable Gentleman says, "Oh, yours is a tourist resort, and you are not entitled to the grant!" I should like to know how the right honourable Gentleman, if he were in a yacht off Bray Head in stress of weather, or during a gale, would like to have the gates of Bray Harbour closed upon him, and to be told he had better lie off, or go down to Wicklow or Arklow, or some other place that will receive grants under this Act. How would the captain of any merchant ship passing by in stress of weather like to be told, "You cannot come into Bray, for this is a place of tourist resort"? Now, Sir, hitherto we have had some sort of argument offered in opposition to our proposed Amendment of this Bill, but this miserable definition which has been drawn as against Bray is the most comical that I think I have ever heard, and it carries the limitation of the grant to a point which I never expected would be reached.
§ SIR T. ESMONDE (Kerry, W.)
I should like to support the Amendment which my honourable Friend has proposed on behalf of Bray, and I think Bray is being hardly treated. I do not know whether there are many harbours in the same circumstances as Bray, but I think that probably there are not, and the right honourable Gentleman would do well to consider whether it would not be possible to enable Bray to obtain the benefit of this Act. Now, the harbour of Bray is just as much a fishing harbour as any other which has been mentioned, and there is no single place, you may say, from Dublin to Waterford, in which 139 there is a convenient place where a yacht might anchor, except Bray and Wicklow. I think, therefore, that it is very hard that the ratepayers of Bray should be taxed for what is really a public harbour. I do not know how much money they have raised, but after all it is a small township, and not one of those wealthy places that can afford to dispense with relief under the grant. I hope, therefore, that the right honourable Gentleman will consider the possibility of making a change in the Bill to enable Bray to get the advantage of the grant under this Act.
§ MR. J. O'CONNOR
I am sorry to say that I think the Chief Secretary has really given a very inadequate explanation of his reason for excluding this harbour of Bray from the benefit of this clause. I remember that when he was replying with reference to this distress in the West of Ireland his usual argument was that the people in the west should be taught self-help and self-reliance. Here is a township which raises a considerable amount of money, to the extent of £100,000, for the purpose of improving the town, to which it invites visitors from all parts of Ireland, and the right honourable Gentleman seems to think that that is the very thing that should cut the town out of this Bill. This is what they get for acting on the principle of self-help and trying to improve the town of Bray, so as to bring it up-to-date as an advanced watering-place, equal to many of those upon the coast of England. That is the most extraordinary way of encouraging self-help that I ever heard of, and I really think that the Chief Secretary should reconsider this matter. I think reason and justice and fair-play will incline him to make some provision for including in the Bill this township of Bray. I see the honourable Member for Belfast opposite, and I am very glad he is in his place, because I think he has considerable knowledge of this township since the time when he was in an official position to know the facts, and I believe he is fully aware of the recommendations which the inspectors of fisheries have made to the effect that this harbour should be supported by 140 public money, and not out of the local rates. Sir, I do not know whether there is another harbour in Ireland which, after spending £100,000, is to be excluded from this grant, but it will be very strange if the Government make this fine-drawn distinction between Bray and Wicklow, and other harbours, and I should be very glad if the Chief Secretary would promise to reconsider the matter.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I have already pointed out that this harbour was constructed as part of a general scheme for improving the town of Bray, and that, therefore, it was very different from the other harbours which are entitled to a portion of the grant out of a public Act.
§ MR. W. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)
May I point out to the right honourable Gentleman that this is no speculation in any sense? The harbour of Bray was made as a public necessity, and, therefore, I trust the right honourable Gentleman will reconsider the matter. I happen to know the locality exceedingly well, and I am aware of the necessity that some such harbour should be provided, in order that there might be some refuge on that coast for the fishing industry. The right honourable Gentleman suggests that this was a private speculation. On the contrary, it was a work undertaken, after the most serious consideration, by the town commissioners as an absolute necessity for the locality. Really, the argument of the right honourable Gentleman is a most extraordinary one, and I trust the contrary arguments brought forward from both sides of the House will induce him to give Bray the benefit of this Act.
§ MR. PLUNKETT (Dublin County, S.)
I do not think the right honourable Gentleman is right in his view that this harbour has been constructed as part of a general improvement scheme, by which, I understand, he means that it was to be constructed partly for harbour purposes and partly in connection with an esplanade and pier. As a matter of fact nothing but the harbour pure and simple was constructed; or, at any rate, 141 that is all that was charged upon the poor rates or the town rates. The town rates are very high, and they will now be considerably increased, and if the town is to derive no advantage from this Bill it will suffer very considerable financial loss. There is no doubt that this harbour was constructed in response to a very widespread public desire for the prevention of loss of life around the coast, and also that it was recommended by the Fishery Commissioners. I think the right honourable Gentleman, if he has seen the Report of the Fishery Commission, will acknowledge that the fishery inspectors recommended that a harbour should be constructed hero for public purposes, and I do think that the case of Bray ought to be reconsidered.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I listened with great attention to the right honourable Gentleman's explanation. He knows all about this matter. He comes down to this House with his mind made up. Amongst the Irish Members there is no difference of opinion, but that does not concern his mathematical mind. He sees some small point to some fine distinction, and if the whole Irish race, at home and abroad, could unite in particular views and in one logical demand, it would have no effect on the mind of the right honourable Gentleman. Our only resource is to put our views on record. The right honourable Gentleman refuses every Amendment for no reasons except such as are apparent to his superior British mind, and we can get nothing in answer to our appeals.
§ SIR T. ESMONDE
I do not quite agree in the view that the right honourable Gentleman had his mind made up, but I think he has not had an opportunity of examining the whole case, and if we now withdraw the Amendment, I hope he will consider the matter before the Report.
§ MR. W. FIELD
I would like to point out publicly to the right honourable Gentleman the fact that in the Report on the sea and inland fisheries of Ireland we find that Bray is absolutely one of the first places mentioned. The Report says, "There is great need for a harbour and fishery pier," and that being the case, I respectfully 142 submit that the right honourable Gentleman is not correct in his statement that this is a private speculation. I repeat that it is a public necessity, required for the use of the fishery and for the safety of those who go to sea, and I beg to press this matter on the right honourable Gentleman's consideration.
§ MR. JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
I should like to join my voice with Irish Members on the other side of the House, although I am not now an inspector of Irish fisheries, thanks to the action of the honourable and learned Member for North Louth.
§ MR. JOHNSTON
Nevertheless, I remember, when I was an inspector of Irish fisheries, taking a great interest in the subject of Bray Harbour, and thinking it was exceedingly desirable. I hope the right honourable Gentleman will reconsider the matter, but I trust we shall not adopt the tone of the honourable and learned Member for North Louth, for if what he wanted was to set the right honourable Gentleman's back up I think he has taken the right way to do it.
§ MR. J. H. CAMPBELL (Dublin, St. Stephen's Green)
I also should like to appeal to the right honourable Gentleman on behalf of Bray Harbour, for its creation has fulfilled a want that had long been felt, as anybody who knows anything of the dangers to which the fishermen and boatmen of Bray were exposed for a great number of yeans would admit. The testimony given before the fishery inspectors satisfied them that it was not a mere local want, but that for the purpose of preserving the lives of those whose business at sea brought them into proximity to the dangerous coast of Bray it was essential that this harbour should be created. It has now been created, and I think it would be a mistake, when we are dealing with other harbours in Ireland, that this exception should be made as against Bray, and I hope the Chief Secretary will say he will again consider the matter.
§ MR. CLANCY (Dublin County, N.)
I wish to say just one word upon this 143 matter. I have not the least doubt that if Brighton or any other similar place in England were in question the Government would give way; and really their attitude on these questions suggests that, as has been already said, they must have a cast-iron programme which cannot be altered even for the sake of shortening our proceedings. It looks very much as if they had no reason to give, for no reason has so far been given for excluding Bray from this Act. It seems to me that the right honourable Gentleman should give an explanation.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I think I have already explained that this harbour has been constructed as part of a general scheme for the purpose of increasing the general attractions of Bray, and that it was not constructed under a public Act as other harbours which are included in this Bill were constructed. The honourable Gentleman opposite has just asked what would be done in the case of Brighton. Well, Brighton was an example which had occurred to my mind, and if a harbour had been constructed at Brighton, forming part of a general scheme for a sea-wall or other improvements, it would be very much in the same position as Bray is in regard to this matter. I am afraid I cannot hold out any hope of giving way in this matter, and I may remind the Committee that when honourable Members from Ireland on both sides of the House get up to press upon me suggestions of this kind they have, of course, been pressed in their turn by those whom they represent, while I have to consider the general question of the disposal of the money which we propose to apply under this Act, and to decide whether it could be better applied than in paying off the expenses incurred by Bray, or any other place, in respect of a town improvement scheme.
§ MR. JOHNSTON
I can assure the right honourable Gentleman that I have not been pressed on this subject, but that I was impressed a number of years ago with the necessity for having a harbour at Bray.
§ MR. SERJEANT HEMPHILL
I do not wish to detain the Committee for any length of time, but as I live near Bray, I desire to join in 144 the appeal to the right honourable Gentleman the Chief Secretary. I cannot help inferring from the last observations he has made that the right honourable Gentleman is under a mistake as to the nature of the harbour at Bray. I can say this, that it is not intended merely to add to the attractions of Bray as a watering-place, but that it is used for commercial purposes, and I frequently see colliers coming into the harbour for the purpose of bringing coal in the merchants and other inhabitants of Bray. It is quite a mistake to suppose that it is purely an ornamental or pleasure harbour. It is there for the purpose of improving a thriving and rising town, and I trust the right honourable Gentleman will give way upon this point. Every Member from Ireland, I believe, is anxious that he should do so, and I can assure him that the construction of this harbour has been a great improvement, to Bray.
SIR R. PENROSE FITZGERALD (Cambridge)
Mr. Lowther, I have not the good fortune like the right honourable Gentleman to live near Bray, but I have the good fortune of not having had any pressure whatever brought upon me to advocate the claims of Bray, and I would point out to the Chief Secretary, or any person in his place, that I have no interest, in the harbour, good, bad, or indifferent. However, I know the harbour pretty well, and I run aware that it is used to land cargoes of coal and of timber, and other articles of commerce. It is hardly of use for yachts, because it is frequently dry at low water. At high water steamboats can run in, but not at low water. In my opinion it is one of the most necessary high-water shelters along the whole of the coast, where there is no other place to run into except Wicklow. I have known in my experience that in heavy gales fishing boats have found a harbour refuge at Bray, which is in very great and frequent use. I think, if I may venture to say so, that it would be wise for the right honourable Gentleman to consider the matter a little further before coming to a final determination. On one occasion I was sailing from Belfast Lough round to the coast of Wicklow, and there was a well-known Secretary to the Treasurer with 145 one or two Irishmen on board the vessel. I remember that when he was in the throes of agony from the undulating motion of the vessel we called him on deck to look at various places on the coast where a harbour would be advisable, and extracted from him some promises on that account, but owing to his imbecile state at the time we did not bind him to them afterwards. I think that if the Chief Secretary would ask that honourable Member he would tell the right honourable Gentleman that Bray was one of the important places pointed our to him at which a harbour would be useful.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
The right honourable Gentleman has just given the Committee an exact view of the state of his mind on this question. He thinks that Irish Members as a whole are persons who are subjected to political pressure and bound in order to catch votes to advocate this particular claim—
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
But I understand that he, in the serene atmosphere of the Irish Office, where it is very difficult to see him, settles this and other Irish questions in racuo, and having surveyed the whole of this question from east to west, and from north to south, has made up his mind that all Ireland is completely wrong in this matter; so that if it were not for the saving grace of having an independent English Irish Secretary the whole country might go to the dogs to-morrow. Apparently he is not under any pressure, but we, being mere slaves to political wire-pullers, are, of course, entirely in the wrong, while he,
§ having weighed the matter in his golden scales, is absolutely right. Now, I have always understood that in this House, when appeals were made to a Minister—at any rate English appeals—from both sides of the House, it was unusual for the Minister to continue to hold to his own opinion, even although he might feel that he was right, unless there was some point of principle involved. Four Irish Conservative Members have got up on that side of the House and have made appeals to him, and a number of Members of all parties on this side of the House, have got up and appealed to him, but the right honourable Gentleman remains immovable and impregnable. I venture to say that if this were an English Bill, or a Bill dealing with the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, or any other part of Her Majesty's dominions, English opinion would be able to make itself felt, and no Minister would venture upon any ground to take up the attitude which the right honourable Gentleman has done, in this matter. But it is because he conceives himself as a human being superior—having been born in England or Scotland—to any Irishman, and having more knowledge of these subjects than any of us, that be is determined as a sort of political Pope to lay down the doctrine of his own infallibility, which, is practically involved in the statement he has just made to the Committee, and Irish opinion, so far as it goes, is only to be treated with contempt.
That the words "poor rate made and lavied stand part of the clause.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 160; Noes 240.—(Division List No. 112.)149
|Abraham, Wm. (Cork, N.E.)||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Clough, Walter Owen|
|Allan, Wm. (Gateshead)||Burns, John||Collery, Beroard|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Burt, Thomas||Colville, John|
|Austin, Sir John (Yorkshire)||Caldwell, James||Commins, Andrew|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Cameron, Sir C. (Glasgow)||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Crean, Eugene|
|Bayley, Thos, (Derbyshire)||Campbell, J. H. M. (Dublin)||Crombie, John William|
|Billson, Alfred||Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)|
|Birrell, Augustine||Carew, James Laurence||Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)|
|Blake, Edward||Carson, Rt. Hon. Edward||Daly, James|
|Brigg, John||Causton, Richard Knight||Dalziel, James Henry|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Clancy, John Joseph||Davitt, Michael|
|Brunner, Sir. J. Tomlinson||Clark, Dr. G. B.(Caithness-sh.)||Dillon, John|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Leese, Sir J. F. (Accrington)||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh|
|Doogan, P. C.||Leng, Sir John||Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)|
|Doughty, George||Lough, Thomas||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Duckworth, James||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Richardson, J. (Durham)|
|Dunn, Sir William||Lyell, Sir Leonard||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Ellis, John Edward (Notts)||Macaleese, Daniel||Robertson, Herb. (Hackney)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||McDonnell, Dr. M. A. (Qn.'sCo.)||Roche, Hon. J. (Kerry, E.)|
|Evans, S. T. (Glamorgan)||MacNeill, John G. Swift||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||McCalmont ,Mj-Gn. (Ant'm,N.)||Saunderson, Col. Edw. James|
|Fenwick, Charles||McCalmont, Col. J. (Ant'm,E.)||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Field, William (Dublin)||McCartan, Michael||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose-||McDermott, Patrick||Shee, James John|
|Fitmaurice, Lord Edmond||McEwan, William||Sheehy, David|
|Flynn, James Christopher||M'Ghee, Richard||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarsh.)|
|Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.)||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir H.||McLaren, Charles Benjamin||Spicer, Albert|
|Fox, Dr. Joseph Francis||Maden, John Henry||Steadman, William Charles|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||Mandeville, J. Francis||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Mendl, Sigismund Ferdinand||Strachey, Edward|
|Gourley, Sir Edward T.||Molloy, Bernard Charles||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||Morgan, J. L. (Carmarthen)||Tanner, Charles Kearns|
|Hammond, John (Carlow)||Morton, E. J. C. (Devonport)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Murnaghan, George||Tuily, Jasper|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Scale-||Norton, Captain Cecil Wm.||Wallace, Robert (Edinburgh)|
|Hazell, Walter||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Healy, T. M. (Louth, N.)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Walton, J. L. (Leeds. S.)|
|Hedderwick, Thos. Chas. H.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary)||Wayman, Thomas|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||O'Keeffe, Francis Arthur||Weir, James Galloway|
|Jacoby, James Alfred||O'Kelly, James||Williams, J. Carvell (Notts)|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||O'Malley, William||Wilson, Fred. W. (Norfolk)|
|Johnson-Ferguson, Jabez E.||O'Neill, Hon. Robert T.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Joicey, Sir James||Owen, Thomas||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbro')|
|Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Palmer, Sir C. M. (Durham)||Woodall, William|
|Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||Pease, Alf. E. (Cleveland)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||Pease, J. A. (Northumb.)||Younger, William|
|Kay-Shuttlewortk, RtHnSir U.||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Kilbride, Denis||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Kinloch, Sir John G. Smyth||Plunkett, Rt. Hon. H. C.||Mr. James O'Connor and|
|Knox, Edmund F. Vesey||Price, Robert John||Mr. Maurice Healy.|
|Lawson, Sir W. (Cumberland)||Priestley, Briggs (Yorks.)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Bousfield, William Robert||Colston, Chas. E. H. Athole|
|Aird, John||Bowles, Capt. H. F. (Mdsx.)||Compton, Lord Alwyne|
|Allhusen, Augustus Henry E.||Bowles, T. G. (King's Lynn)||Cook, Fred. L. (Lambeth)|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Brassey, Albert||Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)|
|Arnold, Alfred||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Cotton-Jodrell, Col. E. T. D.|
|Arrol, Sir William||Brookfield, A. Montagu||Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Brown, Alexander H.||Cox, Robert|
|Bagot, Capt. J. FitzRoy||Bullard, Sir Harry||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Butcher, John George||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Balcarres, Lord||Carlile, William Walter||Cross, Herb. S. (Bolton)|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Cavendish, R. F. (Lancs., N.)||Cubitt, Hon. Henry|
|Balfour, Rt.Hn. A. J.(Manch.)||Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbysh.)||Currie, Sir Donald|
|Balfour, Rt.Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Curzon, St. Hn. G. N. (Lanc.)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Chaloner, Capt. R. G. W.||Curzon, Viscount (Bucks.)|
|Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Chamberlain,Rt.Hn.J. (Birm.)||Dalbiac. Col. Philip Hugh|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Chamberlain, J. A. (Worc'r)||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Channing, Francis Allston||Denny, Colonel|
|Beach,Rt.Hn.SirM.H. (Brist'l)||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Dickson-Poynder, Sir J. P.|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Chelsea, Viscount||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Cochrane, Hon. T. H. A. E.||Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. D.|
|Bethell, Commander||Coddington, Sir William||Dorington, Sir John Edward|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Biddulph, Michael||Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Doxford, William Theodore|
|Bigwood, James||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Drucker, A.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Colomb, Sir John Charles R.||Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.|
|Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir W. Hart||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. Wm.||Purvis, Robert|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Kimber, Henry||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn E.||Knowles, Lees||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Fergusson,Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc.)||Lafone, Alfred||Richardson, Sir T. (Hartlep'l)|
|Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Laurie, Lieut.-General||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir M. W.|
|Finch, George H.||Lawrence, Sir E. (Cornwall)||Ritchie, Rt, Hon. Chas. T.|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lawrence, W. F. (Liverpool)||Robinson, Brooke|
|Firbank, Thomas Joseph||Lawson, J. Grant (Yorks)||Russell, Gen. F. S. (Cheltm.)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Legh. Hon. Thos. W. (Lancs)||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Fison, Frederick William||Leigh-Bennett, Hy. Currie||Samuel, H. S. (Limehouse)|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Savory, Sir Joseph|
|Folkestone, Viscount||Loder, Gerald Walter E.||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|Forster, Henry William||Long, Col. C. W. (Evesham)||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Long, Rt. Hon. W. (Liverp'l)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Fry, Lewis||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller||Shaw-Stewart. M. H. (Renf.)|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Lowe, Francis William||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Garfit, William||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Gibbons, J. Lloyd||Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Gibbs,Hn. A.G.H.(C.of Lond.)||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Spencer, Ernest|
|Gibbs, Hon. V. (St. Albans)||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Stanley, Lord (Lancs)|
|Giles, Charles Tyrrell||Maclure, Sir John William||Stanley, E. J. (Somerset)|
|Gilliat, John Saunders||McCalmont, H. L. B. (Cambs)||Stanley, H. M. (Lambeth)|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||McIver, Sir Lewis||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward||McKillop, James||Strauss, Arthur|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Malcolm, Ian||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Goschen, Rt.Hn.G.J.(St.Geo's)||Manners, Lord Edward W. J.||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Marks, Henry Hananel||Sutherland, Sir Thomas|
|Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs)||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Gretton, John||Mellor. Rt. Hn. J. W. (Yorks)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Greville, Captain||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Thorburn, Walter|
|Gull, Sir C.||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Milward, Colonel Victor||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord G.||Monckton, Edward Philip||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. H.|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. R. W.||Monk, Charles James||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Hanson, Sir Reginald||Montagu, Hon. J. S. (Hants)||Ward, Hon. R. A. (Crewe)|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Waring, Col. Thomas|
|Heath, James||More, Robert Jasper||Webster, R. G. (St. Pancras)|
|Helder, Augustus||Morgan, Hn. F. (Monm'thsh.)||Webster, Sir R. E. (I. of W.)|
|Henderson, Alexander||Morrell, George Herbert||Wentworth, Bruce C. Verson-|
|Hermon-Hodge, Robert T.||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John L.|
|Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord A. (Down)||Mowbray, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Hill, Rt. Hon. A. S. (Staffs.)||Muntz. Philip A.||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Hill, Sir Edward S. (Bristol)||Murdoch, Charles Townshend||Williams, J. Powell (Birm.)|
|Hoare, E. B. (Hampstead)||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Holland, Hon. Lionel R.||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Wilson, J. W. (Worc., N.)|
|Hornby, William Henry||Murray, Col. W. (Bath)||Wodehouse, E. R. (Bath)|
|Houldsworth, Sir W. Henry||Myers, William Henry||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Howell, William Tudor||Newark, Viscount||Wortley, Rt.Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Hozier, Hon. James H. Cecil||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wyie, Alexander|
|Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn||Parkes, Ebenezer||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Pease, Arthur (Darlington)||Young, Com. (Berks., E.)|
|Hutton, John, (Yorks, N.R.)||Phillpotts, Captain Arthur|
|Jebb. Richard Claverhouse||Pierpoint, Robert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Sir William Walrond and|
|Jolliffe, Hon. H. George||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir J. H.||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Kenrick, William||Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.)|
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
The right honourable Gentleman has stated that these words have been selected with reference to clause 41. But how does he justify the distinction he has laid down in his speech? In that clause he will find the words—The Piers and Harbours Act, and the Public Loans Act, 1887, and under any special Act, whether public or local.150 Bray Harbour was undoubtedly made under a local special Act, and I ask the right honourable, Gentleman why he draws a distinction adverse to the case of Bray?
§ MR. VESEY KNOX (Londonderry)
This is a charge for a harbour built under a special Act, and I have no doubt that, if it were levied by a rural district, relief would 151 be given under clause 41. In this case the charge is a harbour charge, and is made for the purposes of a harbour only. Therefore, I think there can be no doubt as a matter of construction that if a part of this charge fell a certain distance outside Bray relief would be given under section 41. The distinction, therefore, is under section 42. A charge which would be relieved in a rural district under clause 41 would be kept beyond the area of relief unless the rating authority is a county council, not an urban district council. Really I do not see what is to happen. I fancy there will be many such cases in Ireland, and the Government may land themselves in difficulties in other places as well as in Bray.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
We really cannot any longer tolerate the kind of replies we are getting. The right honourable Gentleman first asks us to go to a Division on the last Amendment on the ground that harbours and piers will get relief under section 41. He smiled because we were in favour of maintaining the words of the Bill, and he thought that with our usual Irish stupidity we were making another of our numerous blunders. We then refer him back to clause 41, and we ask—What is the distinction? He says that clause 41 may now be wrong, and that if it is wrong it is to be amended, forsooth, by inserting "under any special Act of a similar character." But that is no reply to the arguments made. He originally refused to give relief to Bray on the ground that it was a harbour made under sub-section 3, clause 41. We point out to him that that sub-section would govern the case of Bray, and now he turns round and says he will amend sub-section 3, clause 41, on the Report stage. And yet Irish Members, who are united and unanimous on the point, are not to be heard. This is not a question, as some English Members originally thought, of increasing the grant and taking more money out of English pockets. It only concerns the distribution of the money. But the right honourable Gentleman says that Irish opinion, whether it be Unionist o>r Nationalist, is not to prevail, and that the only opinion that is to prevail is that of the Irish Office at Westminster. The right honourable Gentleman will not be 152 always Irish Secretary. He will pass away, and will take his promotion after he has made his fame in connection with the Irish office. Irish opinion, which is the opinion to be consulted, is unanimous in this matter. The right honourable Gentleman may be superior to us, but we will have to live in the country when he is gone, and I think we are entitled to some better reply than he has yet given us.
§ MR. SHEE (Waterford, W.)
I would ask the Chief Secretary for an explanation with regard to this clause. There is at present in the town of Dunyarvan a charge, of 1s. 3d. in the £ levied by the Town Commissioners as the urban sanitary authority in connection with the guarantee of the county railway line. As I apprehend it, we are only dealing now with the amount to be raised by the county councils. Therefore, the relief which this clause gives would not apply where the railway charge is raised by the urban district council. The rate to which I refer is now levied by the Dungarvan Town Commissioners, and is not, of course, n poor rate. But the fact still remains that, as far as I can see, under this sub-section no relief would accrue in the case of such a rate, as the sub-section deals only with the amounts to be raised by county councils. That is a very clear case, and I am sure there are a number of similar cases throughout Ireland.
§ DR. COMMINS (Cork County, South-east)
There are a number of other cases in Ireland, among them being one peculiarly hard case;—the case of Kinsale Harbour in my constituency. The harbour authority and the town commissioners at Kinsale got a private Act passed under which they undertook to construct a harbour, not for the benefit of Kinsale, but for the benefit of the fishing industry on the coast, and for the benefit of the Isle of Man, Cornish and Devonshire men who come there in the season. It was a matter generally affecting the whole country; but the people of Kinsale were public-spirited, and charged themselves with the expense of making this harbour and pier in order to render the harbour commodious and convenient. Through the blundering of the Board of Works— 153 and I use that word without any exaggeration—this work, which the Board of Works estimated to cost £18,000, cost £'25,000 or £26,000, and an additional burden of £6,000, which the people had never calculated on, was put upon them; and instead of paying 6d. in the £ they are paying 1s. or a little more for this particular work. I trust that some relief will be given to these poor people. This charge is ruining this poor, decaying borough. Its fisheries are gone. The trade that the people calculated on is entirely gone, not through their own fault, but through one of those changes that will occur in the migration of fish and the places to which they resort. They have now only a tenth of the trade they had when they undertook, this harbour and pier, and they should get some relief from the crushing burden they have put upon their own shoulders for the public benefit rather than for the individual or specific benefit of Kinsale. I am only asking for a share of the county grant, and I do not think there is a single person in the county who would grudge Kinsale having a part or it. I am sorry the Secretary to the Treasury in not here, as he knows all the circumstances of this very sad case, and he will be able to inform the right honourable Gentleman regarding it if it has not yet been brought under his notice. Kinsale has a peculiar claim on a share of this grant. It is overburdened—almost bankrupt—and I would ask the right honourable Gentleman to take the opinion of the right honourable Gentleman the Secretary to the Treasury, who has been constantly worried by me on the matter, as he will have all the facts fresh in his mind.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The case of Kinsale has been brought before me, but I am not aware that it would be excluded under this clause.
§ DR. COMMINS
And if the facts are as stated, will the right honourable Gentleman undertake to bring it within this clause?
§ MR. M. HEALY (Cork)
Kinsale and other similar cases would be excluded from the grant by this clause, which states—Where the poor rate made and levied in my area by a county council in any local financial year, in order to meet any railway a harbour charge," etc.I wish to ask the right honourable Gentleman if he intends to maintain the words "by a county council"? for if he does his alteration will not improve the clause from our point of view. As I understand it, the clause as it stands refers to poor rates made and levied by a county council, but it has been pointed out to him that there are railway charges which are paid by urban areas, and that these railway charges, though raised by the county council from the urban areas, might be raised under this Act by a levy from the county council on the urban authorities, and not by direct collection of the tax. The clause as it originally stood would only deal with cases where the rate was directly collected by the county council. This Amendment, as I understand it, would cover the cases where the county council, instead of issuing the rate, issue a precept, the tax being raised by the urban authority. No doubt there are many cases in which railway charges, instead of being directly collected by the county council, will be raised not by direct levy, but by precept. But that is not the object of the right, honourable Gentleman's Amendment. Our view in this part of the House is that his Amendment is not applicable, and that he should, cover not merely the rate collected by the county council by direct levy and the rate raised by precept, but also the cases—and there are a number of such cases all over Ireland—where the local authorities themselves collect the tax for this purpose. Kinsale has been referred to by my honourable Friend. In Kinsale the tax is not levied by the grand jury, but by the urban authority. I want to ask the right honourable Gentleman how can he distinguish between the merits of the two cases, in one of which a pier is constructed under the Piers and Harbours Act by the Board of Works, and 155 handed over to the grand jury, and in the other where the pier is constructed by the Board of Works, but instead of being handed over to the grand jury is handed over to the local authority? My honourable Friend the Member for East Waterford has included the case of Dungarvan, where he says this rate is levied, not by the county council, but by the urban sanitary authority. I gather from the reply of the right honourable Gentleman that he himself sees no distinction in principle between a rate of this kind levied by the county council and one levied by the local authority under similar circumstances. I say that if you amend this clause as suggested you ought to amend it by striking out the words "by a county council," which will enable the right honourable Gentleman in that way to cover such cases as that of Dungarvan and others which have been mentioned. I therefore move the omission of the word's "by a county council."
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
The only class that will be benefited by this clause when the grand jury levy this monstrous tax will be the English speculator; and the local Irishmen, who put their hands in their pockets in Dungarvan and a number of other places, are not to get a penny out of the clause. The position is this: if your rate is struck by the county authorities you get benefited, but if it is struck by the district authorities you get no benefit at all. The right honourable Gentleman, whose arguments we have just listened to, and who has tried to meet the wishes of Irishmen so much, seems to quarrel with what I have just said; but here is the clause—Where the poor rate made and levied in any area by a county council in any local financial year.Now, Sir, these words, I presume, are either superfluous or intentionally useful and operative. If they are operative, my argument, I submit, is good; if superfluous, then let them go out. The Government say these words have no effect whatever, and if that is so then let them go out, and we shall be quite content.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The intention of the Government on this question 156 is expressed by clause 41. Of course if there is any case—arising from the clause as it stands—of hardship brought under my notice I will consider it.
§ MR. M. HEALY
Having regard to the assurances the right honourable Gentleman has given that he will see into the cases of these piers where hardship is involved, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Page 24, line 17, after 'exceed,' insert 'a sum equal to.'
'Page 24, line 18, after 'pound,' insert 'on the rateable value of the area.'"—(Mr. Gerald Balfour.)
§ Agreed to without a Division.
Page 24, line 11, at end, insert—
'(4) Where the Local Government Board certifies to the Lord Lieutenant that the amount required to be raised by poor rates and other local rates and county cess in any urban sanitary district during the standard financial year would, if this Act had been in force, have exceeded the amount which under the existing law was required to be raised, the Lord Lieutenant may pay to the urban sanitary authority out of the sum paid under this section to the Local Taxation (Ireland) Account a sum equal to such excess.'"—(Mr. Vesey Knox.)
§ MR. VESEY KNOX
The object of the Amendment is to secure that you will not have, as I think you may have under the Bill as it now stands, cases of really grave injustice to urban sanitary authorities which will find their rates raised as a direct result of the provisions of this Bill without receiving any measure of relief from the agricultural grant. I think it best not to quote the figures, because it is almost impossible to obtain absolute accuracy in this matter; but I am convinced myself that there are some cases where there will be a considerable increase of rates as a consequence of the provisions of the Bill. I do not think that was the intention 157 of the Chief Secretary; and I feel sure that it will cause a great deal of heart-burning if, in the operation of the Bill, we find that as a direct result of some provisions of the Bill the rates in some of the urban districts are largely increased. Of course, the Chief Secretary has relied, in arguing against the extension of the agricultural grant to these districts, upon the fact that the urban areas in Ireland will receive relief from union rating. Well, no doubt that is so, and I believe in Cork it will receive very large relief. But there are towns, especially in the North of Ireland, which will not receive relief from union rating, but where, on the contrary, the poor rate, strictly so called, will be increased. The Chief Secretary said that there was no compensation given in England when union rating was proposed. But when it was proposed in England it was imposed in connection with such changes of the poor law as rendered the rate in almost all cases, if not in all, smaller than it had been before. The rates were enormously reduced every where when applied to England; and I venture to doubt whether there was really an area, or any large number, where, as a consequence of union rating, with the other changes made at the same time, the rates were not reduced. That makes a very great difference, and if we find that, as a direct consequence of Imperial legislation making changes which are not asked for by these authorities in the general public interest, the rates in those areas are raised, I venture to think that there is a strong case for compensation out of the Imperial funds. I should have been glad to have put down my Amendment in another form, so as to make it one of the things to come out of the limited sum of money; but, of course, I could not, make such a proposal according to the rules. I do not think myself it need be a very large sum. I think, as a rule, the areas affected will be small towns in the North of Ireland, and I do not think that altogether it will come to very much; but still I believe it is a kind of increase that will cause heart-burning altogether out of proportion to the actual money lost to the locality, and for that reason, having at heart the smooth working of the Bill, I 158 beg to press this Amendment on the Chief Secretary.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I understand in the constituency which the honourable Member represents the rates will be somewhat raised by this clause, and he asks that compensation should be given out of the Imperial funds in order to make this loss good. Sir, after we once begin, in exceptional cases of this kind, to compensate out of the Imperial funds, wherever there is a loss, I do not know where we are to end. The honourable Member seems to forget that union rating in England—although no compensation was given, or even thought of, when the change to union rating and other changes were made—had the indirect effect of producing economy in the poor law administration, and I am by no means certain that a similar result will not follow from union rating in Ireland, and that in most cases the expenditure will be diminished, instead of being increased. Hut, even if it were otherwise, I could not possibly entertain compensation where the operation of union rating turns out unfavourably. The principle would be a most dangerous one, and I could not accept the Amendment.
§ MR. VESEY KNOX
I do not, of course, wish to press the Amendment, if the right honourable Gentleman does not seem inclined to yield to it, and I do not know that I shall be justified in putting the House to a Division. I do, however, think the case is a hard one, especially having regard to the fact that these urban sanitary areas receive no help whatever under the provisions of the Bill. The Chief Secretary has, I think, undertaken to reconsider the question whether he will yield some relief to these areas from the agricultural grant. That would not, of course, be anything like sufficient compensation, bur I think he promised, upon a previous occasion, to consider whether, in some measure, relief cannot be given under the agricultural grant to urban areas.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
I promised to consider the whole subject, but I do not, however, hold out any hopes that I shall be able to do anything in the direc- 159 tion the honourable Member speaks of. I may remind the honourable Member that we cannot make this grant to rural districts without benefiting indirectly the towns surrounding them. There is no doubt that, indirectly, they will receive some benefit.
§ MR. VEREY KNOX
I do not dispute at all that there will be some indirect benefit. Under the circumstances, I feel that it is no use pressing the Amendment, but I do ask the Chief Secretary to take into account this case, and look into the figures again on the point, when he reconsiders the whole question of the financial relations between the urban and the rural areas. I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Page 24, line 26, leave out from 'be' to end of sub-section, and insert—
Distributed amongst the county boroughs according to their respective valuations, and shall be paid by them into the borough fund.'"—(Mr. Carew.)
§ MR. CAREW (Dublin, College Green)
This is one of the Amendments prepared by the Corporation of Dublin. The income derived from the local taxation from any particular district in Ireland is handed over, and put into a common fund, and distributed all over the country. This amounts in the case of cities like Dublin and Belfast to a levy for the benefit of the smaller towns in Ireland. These cities do not derive any benefit from the agricultural grant, and they have to contribute enormous charges for lunatics and other matters quite equal to the charges for all the other scheduled places in Ireland. All we ask for is this: that in case of a surplus, instead of going to Parliament, the money should be given back to those cities according to their respective valuations.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The suggestion is not one which I am prepared to entertain, and the Government is unable to grant any special advantage to county boroughs.
§ MR. M. HEALY
This does not primarily deal with the mode as to how 160 the money is to be distributed, and I have an Amendment on the Paper which deals with it in a somewhat different manner. I think the right honourable Gentleman must be aware that all over Ireland the county councils and the grand jurors, in the suggestions they have made for the improvement of this Bill, have all fastened upon this particular proposal in this section, that the excess should be accumulated, and applied to meet any future deficiency, as being a special blot upon it, and have made suggestions tending in the direction of this Amendment. The real facts about this matter, Mr. Lowther, are these: the Treasury are perfectly conscious that the grant they are making under this clause is one which will not be permanently adequate for the purpose intended. The right honourable Gentleman has said that it will not be adequate in the first year, and the right honourable Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has said that "sufficient for the day is the evil thereof," and that when the occasion arises he will consider the needs of the future. But, Mr. Lowther, the Treasury have in this proposal carefully fenced this round with one protection, at any rate, to prevent any future demand, and the form of protection which they have devised is this: that, knowing that this grant will, in the first year or two at any rate, be more than adequate for the purpose to which it is allocated by this clause, have carefully accumulated the excess for future use as protection against, the demand of the authorities when the fund becomes insufficient. Well, Mr. Lowther, I do not think that is a very large matter. I daresay that under this clause the excess will continue for many years, having regard to what we know in the past as regards the continual increase in the charges for lunatics, and taking special note of the fact that the number of lunatics to be transferred from workhouses is necessarily very large—I think the number in the workhouses at the present time is something like 4,000. If you consider, Mr. Lowther, the excess; if you consider the amount which is likely to be required for the cost of maintaining these unhappy people, transferred from workhouses to lunatic asylums, I do not myself believe that there will be 161 any excess in three or four years' time on this clause. I do not believe that in five years' time the grant made under this section will be adequate for the purpose, much less that there will be any excess; and, while I agree with the view of the local bodies that the proposal of the Treasury in this clause is a somewhat shabby one, I view the matter as not being of much importance, because I believe that in a few years' time, instead of the grants under this clause being in any sense in excess of the requirements, they will be found insufficient.
§ MR. VESEY KNOX
I believe that the Chief Secretary will find that the urban authorities are not relieved at all directly, and he will find that in some places burdens will be put upon them. I agree that the amount to be gained under this particular Amendment is not very much. I think that probably, in a very short space of time, the money will cease to accumulate under this clause, but still, I do support this Amendment in the same sense that I do my own, because I think some injustice has been done to the urban authorities in Ireland, which are not as well off in any case as Belfast, or the counties of the same size in England. It must be remembered that urban authorities in Ireland have to deal with a larger number of poor people than the urban authorities in England; and it must also be remembered that the average wages of unskilled labour are much lower in every town in Ireland, including Belfast, than they are in similar towns in England and Scotland, and that the sanitary expenses, necessarily, it the same service is given, in towns would be very greater than they are. Having regard to all these facts, I do say that the Chief Secretary, in the interests of local government, would have done well if he had tried in the Bill to give some relief to urban, as well as rural, authorities.
§ Amendment negatived, without Division.162
Page 24, line 29, leave out sub-section 6."—(Mr. Serjeant Hemphill.)
§ MR. SERJEANT HEMPHILL
I beg leave to move that the following subsection (6) in clause 42 be struck out—All sums paid to the Local Taxation (Ireland) Account under this section shall form part of the contingent portion of the guarantee fund under the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act, 1891.This section, I presume, is meant to be of use, but the only use it can have, in my opinion, is to diminish the fund, in case at any time there is a deficiency in the existing contingent portion of the guarantee fund under the Purchase of Land (Ireland) Act. Why do the accumulations created under this Local Government Act for Ireland go in any way to secure the Government in case of a deficiency on the contingent portion of the guarantee fund. The time, possibly, might come, if there was a great famine in Ireland, when the guarantee fund might be deficient, and then, in this sub-section, the Government could fall back, and take away the accumulations which otherwise would have been paid to the general relief of the ratepayers under the operation of this sub-section. Now, I might use such, arguments as that so often put forward in the course of this Committee by the right honourable Gentleman the Chief Secretary, that there is nothing like this in the English Act, and, therefore, that clause cannot be relied on, because it is altogether new and strange, nor is it at all necessary to maintain the symmetry or unanimity of this Bill. It is put in here at the instance of the Treasury in order to further, if possible, secure them against what may turn out some day to be a deficit in the guarantee fund, under the Purchase Act of 1891, which might possibly prove insufficient.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The right honourable Gentleman appears to desire to put into this Bill, absolutely gratuitously, this Amendment, and he does not appear to be aware that the grants proposed are in substitution—of which Ireland is to receive the proceeds of local 163 licences and fixed amounts—are already part of the contingent portion of the guarantee fund. This sub-clause is absolutely germane to the Bill. If we had not done this we should have been drawing a certain amount from the guarantee fund, and it is in order to avoid this that it was put in, and the only effect will be to diminish the amount of stock under the Land Purchase Act. The right honourable Gentleman has made another serious error. This provision was not inserted in the Bill for the protection of the Treasury, but for the protection, in the first instance, of the ratepayers, who would have to suffer if the guarantee fund were depleted before any demand could be made on the Treasury. I think the right honourable Gentleman will himself see why this sub-clause is necessary.
§ MR. SERJEANT HEMPHILL
I was quite aware that the early part of the section dealt with the licence, but I understood when this Bill was introduced that it was to be a boon to Ireland, both by way of the agricultural grant, and also of these licences. That was to be compensation in return for the grants in aid which up to this time had been granted, and which amounted to a very large sum.
§ * MR. DILLON
First of all, I wish to direct the attention of the right honourable Gentleman to the fact that under this clause he is giving an addition to the grants in aid. I do not know why he should pass that over as a security. However, I attach very little importance to the question, because I entirely agree with the honourable Member for Cork that in a very short time these particular grants will exceed very much the sum provided, and that, instead of having a surplus, we shall have to consider how to meet the deficit. That is my contention with regard to this particular clause. But the reason I rose to support this Amendment was that I wanted to ask the right honourable Gentleman to inform the House what the amount is of the cash security under the Land Act of 1891. I should like to know what is the amount.
§ * MR. DILLON
I should like to know also how much of that cash security the Land Commissioners have had to issue. I do think there is a great deal to be said in this respect, for when the Land Act of 1891 was passed there was no cash security. It took some years to accumulate that cash security that has now assumed a large proportion and come to be a large sum, and it is now available as a guarantee. Now, in order to accumulate that large guarantee that grant was given to Ireland as an Exchequer contribution, and was withheld from the Irish people for the purpose of forming this large cash guarantee. I argue that the situation has greatly changed since these grants in aid were made. In the first place, there is actually in. existence this large guarantee; and, secondly, if I am right, but I have not got the exact figures, I believe that the amount which the Government have taken under that cash guarantee is very large. Therefore we have the experience of eight years to show that the cash guarantee is quite sufficient. That being so, I think it is a case of making this the occasion of releasing it from being a contingent security for these particular grants.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
The Government are by this clause capturing an additional sum for the guarantee fund, and yet the right honourable Gentleman in his reply twits the honourable Member for Tyrone with supposed ignorance when my right honourable Friend was endeavouring to show that an additional sum was being taken by the Treasury. But there is this additional argument, and I beg to point it out, that the whole of the sum which you are now hypothecating for this purpose comes, practically, out of the towns, and you are seizing this under section 42 in respect of a Measure passed for the benefit of the country. When you were dealing with section 34 you did not hypothecate a single penny of the agricultural grant made for the benefit of the farmers in respect of land purchase, and surely the fair thing to have done would have been to hypothecate some sum out of the agricultural grant for purely agricultural purposes. As I showed, about an hour ago, in the case of these public-house 165 licences, they mostly come oat of town revenue, and it would only be fair, in my judgment, if any provision whatever is to be made in this Act in reference to these guarantees, to have hypothecated the amount out of the agricultural grant and not out of the licences from the towns. It appears to me that there is no argument as to the £35,000, which is the sum which ought to be free from this liability, especially, Sir, as since the time when this fund was established you have kept something like a quarter of a million of money, I suppose with interest, from the purposes for which it was originally intended. There is a clear case as to the £35,000.
§ * MR. DILLON
Will the right honourable Gentleman say how much of the cash guarantee has been issued by the Land Commissioners?
§ MR. VESEY KNOX
I think the contrast has been somewhat spoiled by the fact that in this Bill the agricultural grant is to be appropriated. I remember, when the Bill of 1891 was under discussion, the First Lord of the Treasury explained that the best of all guarantees was that under this Bill the whole countryside would be interested in making every man happy. I think, from that point of view, if there was a charge that would be an excellent guarantee, surely it would be the agricultural grant rather than this charge under the Act. Surely it would be a better course to take in the event of that being necessary. Does it not occur to the right honourable Gentleman that it would be more harmful to let loose these pauper lunatics, and to leave the unions without trained nurses, than it would be if for a short space of time the agricultural grant were stopped? I venture to press that point of view upon the Chief Secretary as one that he might consider in order to ascertain whether it would be better if he has to make a change as to these guarantees to substitute the agricultural grant for the guarantees mentioned in this section. One of the worst features of the guarantees under the Act of 1891 was that, in order to carry them into operation, you would have had to reduce the 166 country almost to a state of barbarism, and if he could find any other source of revenue which, could be applied to this purpose, surely it is his duty in the public interest to do so.
§ MR. SHEE
The Treasury appear to have, lost sight of the fact in this Local Government Bill for Ireland that we have not got any means at present of applying the grant that is made in respect of medical appliances or in aid of salaries for medical officers and dispensers, and we have not got any power at present of applying that particular grant.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
That goes in substitution. It does seem unreasonable first of all to accept a sum in sum in substitution for the pauper lunatics and then turn round and ask for this. Surely it ought not to come under the same rule.
§ MR. SHEE
How does the right honourable Gentleman propose to carry out the principle by the hypothecation of the public funds in this manner? It is only right that Members of this House should avail themselves of this opportunity to dispute that principle, and that is the reason, I presume, that the right honourable Gentleman has put down this Amendment proposing to omit this sub-section. That is the principle in the matter, and therefore it is our duty to protest against that principle which is now being carried, and, therefore, I desire to join in this protest against pushing this principle any further than it has been pushed.
§ Question proposed—
§ Amendment negatived without a Division.
That clause 42 as amended stand part of the Bill.
§ MR. DILLON
Before this clause is passed I desire to say that in my opinion the benefit will rapidly disappear, and in a very short time we shall be struggling with an ever-increasing 167 debt. Although I had an Amendment down earlier, I desire to raise this question, which, to my mind, is one of the largest questions under this Bill. Provision has been made in this clause for gradually increasing the expenses, and they have been gradually increasing in the past and must increase in the near future. I do not think that there is anything to be gained by delaying the progress of the Bill, and therefore I simply desire to place on record my regret that the Government have not treated Ireland fairly, and have not made any provision for the charges which are now being transferred from the Imperial Exchequer to the Irish ratepayers. I believe, and I am sorry to be obliged to say it, that the Government are taking advantage of the position in which we are placed, and our natural anxiety to see this Bill passed, to shove on the ratepayers in Ireland a burden for which, at the same time, an entirely insufficient provision has been made to meet that burden; and, Sir, I think it would be unjust and unfair to ourselves and unjust to those whom we represent in this House, if this clause were allowed to pass without fair warning being given to the Government that we do not accept it as a fair provision, and that we reserve our right in the future to come to this House in case our prophecy is fulfilled, and a deficit results, and demand that that deficit should be made good.
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
We have in this case followed the course adopted in England and Scotland in 1888, and we have supplied a corresponding margin because England and Scotland at that time received a certain amount from the transfer of local licences. I do not share the contention expressed by the honourable Member that there will be a large deficit. At all events, in several years—say five or six years—I think there will be an accumulation under this clause of a balance. I also do not share his gloomy view of the future as to the expenditure. Sir, there is no doubt the expenditure on lunatics at the present time is very large, and is an increasing amount, but that increase arises not from the fact that lunacy is increasing in Ireland, but it arises from the 168 fact that lunatics are accumulating in the workhouses. The figures show that for a good many years past the number of fresh cases has remained practically the same. The amount of admissions is what really tests the number, and that rate is very low. I think the point will certainly be reached when the admissions on the one side and the cases of death or dismissal on the other will come equal, and ultimately I myself am looking forward to an actual diminution in the expenditure on lunatic asylums in Ireland. For this reason, I think there can be no doubt that a diminution in the expenditure will take place. Ireland has been the subject of constant emigration during the last 50 years of the best and strongest of her population, and the feebler part of the community have been left behind or have actually returned to Ireland: so that Ireland is now suffering from having to support a number of lunatics representing a larger population. I believe that ultimately the number of lunatics will sink to a number which will be a more permanent proportion to the actual population of Ireland. That, of course, will mean a great saving in the rates.
§ MR. DILLON
I must say that I cannot agree with the contention of the right honourable Gentleman; although, at the same time, I have allowed the Bill to go on, and I have abstained from speaking on this subject, I feel very strongly indeed upon it. I believe the right honourable Gentleman has correctly stated that one of the great sources of trouble in Ireland is that the wretched poor ratepayers have got to support the lunatics of a population of about ten millions, of which there are only about four and a half millions now left. Ireland is now supporting and maintaining the lunatics which, in a normal condition of things, would be spread over a population of ten millions, owing to the outflow of the youngest and best part of the population from Ireland, and that still continues. That does not show any signs of diminishing, and my impression is that the increase, which the right honourable Gentleman has correctly stated, has been increasing in quite recent years, will go on increasing for 169 some years to come, probably, and two years of that increase would entirely wipe out this surplus. And there is another point which the right honourable Gentleman has omitted to deal with. There is the improved treatment under this Bill for the 4,000 lunatics who are now in the workhouses of Ireland, and who are in a most miserable condition, which is a disgrace to humanity, and which must, under this new system, be rapidly improved. But this cannot be improved without great initial expense, and no provision has been made under the Bill for that additional expenditure. I daresay we may have a surplus for a couple of years perhaps, but my conviction is that before many years pass over we shall be face to face, and practically all local bodies all over Ireland will be face to face, with an increasing deficit. I only speak, now for the purpose of establishing our claim that we have protested against this arrangement, which has been forced upon us, and to say that when the time comes we shall appear before this House again and demand that this deficit should be recouped.
§ LORD E. FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
I am anxious to say one or two words in favour of this Amendment, because I think the argument which the Chief Secretary has used with regard to the probable diminution of lunacy in Ireland is in direct contradiction to our actual experience of what we know is the case in England in regard to lunacy, and there is nothing special, so far as I am aware, in the position of Ireland which in the least is calculated to diminish lunacy; on the contrary, the whole of the circumstances rather tend to increase it, and the reasons for an increase are not different from those under which we suffer in England. If the Chief Secretary will refer to certain documents which are now in possession of the House he will find a most interesting and important Report from the Commissioners of Lunacy in England, pointing out certain general reasons relating to the number of lunatics in asylums. He has touched upon some of these reasons, and quite correctly, but I cannot follow him that the reports justify us in 170 looking forward to any marked diminution of lunacy in English life. Sir, what are the reasons, and what is the cause? The right honourable Gentleman has indicated quite correctly that the improvement in asylums causes the population to have far greater confidence in them, and, therefore, induces them to send in—and no longer object, as they formerly did—to send in their relatives to these asylums. And, in addition to this, the improved treatment of this distress will cause a very great diminution in the rate of mortality. It is a well known fact that the rate of mortality in asylums is very low. Therefore, I say that if asylums are going to be improved, you will find the same improvement, if I may so call it, in the rate of mortality. And so all circumstances point to the fact that you will have for a long time to come not only the same amount of lunacy, but, in all probability, an increased charge upon the rates and upon the public funds.
§ MR. VESEY KNOX
I entirely agree with what the honourable Member for East Mayo has said. The fact is that 10 years ago we had in Ireland a number of lunacy inspectors. These start certain improvements and create certain extra expenses. They have new ideas, and, like all new officials, they do all sorts of things. The new inspectors say this and that on the principle, I suppose that the new broom sweeps clean. The result inevitably will be increased rates. The result will also be, and more particularly feelings of humanity will make people think it necessary more and more, that no lunatics shall be allowed to be at large, however harmless they may be. I certainly do think that the British Treasury has made a very good bargain indeed in getting a fixed sum, even though it be a slightly increased one, in place of the various sums which were constantly being given before. I was somewhat amused to find that, although the Treasury would be parading this £30,000 as a perfectly free gift and a benefit conferred upon us, when we came to discuss what this £30,000 really was, the Chief Secretary strongly argued, and rightly argued, in my opinion, that these 171 contingent grants would not be increased, but, on the other hand, would be rather diminished under this Bill.
§ Clause agreed to.