HC Deb 26 July 1900 vol 86 cc1290-5

Order for consideration, as amended road.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

said of course he offered no opposition whatever to the Bill, but he wanted to know what was the position taken by the Government in regard to the recommendations made by the Joint Committee. The Amendments on the Paper in his name were all agreed Amendments. They were very numerous, but they were agreed to between the Dublin Corporation and the Dublin County Council and the other local authorities, and they were entirely non-contentious. One of the Amendments was not to be moved, because it was objected to by the county council. He had now to express the hope that the chairman of the Joint Committee, Sir U. Kay-Shuttleworth, would be good enough to say a few words as to the position taken up by himself and the other members of the Joint Committee as to what should be done next session. There was a strong desire that an equalisation of rates should be made extending over the entire townships. He congratulated the chairman of the Committee on having proposed the recommendations with the unanimous assent both of the Members of the House of Commons and of the House of Lords forming the Committee. He thought he had done them very considerable service, but at the same time he did not say that Dublin did not wish for considerably more than they had got. Still they would take what they could get. He was sure that Sir U. Kay-Shuttleworth would back up his recommendations, and he trusted that the Government would be induced next session to bring in a Bill as suggested. This was not the first time that local government matters had been dealt with in public Bills.

SIR U. KAY-SHUTTLEWORTH (Lancashire, Clitheroe)

Perhaps after the appeal made to me by my hon. and learned friend I shall be expected by the House to say a word or two, having had the honour to be chairman of the Joint Committee which for twenty-five days sat to consider this very contentious matter. We were practically unanimous, although we were unable to come to a unanimous view on some important points. Having failed to arrive at a unanimous view on those points, we did our best to arrange a compromise which, as we think, will carry out the main objects of the Bill, which are acceptable to us all. I am happy to say that in that we were successful. My hon. and learned friend has alluded to two points on which he is anxious to know what line the Government are likely to take. For that, of course, I cannot speak with any authority, but I should like to impress upon the Government publicly what I have done privately—namely, the justice and importance, and I might even say the necessity, of spreading the burden which now falls so heavily upon Central Dublin, upon the poorest of the poor, over the whole of Dublin, so that the richest townships, the residential parts of the town, should con tribute their proportion towards the burden of taxation. I attach great importance to that. I do not think the strong sense of injustice now existing among the inhabitants of the city of Dublin can possibly be overcome unless the Government apply the same principle to Dublin as has been applied with so much success to London in the shape of the equalisation of rates. If Belgravia did not contribute as much as it does to the rates which fall so heavily upon the East End of London there would be a great scandal. Now that has been remedied in London, and I hope Her Majesty's Government may feel the absolute necessity of applying the same principle as has been applied with so much success in London to lighten the burden falling upon the poorer parts of Dublin. There is another point on which the Committee made a unanimous recommendation, which I hope the Government will consider. We were convinced that it would be absolutely absurd if the two drainage systems were to continue to exist side by side over the drainage area in Dublin, one dealing with untreated sewage falling into the bay within the city walls, while the system now being carried out by the Corporation of Dublin treats its sewage in a scientific way, which results in a comparatively pure effluent being poured out at the very point where Rathmines and Pembroke are discharging the impure effluent. There would be a great advantage in having a joint drainage board to manage the whole business of drainage, and the advantage would not be confined to having the drainage treated alike over both parts. There would be an immense advantage in having the necessary burden spread over the rich districts as well as the poor. It would be a further advantage, in the opinion of the Committee, if the three governing bodies —Pembroke, Rathmines, and Dublin— were to work on the same board, as they might learn to respect each other in managing that great business together. I have ventured to press upon the Chief Secretary and the Attorney General for Ireland the views of the Committee on this subject. I understand the position they take up is this—they assure those who are interested in the subject, as all members of the Committee necessarily are after their laborious inquiry, that they will give the most careful consideration to the Committee's suggestions, and that they will forward their answer to the corporation before the month of November, in order that the corporation may be free to take such steps as it feels it its duty to do, supposing the Government do not deal with the question. I earnestly hope that, in view of this special inquiry by a Joint Committee of both Houses, and of the unanimous recommendations to which they have been able to agree, Her Majesty's Government will take up those points. If the Committee's recommendations are carried out, we shall consider that very good fruit has resulted from our labours.

Question proposed, "That the Bill be now considered."

Bill considered.

A Clause added.

Amendments made.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Standing Orders 223 and 243 be suspended, and that the Bill be now read the third time."—(Mr. Galdwell.)

MR. WHITMORE (Chelsea)

said that as a member of the Joint Committee he would be sorry if the House passed the Third Reading without an expression of opinion from some members of the Committee who sat on the Ministerial side of the House in support of the appeal made by the right hon. Baronet. He certainly was as much in earnest as the right hon. Baronet in hoping that the Government would give effect as soon as possible to the unanimous Report of the Joint Committee. He attached very great importance to the practical suggestions it contained. He was perfectly certain that the constitution of a joint drainage board would be fruitful of good results. It was rather interesting to remember that the Central Government of London really owed its existence to the institution of a drainage board for this great metropolis. While he personally felt unable to bring Rathmines and Pembroke, against their obvious desire, into the corporation, he did earnestly hope that the Government would give effect to the recommendations of the Committee.

SIR ROBERT MOWBRAY (Lambeth, Brixton)

said he should like to associate himself, also as a supporter of the Government, with the appeal made by the chairman of the Joint Committee and by his hon. friend the Member for Chelsea. He held the strongest possible opinion that this question should be settled on the lines they had recommended, and he earnestly hoped, therefore, that the Government would give serious attention to the recommendations of the Committee, and would carry them into law within a very short period of time.


thought it was very greatly to be regretted that Government were, apparently, not ready to respond to the strong and unanimous appeal of the members of the Committee. It was unique, in the case of private Bills, that the members of the Conservative party as well as those belonging to the Liberal party on the Committee should join together in an appeal to the Government to make a statement as to their intentions on that particular subject. He would like to ask the Chief Secretary whether the Government would bring in a public Bill to carry out the recommendations, because, unless they did so, or announced their intention of doing so, the Dublin Corporation would be compelled in its own defence to undertake the expense of again introducing a private Bill to annex these two townships. If the Government would give the pledge asked for it would be a saving of public time and money.


I am afraid I am not in a position to go beyond what has been already said by the First Lord of the Treasury— namely, that the matter will receive the careful consideration that a recommendation from so important a body as this Committee deserves. At the same time I must say, with reference to what has fallen from the hon. and learned Gentleman, that on Friday I saw the Lord Mayor of Dublin, who made a similar request, and I informed him that, although I could not give him an answer at the present time, I would give him an answer before the end of November as to the course the Government intend to adopt—in other words, that a definite answer should be given by the Government before it becomes necessary that the corporation should go to any expense in the matter of bringing in a new Bill to deal with the question next year. I hope the answer will be satisfactory.

MR, HARWOOD (Bolton)

said that, as the only other member of the Joint Committee in that House, he would like to support the appeal. Reference had been made to one side of the House and the other side of the House, but there had been no side of the House on the Committee. They were absolutely unanimous, not by any management, but by their own impulse. They believed that the state of the housing of the poor was a social danger in Dublin, and he hoped the Chief Secretary would give the matter his most careful attention.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the third time, and passed.