§ As Amended (by the Standing Committee), considered.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
I think the right hon. Gentleman will admit that the 97 Amendments I have put down on the Paper do not show any desire on my part to prevent this Bill passing. It was carefully considered in Committee upstairs, and in some particulars, no doubt, substantially improved. But I regret to say that some of the chief faults in its machinery, to which I drew attention on the Second Reading, are still untouched. The first Amendment I have to propose is one which was fully considered in Committee, and therefore I shall only say a few sentences in regard to it. Its object is exceedingly simple. The Bill, as it at present stands, proposes to make the Chief Secretary for Ireland President of the new Department, and to associate with him a vice-president, to be appointed and removable by one of Her Majesty's Secretaries of State. I propose that the Department should have as President one who is not Chief Secretary. I do not wish the Chief Secretary to be directly associated with the new Department, and this will give it two characteristics which I judge to be very valuable—first, it will leave the Department more independence and initiative; and, in the second place, it will separate the Department from the ordinary political administration of Ireland, and thereby give it a better chance of getting into touch and sympathy with the body of the people. When I made this proposal in Committee, with, I venture to say, the universal support of Irishmen, the only argument advanced against it was that it was too far-reaching, as it amounted in effect to the cutting into two of the whole administration of Ireland, and destroying its centralised character. I accept that description of my proposal, and I certainly should like to see this new Department cut off from that portion of the administration which is responsible for police and justice, because it would thereby
§ be relieved from that odium and friction which a political Department of the Irish Government so often incurs. I beg to move.
In page 1, line 10, to leave out from the word 'with,' to the word 'appointed,' in line 11, and insert the words, 'a president'"—(Mr. Dillon)—instead thereof.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. G. W. BALFOUR,) Leeds, Central
I fully recognise that the hon. Member has no desire to obstruct this Bill. I am afraid, however, that, as in Committee, so now I am obliged to resist this Amendment. I do so on the ground, mainly, that the change is not a desirable one in itself, having regard to the interests of the Department it is proposed to set up. It would weaken the Department both in the House and in Ireland if the Chief Secretary were not included as its President. It is perfectly true that, at one time, there seemed to be a consensus of opinion that it would be desirable to have a Minister who should be independent of the Chief Secretary as head of the Department, but I believe I satisfied a deputation representing the Chambers of Commerce and others that waited on me that such was not the case, and that the presence of the Chief Secretary on the Department was, in fact, necessary to the successful working of the measure, and that our proposal would in fact give effect to their desire.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 133; Noes, 78. (Division List, No. 292.)99
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M||Coddington, Sir William|
|Arnold, Alfred||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Arrol, Sir William||Boulnois, Edmund||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Brassey, Albert||Colomb, Sir J. Charles Ready|
|Baily, James (Walworth)||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Cornwallis, Fiennes Stanley W.|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A (Glasgow||Courtney, Rt. Hn. Leonard H.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.)||Curzon, Viscount|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Denny, Colonel|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Chamberlain. J. Austen (wore'r||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir Wm. Hart|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol||Chelsea, Viscount||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas|
|Bethell, Commander||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc.)||Laurie, Lieut. -General||Priestley, Sir W. Overend (Edin.|
|Finch, George H.||Lawrence, Sir E. Durning (Corn||Purvis, Robert|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Pym, C. Guy|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lea, Sir T. (Londonderry)||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|FitzGerald, Sir R. Penrose||Lecky, Rt. Hon. Wm. Edw. H.||Ridley, Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W.|
|Fitzmaurice, Lord Edmond||Llewellyn, Evan H. (Somerset)||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. Thomson|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Swans.)||Rothschild, Hon. L. Walter|
|Fletcher, Sir Henry||Lockwood, Lt. -Colonel A. R.||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Flower, Ernest||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. E. J.|
|Gedge, Sydney||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverpool||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John E.||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Goschen, Rt Hn G. J. (St George's||Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Macdona, John Cumming||Stanley, Sir H. M. (Lambeth)|
|Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Malcolm, Ian||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Helder, Augustus||Milton, Viscount||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Hill, Rt. Hon. A. S. (Staffs.)||Monk, Charles James||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)||Moore, Arthur (Londonderry)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||More, Robert J. (Shropshire)||Welby, Lieut. -Col. A. C. E.|
|Howell, William Tudor||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)||Whiteley, H. (Aston-under-L.)|
|Hozier, Hon. James Hy. Cecil||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Murray, Chas. J. (Coventry)||Williams, J. Powell-(Birm.)|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wyndham, George|
|Johnstone, Hey wood (Sussex)||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)||Wyvill, Marmaduke d'Arcy|
|Kenyon, James||Pease, H. Pike (Darlington)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.)|
|Kimber, Henry||Percy, Earl||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther|
|King Sir Henry Seymour||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Knowles, Lees||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Gourley, Sir Edw. Temperley||Palmer, Sir Charles M. (Durham)|
|Balfour, Rt Hn J Blair (Clackm.||Harwood, George||Pease, Joseph A. (Northum b.)|
|Billson, Alfred||Hayne, Rt. Hon. C. Seale-||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Hazell, Walter||Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Healy, Timothy M. (N. Louth)||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Holland, W. H. (York, W. R.)||Sinclair, Capt. John (Forfarsh.)|
|Burt, Thomas||Horniman, Frederick John||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Jacoby, James Alfred||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Caldwell, James||Jones, David Brynmor (Swan.||Souttar, Robinson|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Kinloch, Sir J. George Smyth||Spicer, Albert|
|Carew, James Laurence||Labouchere, Henry||Steadman, William Charles|
|Carmichael, Sir T. D. Gibson-||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'l'nd||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Leng, Sir John||Strachey, Edward|
|Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Macaleese, Daniel||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Crombie, John William||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||M'Crae, George||Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Davitt, Michael||M'Ewan, William||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.|
|Dewar, Arthur||M'Ghee, Richard||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Maddison, Fred.||Williams, John Carvell (Notts)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Maden, John Henry||Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull)|
|Duckworth, James||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Moulton, John Fletcher||Woodall, William|
|Evans, Sir F. H. (South'ton)||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Woodhouse, Sir J.T (Hudd'rsf'd|
|Ferguson, R. C. M. (Leith)||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Mr. Dillon and Captain Donelan.|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||O'Connor, J. (Wicklow, W.)|
§ * SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
I have to apologise to the House for moving an Amendment which is not on the Paper. But the circumstances are such that I think I am justified in doing so, as I had understood it would have been among the Amendments put down for Irish Members, while those Gentlemen thought I intended to 100 put it down. It was defeated on the Grand Committee by a small majority, and I believe it had the support of all Nationalists, with only one exception. The object of the Amendment is to make it necessary that the new Minister to be appointed under the Bill shall seek reelection on appointment. This matter of re-election has not been very frequently 101 argued in the House in recent years, but in 1869, when the late Leader of the House, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for west Monmouth, made his maiden speech, Lord Bury had asked leave to introduce a Bill to provide that Ministers should not have to seek re-election on accepting office. Mr. Gladstone, and many other leading Members of the House, made most interesting speeches, and the language used was most uncompromising, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Monmouth "vehemently dissenting" to the proposal. He declared that the choice of Ministers should be ratified by their constituencies. He and other Members who took part in that Debate pointed out how this matter especially affected Ireland, where cabals and Parliamentary in-intrigues were especially marked. The case of Judge Keogh and other cases were alluded to, and the opinion of Mr. Hallam was quoted as to the necessity of jealously maintaining the rights of the constituents. Not only did everyone who spoke on the Liberal side uphold the principle of maintaining the rights of constituents, but Mr. Henley strongly supported the same view from the other side of the House. He said he did not like "cutting the connection between the House of Commons and the constituencies. "That opinion prevailed, and the motion for leave to introduce the Bill was unanimously negatived by the House. The result has been that the fixed system has continued, and while leading Ministers have to seek re-election, under-secretaries and some secretaries of boards do not. It has been necessary when a new Minister is created, to consider on abstract merits whether the new Minister shall be sent for re-election or not. However strong the arguments may be on general principles in favour of sending a Minister for reelection, they seem to me to be vastly stronger in the case of Ireland. In the past, Irish constituencies have been liable to treachery on the part of their political representatives, and consequently the political condition of Ireland renders it necessary to maintain this principle in their case. I beg to move.
In page 1, line 20, to leave out from the word 'elected,' to the word 'Parliament,' in line 23, inclusive, and insert the words 'and shall be deemed to be an office included in Schedule H of The Representation of the People Act, 1867, in Schedule H of The Repre-
sentation of the People (Scotland) Act, 1868, and in Schedule E of The Representation of the People (Ireland) Act, 1868,'—(Sir Charles Dilke)—instead thereof.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
The right hon. Baronet has argued this question on general principles, and referred to a Bill brought in by Lord Bury, which was not read a first time. That Bill, the House will remember, related, not to the case of subordinate ministers, but to the case of all Ministers holding office under the Crown. If the argument of the right hon. Baronet is one to which the House should attach weight at the present time, I think he will admit that we have been going wrong for a generation. For at least a generation there is not a single case of a subordinate Minister requiring to seek re-election on taking office. That seems to me to be a sufficient reply to the right hon. Baronet, so far as the general grounds adduced by him are concerned. But the right hon. Baronet is of opinion that Ireland is a special case, and that whatever may be the law in England, a new Minister should not be appointed in Ireland without an appeal to his constituents on his appointment. I cannot agree with the right hon. Baronet that there is a special case for Ireland of any real weight. On the contrary, I would argue that Ireland is a place where the rule should not apply, even if we had not for thirty years abandoned it in the case of all subordinate Ministers. Let the House remember this, that the Minister will not necessarily be a Minister representing an Irish constituency, and if you limit the choice open to the Government by laying down the rule that appointment to this post involves re-election, it may very well be that it would be impossible for the Government to select an hon. Member representing an Irish Constituency, because the Member might, under existing conditions, hold an unsafe seat. Everybody knows that the question of the safety of a seat is an element that must be taken into consideration in making appointments of such Ministers. If that be so, and if the right hon. Baronet's Amendment is accepted, the Government could not appoint an Irish Member, and would have to go outside Ireland or to the House of Lords 103 for the selection of the Minister. I have no doubt that so far from Ireland presenting a special case on account of which we ought to depart from the rule which has obtained for thirty years, we ought to make it an exception so that it would be unnecessary for the Minister to seek re-election on appointment of office.
§ SIR THOMAS ESMONDE (Kerry, W.)
I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman cannot see his way to accept this Amendment. It is one which has the all but unanimous support of the Irish Members. The right hon. Baronet quoted historical precedents in favour of it, but the right hon. Gentleman met them by saying that these historical precedents had been abolished for the last thirty years. The present Chief Secretary for Ireland has to seek re-election. We attach considerable importance to the post of Vice-President of the new board, and we think that he, also, should be bound to seek re-election on his appointment. If we had a Parliament of our own he would, of course, have to seek re-election in the Irish Parliament, for the President of the Board of Agriculture would be one of the most important Ministers that we would have. I think it would be extremely wise from our point of view that we should establish a precedent for that now, so that when we do have the appointment of a Minister of Agriculture of our own we may arrange that he should be required to seek re-election. We desire to place our views on record by supporting the Amendment of the right hon. Baronet, and I hope he will go to a Division.
§ MR. WILLIAM JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
I hope the Government will not accept the Amendment. I think I can speak with perfect impartiality, for the appointment is not one which is ever likely to be asked for by me or offered to me. Why should hon. Gentlemen opposite seek to put this penalty of re-election on Irish Members of Parliament? I have yet to learn that the admiration of these hon. Members for the House of Lords is so strong that they would like to penalise the representatives of Irish constituencies in order that a noble Lord should be the occupant of this post. Of course, if that be so, then nothing more is to be said. I would take this opportunity to thank the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for the care, patience, courtesy and 104 conciliation he has shown in bringing this Bill to its present position. I can assure him that all Ireland will be grateful to him in the days to come; and I trust that he will not have his opinion set at defiance by the House on an occasion when he is desirous of giving to Ireland a great boon.
§ MR. STEVENSON (Suffolk, Eye)
I noticed that the Chief Secretary stated that for the past generation all subordinate Ministers were exempted from seeking re-election. There is, at all events, the occupant of one subordinate office—the Civil Lord of the Admiralty who, I think, has to seek re-election.
§ MR. STEVENSON
Reference was made to Lord Bury's Bill of 1869; but a Bill was afterwards brought in by the hon. Member for the Abercromby Division of Liverpool to abolish, in the case of all Ministers, the necessity of appealing to their constituents on their appointment to office. I believe if a Bill of that kind were brought in now, it would receive a largo amount of support in this House and in the country. It seems to me, however, that as this particular post is one of very great importance, it would be a pity to set the example with it. Furthermore, as has been pointed out, it is of the greatest possible importance that the holder of this office should be in very close touch with Irish feeling and Irish conditions of life, and it seems to me that that is a reason why the Amendment ought to be supported.
§ MR. DILLON
I trust the right hon. Baronet will go to a Division and enable us to put our opinion on record. It is a fact that every single Minister drawing a salary in connection with the Irish Government in this House has to seek re-election, and therefore as regards Irish administration the proposal in the Bill is a totally new departure. I ask the Chief Secretary whether it would not be better for him to follow the unbroken tradition and practice of the Irish Government rather than to follow the new tradition and practice of the English Government, and which the 105 Irish Members do not desire to apply to their country. A great majority of the Irish representatives are solid on this question. I heartily agree with the right hon. Baronet in what he has said as regards the greater strength of the objection to this now departure, because of the special case of Ireland. We consider that the peculiar situation which has existed and is likely to exist for some time in Irish politics, renders it particularly undesirable that a Member of Parliament, after he has been elected, should have his status altered without his constituents having the right to state their views upon it. The right hon. gentleman the Chief Secretary strengthened our case when he said that to compel this Minister to seek re-election on appointment would limit the choice of the Government—or in
§ other words that he would appoint a man as Minister who, if he sought re-election, would be defeated by the constituency which returned him as an independent Member. That is the strongest argument for the Amendment, because it would give the constituencies a right to say whether they are to be represented by an independent and unsalaried Member, or by a salaried Minister of the Crown. For that reason I certainly shall vote for the Amendment, and I do think it would be more consistent with the position of the Irish Government to accept it.
§ Question put—
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 161; Noes, 91. (Division List, No. 293.)107
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Denny, Colonel||Lecky, Rt. Hon. Wm. Edw. H.|
|Arnold, Alfred||Dixon-Hartland, Sir F. Dixon||Leighton, Stanley|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Llewellyn, Evan H. (Somerset)|
|Arrol, Sir William||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn-(Sw'ns'a|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Elliott, Hon. A. Ralph D.||Lockwood, Lieut.-Colonel A. R.|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Fardell, Sir T. George||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham|
|Baird, J. George Alexander||Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J. (Mane'r||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverp'l)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r||Finch, George H.||Lopes, Henry Yarde Buller|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. G. W. (Leeds)||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Loyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Fisher, William Hayes||Lubbock, Rt. Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Barry, Rt. Hn. A.H.S.-(Hunts.)||FitzGerald, Sir Rbt. Penrose-||Lucas-Shadwell, William|
|Barton, Dunbar Plunket||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Macartney, W. G. Ellison|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Fletcher, Sir Henry||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir. M. H.(Br'st'l)||Flower, Ernest||Malcolm, Ian|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Garfit, William||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Gedge, Sydney||Middlemore, J. Throgmorton|
|Bethell, Commander||Goldsworthy, Major-General||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Gordon, Hon. John Edward||Milton, Viscount|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Milward, Colonel Victor|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Goschen, Rt. Hn G J (St George's||Monk, Charles James|
|Boulnois, Edmund||Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Moore, Arthur (Londonderry)|
|Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)|
|Brassey, Albert||Graham, Henry Robert||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptf d.)|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Murray, Rt. Hon. A. G. (Bute)|
|Brookfield, A. Montagu||Halsey, Thomas Frederick||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes.)||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert W.||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Cavendish. V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Helder, Augustus||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Hertford, East)||Hill, Arthur (Down, West)||Pease, Herbert P. (Darlington)|
|Chaloner, Captain R. G. W.||Hoare, Samuel (Norwich)||Percy, Earl|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Birm.||Houldsworth, Sir Wm. Henry||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Wore'r||Howard, Joseph||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Chelsea, Viscount||Howell, William Tudor||Priestley, Sir W. O. (Edin.)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Purvis, Robert|
|Coddington, Sir William||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Pym, C. Guy|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Rankin, Sir James|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Ridley. Rt. Hn. Sir Matthew W|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles R.||Kemp, George||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Colston, C. E. H. Athole||Kenyon, James||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel W.|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Kimber, Henry||Round, James|
|Cornwallis, F. Stanley W.||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Courtney, Rt. Hon. L. H.||Knowles Lees||Russell, Gen. F.S. (Cheltenham|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Laurie, Lieut. -General||Russell, T. W. (Tyrone)|
|Curzon, Viscount||Lawrence, Sir E Durning -(Corn)||Saunderson, Rt. Hon. Col. E. J.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks.)||Scoble, Sir Andrew Richard|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Lea, Sir Thos. (Londonderry)||Sharpe, William Edward T|
|Simeon, Sir Barrington||Tollemache, Henry James||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Tritton, Charles Ernest||Wyndham, George|
|Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.||Valentia, Viscount||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Stanley, Sir H. M. (Lambeth)||Warde, Lieut.-Col. C.E.(Kent)||Young, Commander (Berks, E.|
|Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)||Welby, Lieut.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Sturt, Hon. Humphrey Napier||Whiteley, H.(Ashton-u.-Lyne)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Talbot, Rt. Hn. J.G.(Ox.Univ.)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon||Sir William Walrond and|
|Thornton, Percy M.||Williams, Jos. Powell-(Birm.)||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Griffith, Ellis J.||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)|
|Bainbridge, Emerson||Harwood, George||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. J.B.(Clackm.||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Billson, Alfred||Hazell, Walter||Provand, Andrew Dryburgh|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Healy, Timothy M. (N. Louth)||Redmond, John E.(Waterford)|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Hedderwick, Thomas Chas. H.||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Burt, Thomas||Holland, W. H. (York, W.R.)||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Horniman, Frederick John||Sinclair, Capt. J. (Forfarshire|
|Caldwell, James||Jacoby, James Alfred||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Cameron, Robert (Durham)||Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Kinloch, Sir John G. Smyth||Souttar, Robinson|
|Carew, James Laurence||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid(Cumb'land||Spicer, Albert|
|Carmichael, Sir T. D Gibson-||Leng, Sir John||Steadman, William Charles|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Lloyd-George, David||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Macaleese, Daniel||Strachey, Edward|
|Crilly, Daniel||M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Crombie, John William||M'Crae, George||Tennant, Harold John|
|Curran, Thomas (Sligo, S.)||M'Ewan, William||Thomas, A. (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Ghee, Richard||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Maddison, Fred||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Davitt, Michael||Maden, John Henry||Williams, John Carvell(Notts.|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Mellor, Rt. Hon. J.W. (Yorks.)||Wills, Sir William Henry|
|Doogan, P. C.||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Wilson, Charles Henry (Hull)|
|Duckworth. James||Moulton, John Fletcher||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Dunn, Sir William||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Woodhouse, Sir J. T. (Hud'sfield|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Woods, Samuel|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Connor, Arthur (Donegal)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Foster, Sir W. (Derby Co.)||O'Connor, James(Wicklow, W.||Sir Charles Dilke and Mr. Dillon.|
|Gourley, Sir E. Temperley||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Palmer, Sir CharlesM.(Durh'm|
Bill read the third time, and passed.
§ MR. DILLON
This Amendment deals with the composition of the Agricultural Board which, under this Act, is constituted as follows: Two Members elected by each of the provincial committees, which makes, in all, eight elected members, and four nominated by the Crown, making in all 12. That gives the Crown one-third of the entire number, but that does not represent the actual position of the board, because the provincial committees have a large element of nominated members. My Amendment would have the effect of doubling the number of elected representatives, bringing the total number of the board up to sixteen. Consequently the Department would still have the nomination of one-fourth of the entire board. When I moved this Amendment in Grand Committee the Chief Secretary said it would make the board too large, and that the proportion of nominated members to the total number was settled by the Government 108 on lines similar to those adopted in foreign countries. I ask the Chief Secretary to explain to the House what is the reason for the extraordinary disparity that exists from the point of view of the influence of the popularly elected member between the composition of the Board of Agriculture and the Board of Technical Instruction under this Bill. The Board of Technical Instruction consists of twenty-four members, six from Dublin and Belfast (three each); one to be appointed by the joint committee from the rural districts of the County of Dublin; four by the borough councils of Ireland; three by the Chambers of Commerce; four by the provincial committees of each province; one by the Commissioners of National Education; one by the Intermediate Education Board, and four by the Department, which is one-sixth of the whole number. On the Agricultural Board you have one-third of the whole 109 number nominated by the Department. That is a very extraordinary anomaly and one which I think needs explanation. The functions of the two boards are precisely similar, and I cannot see why it is necessary or on what ground the Board of Agriculture should be constituted on a more official basis than the Board of Technical Instruction. I have another strong argument. Under the Bill as it stands only two representatives are allowed in each province, which number I hold is totally inadequate to represent them properly, and it is sure to lead to a great deal of difficulty. I would draw the special attention of the House to this point. Why is it necessary to give to compact units like the City of Dublin and Belfast three representatives each, and only give two to a whole province? Surely everybody will admit that even if the population of Munster, Connaught, or Ulster were as small as the population of Belfast or Dublin, being scattered over a wide area they require a larger representation than those city communities. As a matter of fact the populations of the provinces are much larger than these cities, and yet you only give them two representatives while the cities have three. I can see no solid ground upon which this differentiation can be based. When the Chief Secretary falls back upon his contention that by increasing the numbers the Board of Agriculture would be made too large and unwieldy, I answer that it would be smaller than the number of the Technical Instruction Board is as arranged under the Bill. If a board of twenty-four can do the work of the Technical Instruction Board I cannot understand why a board of sixteen is too large for the Board of Agriculture. I do not think it will be possible to get anything like a full attendance of the board at any meeting, because, often through sickness or urgent business, a man may be prevented from attending, because the work is purely voluntary, and it is possible that from these causes alone some of the provinces may not be represented at all at some of the meetings. These are views which I strongly hold, and I appeal to the Chief Secretary to meet us in this matter.
In page 4, line 29, to leave out the word 'two,' and insert the word 'four,' instead thereof."—(Mr. Dillon.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'two' stand part of the Bill."
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
The hon. Member for East Mayo has drawn a comparison between the Board of Technical Instruction and the Board of Agriculture, and he has asked why the former has twenty-four members, while we are unwilling to allow more than twelve for the Board of Agriculture. I should have been quite content to cut down the Technical Instruction Board to twelve, because I am convinced that a board of twelve members is decidedly more efficient than a board of twenty-four. After a great deal of careful consideration of all the various interests which have to be represented on the Board of Technical Instruction, I could not see how I could very well cut the numbers down, unless it was by giving to Belfast, Dublin, and Cork the same representation as the county boroughs. I am afraid that if I had made that proposal Belfast and Dublin would have objected, and I am not anxious to incur the hostility of these two cities. Therefore, I thought I would give this extra representation to these two cities, and I do not see how it is possible, consistently with something like equality, to give Dublin and Belfast less than three representatives. I can assure the hon. Member that there is no sinister arrière pensée behind the proposal contained in the Bill. I still think that a board of twelve in the case of the Technical Instruction Board would have been a more efficient body than it is now, and I certainly think that twelve is a better number for the Agricultural Board.
§ MR. DAVITT (Mayo, S.)
The right hon. Gentleman looked with alarm at having to face the opposition of Belfast and Dublin, but he is evidently not afraid of a possible rising in the provinces by limiting their representation on a most important board to so small a number. I very much regret that the right hon. Gentleman has not seen his way to accept my hon. friend's Amendment. I am sure that he is anxious to make this Bill popular in Ireland, and he would undoubtedly make it more workable if he rendered it more popular, and I am sure he would do that if he increased the number of representatives for the provinces. I can assure him that we are not ani- 111 mated by any desire to render any of these councils or boards unwieldy, and if he is satisfied that twenty-four members on the Technical Instruction Board will enable that part of the work to be well done, surely a smaller number on the Agricultural Board will enable the work of that Department to be carried out just as well. I am sorry that the Chief Secretary has not seen his way to accept this Amendment, and I trust the right hon. Gentleman will yet be able to reconsider his decision.
§ MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)
I do hope the Government will agree to this proposal, for even if my hon. friend's Amendment is carried it will still give the Government one-fifth of the Board to nominate, which I think would be quite enough for all purposes. I think it must be admitted that two for each province is a very limited representation of the popular voice. It is very desirable that men elected on this Argricultural Board should be thoroughly competent and able to speak for the various interests they represent, and I think it is desirable, having regard to the importance of the agricultural industry, that each province should have one representative for ordinary farming, another for the dairy interest, and another to represent the labouring community. I quite agree with the views put forward by the hon. Member for East Mayo, that while you have only two representatives for each large province you will experience great difficulty of selection so as to get all interests fairly represented, and it will be very much better if the number is increased. Although the right hon. Gentleman does not appear to look with favour upon this proposal, I hope he has not said the last word on it.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
This is not a very large matter, and I hope the Government will give way. Surely this Bill is getting through the House upon very easy terms, and when an Amendment is proposed which does not raise any question of principle, I think the Government might accept it.
§ SIR THOMAS ESMONDE
I think the right hon. Gentleman might make the number three in each province, for this would not make any practical difference in the working of the Board. At 112 present you have twelve, and if you accept this, it will only make the number 16. Three members from each province would allow all classes to be represented, whereas the present number will really interfere with its working. I do hope that the right hon. Gentleman will agree to allow three members from, each province.
§ MR. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
I may point out that the four members to be appointed by the Department will be gentlemen who can give constant and regular attendance, but, from the necessity of the case, the representatives of the provinces will scarcely be able to attend so regularly. Then I think the labouring community ought to have some representation on this body, and if you have only two representatives the chances of the labour element being directly represented will be very remote indeed. I think for that reason alone the Government ought to accept the Amendment in favour of three representatives, and thus give all classes in Ireland who are interested in agriculture a fair opportunity of being represented on this Board, which is going to perform such important functions.
§ MR. MICHAEL AUSTIN (Limerick, W.)
I do not quite understand the position of the Chief Secretary. If the agricultural population is 70 per cent. of the entire population, the Agricultural Board becomes the more important of the two. If the Technical Instruction Board has twenty-four members under this Bill, the agricultural element, according to the ratio of population, as contrasted with the industrial element, ought to have a representation on the Agricultural Board of over fifty members. I also wish to say a few words in support of the view of my hon. friend the Member for North Cork. Throughout the entire progress of this Bill there has been evidenced by the Chief Secretary a desire to avoid the representation of the labour element. In the Grand Committee that was evidenced most strongly, and we have it again in the Agricultural Board, that no representation whatever will be given to the interest most affected. The representation, as proposed, will lead to the undue representation of the large landed interest, but why should those who work and toil, and are the bone and sinew of the country not be fairly represented? I contend 113 that the Agricultural Board should be double the number at present proposed. Surely it is not too much to ask the Chief Secretary, at this stage of the proceedings, to reconsider his decision with regard to the matter.
§ MR. DILLON
Before we proceed to a Division, may I be permitted to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he would even go so far as to say that he will consider this matter with an open mind between now and the Committee stage in another place? If he will, I will not take a Division.
§ MR. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)
I would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to consider the advantage of increasing the representation of the provincial committee of each province from two to three. If ho increased the representation from two to three, he might provide that in the election of three members from each province no elector should vote for more than two, and thus introduce the element of proportional representation.
§ LORD EDMOND FITZMAURICE (Wiltshire, Cricklade)
I hope the Chief Secretary will be able to accept the offer which has been made by my hon. friend the Member for East Mayo. I had the honour of presiding over the Committee upstairs, and that is my only reason for interposing at this stage. The only objection that has been stated is that there might be some risks in making the board too large, and therefore to a certain extent, unworkable. It seems to me that the numbers would not be very great if this Amendment were accepted. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman might see his way, after the offer of my hon. friend, to reconsider the subject.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
I am prepared to consider the point between now and the time when this Bill reaches another place. With regard to the pet subject of my right hon. friend, I am afraid I cannot hold out any hope that I shall be able to satisfy him.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Other Amendments made.114
§ Motion made, and Question proposed "That the Bill be read the third time."—(Mr. G.W. Balfour.)
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I congratulate the Government on getting the Bill through so easily. I only rose to take exception to one point. I had intended to say on the Second Reading that I thought it was open to some doubts whether the £12,000 provided for in Clause 15, out of the saving raised by the abolition of the judgeships, was a sufficient sum. We have had no statement whatever from the Treasury, nor any figures given us to show how this sum is arrived at. In my opinion the amount required will be not £12,000, but a much larger sum. I think the time has arrived when Irish Members of all sections—Conservative or Liberal—should be prepared to attack the Treasury upon their figures at every hand's turn, and to insist upon some kind of Select Committee in regard to it. We have had to take upon trust the statement that £12,000 is a sufficient sum. In dealing with public accounts, we should have some body in this House which would be able to cross-examine these Treasury experts, for the purpose of finding out on what basis their figures are arrived at. I also desire to take some exception to the expenditure for the Inland and Sea Fisheries Fund. In my opinion you will find that it really did not arise for State purposes at all, and therefore the State has no claim to dispose of this fund in the manner proposed. What we should like really to investigate is whether the large salvages of public money, which are annually transmitted as unexpended money, should go back, not to the British Treasury, but to some board such as this on all future occasions. You have at the present moment in Ireland a Public Votes Office, where Scotch and English gentlemen are simply agents for the Treasury, and do not spend the money which this House votes. This House is led to believe that large sums voted for public purposes have been spent; but in point of fact these gentlemen, by a secret process, intercept the money in transit, and prevent it reaching the Departments upon which the money ought so be expended, pouring the money back again into the lap of the Treasury. I therefore say that the time has arrived when some serious 115 step will have to be taken by Irish Members to overlook the system of expenditure by the British Treasury. At one time we had the promise of some safeguard with regard to the expenditure of the money. Now we have no protection whatever. We depend upon a knot of English officials, whose one idea is to bleed Ireland white, and to get as much money as they can out of us, and to give us as little back as possible. Under these circumstances, while congratulating the Government upon the passage of the Bill, it must not be supposed for a moment that I accept the figures given by the Treasury under Section 15.
§ MR. POWER
By this Bill the Government take over the looking after of the fisheries of Ireland, and I hope sincerely they may be able to do some good in that direction, because we all recognize that those fisheries are capable of great development. I rose particularly to call the attention of the Irish Secretary to what occurred in Supply on Friday night, when I raised the question of the way in which the Admiralty treat us with regard to the protection of our fisheries. All the trawlers which are driven from the English, Welsh, and Scotch coasts come over to our coast, and the result is they are doing a great deal of damage to the lines and trammels and nets of the fishermen. The Bill which was passed some years ago is absolutely useless. The proposition and suggestion I made was that, seeing it is absolutely impossible that the working staff under this present Bill could be ready in a very short time, pending the completion of arrangements, the Admiralty might lend a gunboat or two to enforce these bye-laws. The First Lord of the Treasury most considerately said he would confer with the First Lord of the Admiralty and the Chief Secretary on the subject, and he hoped something would be done satisfactorily for the Irish fisheries. What I ask now is that the Irish Secretary should not allow the House to separate before he meets the First Lord of the Admiralty and the Leader of the House, so that something may be done to stop the system which it has been found necessary to stop on your own coasts, and which is working great harm to our already rather poor fisheries.
§ * MR. WILLIAM JOHNSTON
I should like to call the attention of the Chief Secretary to an institution almost on a par with the Munster Institution. There has been recently established the Ulster Agricultural and Dairy School and Henry Trust, on a farm of fifty acres, with a sum of £12,000 in the funds, an accumulation of money left by the late Mr. Thomas Henry, to found a school in the parish of Down. The Lord Chancellor has recently sanctioned the scheme to carry out the trust, which embraces the admission of girls as well as boys. While not in the least grudging the Munster Institution and the Albert Institution the well-deserved grants which are given by this Bill, I should like to claim for this Ulster School some consideration. I trust that the Government will consider the claims of the Ulster Agricultural School, which proposes to benefit the whole of the province, to share in the benefits which are conferred on the Munster School by the Bill. I have now only to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman, the Government, and Ireland generally, upon the achievement we shall witness to-day in the passing of this Bill, which all parts of the country are unanimous in approving.
§ SIR.THOMAS ESMONDE
I also desire to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the passage of this Bill. It is an extremely useful measure, and one which will confer benefits on Ireland which will become greater and greater as years go on. The hon. Member for North Louth has raised a very important question in the few remarks he addressed to the House, a question which I hope we shall be able to follow up in another session, but which I do not intend to deal with now. I should like to say a few words about the matter mentioned by my hon. friend the Member for East Water-ford. Like him, I am very much interested in the sea-fishing industry, and have to complain of the enormous amount of damage which is done by steam trawlers which come to the waters in the Irish bays and harbours, and carry on their trawling depredations absolutely unhindered. We simply want the Fishery Board to have the use of a couple of gunboats to hunt these gentry away. I think, in consideration of the contribution 117 we make to the naval defence of the Empire, we might have that protection. As to this present Bill, the whole success or non-success of the measure will depend on its administration, and inasmuch as it has been supported as a non-political measure, I hope, in the appointments which the right hon. Gentleman is going to make in connection with the various boards and institutions under the Bill, he will make those also non-political. The right hon. Gentleman will be deluged with applications for appointments under the Bill, and I am certain he will do what we want him to do; that is, give the appointments to the best men he can possibly get. A number of these appointments will probably have to be given to foreigners, as, even in Ireland, we cannot produce experts in certain departments. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will act with a wise discretion, and appoint the men who, in his opinion, will work this measure so as to produce the greatest amount of benefit to the people of Ireland.
§ MR. DAVITT
I trust the Chief Secretary will respond to the appeal made by the hon. Member for South Belfast in favour of organising in Ulster an institution similar to that in Munster, because I think Connaught would then have a very good chance of obtaining one also. I fully agree with the remarks of the hon. Member for North Louth, with regard to the finance of the Bill. It is absurd to propose to improve the great agricultural and allied industries of Ireland by the niggardly allowance of what will amount to about 3d. per head of the population per annum. At the same time, our people are overtaxed in proportion to their capacity to the extent of 15s. per head per annum for the benefit of the voracious English Treasury. There is another marked contrast in the finance of this measure. At the present time, in one of the most crimeless countries in the world, a constabulary force has to be maintained at a cost of about 17s. per head per annum. Upstairs, I ventured to give, in sporting language, a "straight tip "to the Chief Secretary as to how he could raise enough money to enable the machinery of this Bill to confer great benefits upon Irish industries, viz., that the Royal Irish Constabulary should be reduced by one-third, by which means an annual sum of £400,000 would be saved, which would 118 be available for subsidising the various industries under this Bill, and for the furtherance of the interests of Irish agriculture and technical instruction. I sincerely hope the Chief Secretary will take this suggestion of mine into consideration, and that at a not very distant date it may be carried into effect.
§ * MR. ARTHUR MOORE (Londonderry)
I desire to associate myself with the congratulations to the Chief Secretary on the passage of this Bill. Now that he has got his Bill, and the House has given him a practically free hand, I think we are entitled to ask the Chief Secretary to give us the very best men to work the Bill, no matter what part of the world they happen to come from. I supported the right hon. Gentleman through thick and thin, and perhaps I could not exactly defend all I voted for, but I took the measure as a whole. I believe it will be a useful Bill, because with a decaying population such as that of Ireland, the only possible remedy is education and industry. I would have wished that this Bill were the crowning stone of a great educational policy. Instead of having it this year, I would prefer to have had a great educational Bill from which we could work steadily up. This Bill ought to have followed a large educational measure, which would have rendered it more fruitful. I earnestly hope the right hon. Gentleman will proceed with this industrial policy, which began with the Congested Districts Board, was renewed again with that Board, was exemplified in the extension of light railways, especially in the north-west of Ireland, and is crowned to-day with this industrial measure.
§ MR. DILLON
I have no objection to the Third Reading of the Bill being taken at this period, and I venture to express the hope that the measure may be of benefit to Ireland. I thank the Chief Secretary for the manner in which he has met those of us who engaged in the discussion of this Bill. On many important matters he remained obdurate, but on other important, though minor, matters he met us fairly, and the Bill is now a better Bill. I have been, of course, made the object of much criticism, because I insisted from the beginning that a Bill dealing with such vital and impor- 119 tant matters should not be passed through the House of Commons sub silentio. I think what has occurred has fully justified my action. I admit I was not satisfied, and am not yet satisfied that this Bill was not discussed in a full Committee of the House. It was represented to us truly, no doubt, that that was impossible at the present stage of the session. But that is no answer to us. We were entitled to have the Bill introduced earlier. But be that as it may, we have obtained very considerable and under the circumstances a fair amount of discussion. It has been said by two hon. Members that the great and vital question as to whether this Bill is to be beneficial or not now largely depends on the spirit of its administration. The hon. Baronet the Member for West Kerry gave the Chief Secretary some excellent advice, and I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman will obtain advice on the same lines from many other quarters. I will, however, remain sceptical until I see some concrete proof of a determination on the part of the Irish Government to break its record. I do not question the good intentions of the right hon. Gentleman. I believe he honestly means to do what the hon. Baronet urged him to do, namely, in making appointments under this Act to turn his back on the traditions of the Irish Government, and to look only on the merits of the men. As the hon. Baronet correctly stated, the Chief Secretary is the miserable recipient of innumerable applications for positions. An official stated within my hearing, when 5,000 was mentioned as the probable number of applications already received, that that was infinitely beneath the proper number. I have no doubt the right hon. Gentleman will endeavour to appoint the best men. I hope he may succeed, but if he does appoint men who have no political pull, and whose only qualifications are their merits, the very clothes will be torn off his back and he will be driven out of Ireland before very long. The right hon. Gentleman provided the machinery of this measure on his own lines. He attached very great importance to the proposal that he should have control of, and full responsibility for the working of this Act, and our proposal to the contrary was defeated. He is the Department, and nobody can say that he has not full 120 control, and he said because he had experience he was the proper man to bring the Act into operation. I greatly fear, however, that the traditions which cluster round Dublin Castle, and which are very largely the cause of the hatred we bear to that institution, will prove too strong for him, and that men will receive appointments whose only claims are based on political services.
§ MR. FLYNN
I desire to congratulate the Chief Secretary on the ability and perseverance he has shown in piloting this Bill through all its stages, but I cannot congratulate the Government on the manner in which this Bill is to receive Third Reading this evening. It was brought in under the Ten minutes' rule, and the Government sought by one means or another to evade all discussion on it, and they thought we ought to accept the principle of take it or leave it. I congratulate my hon. friend the Member for East Mayo, and his friends, who believed that the Bill should be subjected to discussion and criticism, and I join with him in believing that the Bill has emerged from the Committee stage better in some respects, and certainly modified in others. We had hoped we might have been able to stamp the Bill with more democratic characteristics, but on that we were not successful, though I, as one who took a small part in that direction, am pleased that I took that part. I join with all my colleagues in asking the right hon. Gentleman, in the appointments he is going to make, to rise superior to the considerations which officially surround him and to the traditions of Dublin Castle, and expressing the hope that he will appoint men not because of their connection with politics, but because they are men thoroughly conversant with the great questions of industry and agriculture with which the Department will have to deal.
§ MR. G. W. BALFOUR
Before the Bill is read a third time I would wish to make a few remarks on the speeches to which we have just listened. The hon. and learned Member for North Louth criticises the sufficiency of the sum of £12,000 provided by the Treasury I think if the hon. and learned Member examines this question further he will feel that on this occasion the Treasury have not been ungenerous. The sum of £5,500 121 a year represents the saving made by the abolition of judgeships and the consolidation of courts, but as a matter of fact up to the present there has been no saving, and there cannot be any saving for a considerable number of years. Of course, any estimate must be to some extent speculative, but I believe that, in getting the sum of £12,000, Ireland is getting more than she would get if the exact sum had been carefully calculated by the Treasury year by year. As to the Sea and Coast Fisheries Fund, the hon. and learned Member is quite correct in stating that in its origin, some fifty years ago, that sum was derived from private contributions, but it has been administered for a considerable time past by some department connected with the Irish Government. The hon. Member for East Waterford appealed to me to use my influence with the Admiralty to secure the services of a couple of gunboats to protect the Irish fisheries, and the hon. Member attributed the injury inflicted in the Irish fisheries by trawlers, to the fact that there are no regulations with regard to the trawling in Ireland similar to the Scotch law. I think this is a question not so much of law as of administration. Ever since I came to the Irish Office, I have felt very strongly that the administration of the Irish fisheries was not what I should like to see it, and that trawlers committed depredations to a large extent unchecked. I have done what I could in the matter. I have constantly pressed the Admiralty for the services of a vessel, but the Admiralty have come to the conclusion that it is not a part of their duty to police the sea for fishery purposes. Every now and again I have succeeded in obtaining the services of a gunboat where some flagrant case of illegality was committed, but, of course, long before the gunboat arrived on the scene, the trawler had disappeared. I have come to the conclusion that nothing short of placing at the disposal of this Department a swift vessel will at all meet the case. As the hon. Member for East Waterford is aware, I have inserted in this Bill an express provision enabling the Department to expend money for the supervision and protection of fishing grounds, and the enforcement of local bye-laws. I am quite willing to accept the suggestion of the hon. Member, but the position taken up by the Admiralty does not leave much room for hope of a large 122 measure of success. However, I will make every effort to secure gunboats. I think that the remaining observations that have been made are merely of a general character. The hon. Baronet the Member for West Kerry exhorted me to exercise care in making the appointments under the Act, and not to make them political rewards. Sir, the Irish Government have had the policy embodied in this Bill in their serious consideration for years. For four years the subject has been dwelling in my mind. I actually prepared a Bill the first year I was in office. In the following year a Bill was introduced, but had to be withdrawn, to make way for the Local Government Bill, and now we have had this Bill which is now being passed. I can say from my heart that it shall be my endeavour to make it a success. I recognise most thoroughly that the success of this measure depends to a very large extent on the way in which it is administered, and it will be my strenuous endeavour to get the very best men to carry it out. In conclusion, I beg to thank hon. Members from Ireland for the kind way in which they have spoken of this Bill, and the intentions of the Government in introducing it, and for their co-operation in passing it through the House.