HC Deb 28 March 1899 vol 69 cc653-4

The question of the decision of the magistrates in regard to the industrial schools in Ireland was brought before this House and fully discussed not long ago, and I do not think that the honourable Member's observations have added much to the subject in any respect. The honourable Member is under some misconception with regard to the matter. He seems to think that the magistrates act under the rules issued by the Executive, but that is not so.


In the sense of how a certain section of the Act is to be construed, they do.


Section 52 is very important, but there are only two paragraphs in the circular of which the honourable Member can possibly complain, but which in order to remove any misunderstanding upon the subject it was necessary to put in. How' it can be claimed that that Circular compels the Act of Parliament to be read in a certain way I cannot imagine; that is a point which my right honourable Friend the Attorney-General went into. But perhaps I had better state shortly what my own views are with regard to this question, and the abuses which have gone on for so many years under the industrial school system. The object of the Circular is not merely for the sake of saving a certain amount of money to the Exchequer, but we thought it right to call the attention of the magistrates to the Act. The reason we have done so, in the first place, is, that when Acts of Parliament are manifestly abused every day, it is necessary that the intention of the Acts should be called to the attention of those who administer them. This Act was never intended to relieve mere destitution; it was intended for the purpose of rescuing children who were in danger of being dragged into the vortex of criminality through their surroundings. That is the real object of the Act.