HC Deb 22 February 1900 vol 79 cc789-90

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether any member of the Committee appointed to inquire into the Administration of the Patriotic Fund is an Irishman or Roman Catholic; and if not, whether, considering that Irish Roman Catholics are taking such a part in the South African War, and that consequently their families are likely to be largely dependent upon this fund, he will see that an Irish Roman Catholic is appointed to look after their interests, especially as a large portion of the existing fund is invested for the benefit of Roman Catholic children.

The following questions on the same subject also appeared on the Paper—

MR. M'KENNA () Monmouth, N.

To ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether the inquiry by the proposed Committee upon the Royal Patriotic Final and other similar funds is to be directed to the determination of some method of general organisation by which those funds may be turned to the best advantage, or whether the inquiry is to be more limited in its scope, and confined to the consideration as to how far these funds can be drawn upon and most advantageously expended in the present emergency.


To ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether in view of the expression of public feeling upon the exclusion from the proposed Committee upon the Royal Patriotic Fund and other similar funds of Members of the House of Commons who have special knowledge of the matters to be inquired into, he will consider the advisability of adding one or more of such Members to the Committee.


I will, with the permission of the House, reply to the three questions dealing with the Patriotic Fund together. As regards the first question I think the hon. Gentleman will see that there is no subject in the question referred to the Committee involving the distribution of the fund relating to the interests of different religious denominations. The hon. Gentleman may rest satisfied that no such distinction as he appears to suggest has ever interfered, or ever will interfere, with the adequate distribution of public subscriptions among the sufferers. As to the second question, I am unwilling to give the House a, special interpretation of the general reference to the Committee which I read to the House the other day, but I should conceive that the subjects mentioned in the hon. Gentleman's question come within the scope of the reference. As to the third question, I have already explained to the House that there are very strong reasons for keeping the Committee within narrow limits, and excluding from it persons who have taken a strong part in the controversies surrounding the subject.


I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is a fact that £35,000 are invested in this fund for the special benefit of Catholic children, and, if so, is it not reasonable that a Catholic should be added to the Committee?


I am not aware of the fact, but I will inquire if the hon. Gentleman so desires. But he may depend upon it that if £35,000 were so allocated they will be so applied.


The fact is as I have stated.