HC Deb 24 May 1898 vol 58 cc631-5

"Page 35, leave out clause 62, and insert the following clause—

  1. "(1) There shall apply to Ireland so much as the Lord Lieutenant by Order in Council declares applicable of the English and Scotch enactments specified in the Fourth Schedule to this Act, and the enactments amending the same, being enactments relating to—(a) elections of county and district councils and guardians; (b) acceptance of office, fine, resignation, casual vacancy, etc.; (c) disqualifications of persons for being members of a county or district council, or board of guardians, and of members of any such council or board, and their partners, for appointment to an office; (d) incorporation of county and district councils; (e) transfer of property and expenses of county and district councils; (f) accounts, audit, and annual budget; (g) borrowing by county councils; (h) transfer of powers of Treasury in relation to borrowing, and to the acquisition and disposition of land by councils of boroughs; (i) alteration of boundaries and adjustments of property and liabilities; (j) the division of a borough into wards or alteration of wards; (k) local inquiries and provisional orders by the Local Government Board; (l) construction of enactments relating to business transferred by this Act; (m) proceedings and committees of county and district councils, and chairman and vice-chairman of these councils; and (n) powers of the Local Government Board for the purpose of remedying defects, and bringing the Act into full operation upon the commencement thereof, and transitional proceedings and savings.
  2. "(2) An Order in Council under this section may—(a) apply any of the said enactments to both county and district councils and guardians, or to any of them, notwithstanding 632 that they relate to county councils only, or to district councils only, or to guardians only; and (b) provide for the transfer to county councils of the lunatic asylums and all property and liabilities connected therewith, and for the exception of any debt incurred (whether before or after the passing of this Act) on account of lunatic asylums from being reckoned in the limitations of amount imposed by any of the said enactments upon the borrowing by county councils, and for the joint committee of the counties comprised in a lunatic asylum district, exercising jointly for the purpose of the lunatic asylum the powers of those councils relating to borrowing; and (c) make such adaptations of the said enactments as appear necessary or expedient for carrying into effect the application thereof to Ireland; and (d) make such adaptations of local Acts as appear required to bring them into conformity with any of the said enactments."—(Mr. Gerald Balfour.)

Clause read a second time.


I notice that the Government have not provided for the case of rights of way, and a number of other provisions of that kind, which are most useful in the Parish Councils Act—namely, sections 7, 8, 13, 26, and 73. It appears to me that the Government ought not to pick and choose in this matter. We are entitled to get every benefit from the Parish Councils Act, and I cannot understand for the life of me why the Government have put in a number of the restricted provisions, and have omitted a number of other provisions. Then, Sir, there is another matter; in fact, there are a number of other matters to be dealt with, but the evening is so late, and as I desire to get on, I restrain myself to simply commenting upon them. I do think, however, that whatever is in the Parish Councils Act relating to the protection of waste lands, commons, rights of ways, and water supply we ought to have inserted in this Bill.


I will look into them. I think there may be one or two that may be added.


I had an Amendment down on the Paper upon this question, but it was struck out in consequence of a new clause, and it was thought that there should be added to the subjects which the Order in Council contained all matters appertaining to the business of lunatic asylums find the management and acquisition of property and all powers and duties relating thereto. My object is to add to the schedule the English and the Scotch Lunacy Acts, because there are certain provisions in them which I understand might very usefully apply to Ireland. It is not necessary that the Order in Council should at present embrace those Acts, but it might give power hereafter, should it be thought advisable by the boards or by the county councils, to adopt certain provisions in them. For instance, there is one provision which will illustrate what I mean. In the Scotch Lunacy Code there is a power to board out imbecile lunatics, which sometimes prevents the necessity of enlarging asylums, and the object of this Amendment is to have something that will cover what is contained in the English and Scotch Lunacy Codes inserted in the schedule.


As to the general question which has been raised by the right honourable Gentleman opposite, I really must decline to undertake the task of embodying the English and Scotch lunacy laws.


I do not propose that the frame of the Order in Council should be altered, that would involve considerable delay, but I want the power to be reserved at some future period if they thought it advisable to adopt it. I wish simply to add in the schedule of the Bill a power which the Privy Council may or may not exercise, namely, that of adopting the Scotch and English Lunacy Codes.


I could certainly not put that provision in the Order in Council.


The clause which the Government have inserted in this Order in Council is taken from the English Local Government Act of 1894, which provides that any ballot boxes provided by or belonging to any public authority, whether for Parliamentary, county council, or municipal elections, shall be lent to the returning officer under this Act free of charge. In Ireland there is not in any county anything in the nature of the requisite fittings for a Parliamentary election, and it does appear to me that they ought to be provided by an enactment of this kind. That is to say, every county in Ireland should furnish itself with a regular outfit of the needful articles required for a Parliamentary election in the shape of ballot boxes and fittings, and it should be enacted that the boxes and fittings so provided for the Parliamentary election should be enabled to be used for all municipal elections. That is the law with regard to boroughs. In the Ballot Act, section 14, it is provided— That where a Parliamentary borough or municipal borough come within the same area any ballot boxes or fittings for polling stations provided for such Parliamentary borough or such municipal borough may be used in any municipal election free of charge. You ought to have an analogous provision in this Act enabling such fittings to be used and provided for in Ireland. At every Parliamentary election for the county in Ireland the sheriff buys, or pretends to buy, a perfectly new and complete outfit of ballot boxes and fittings, and he makes each county pay for them as if their were bought absolutely new. What happens in my county is this. He pretends to sell the ballot boxes to somebody, who is always a friend, and when the new election takes place that friend kindly resells them to him. That sort of thing goes on at every election, and the candidate has to pay for the same ballot boxes ten times over. Now, is it not time that a farce of that kind should be put an end to in counties, the same as it has been put an end to in boroughs? In a borough there are municipal offices and appurtenances available for municipal elections, and also available for Parliamentary elections, and the same thing is wanted in counties. The clause as it stands in the Order in Council is an absolute nullity, because you have not in the county area any Parliamentary ballot boxes which can be used for municipal purposes. I hope the Government will give me some assurance that they will do something of the kind.


thought that the question might be considered as to whether some of the provisions of the Ballot Act ought not to be made to apply to the counties which do not now apply.

Clause added to the Bill.

Forward to