HC Deb 01 March 1900 vol 79 cc1456-7

Motion made, and Question proposed— "That leave be given to introduce a Bill to amend the Charitable Loan Societies (Ireland) Act, 1843."—(The Attorney General for Ireland.)

MR. DILLON () Mayo, E.

This Bill is in danger of becoming a hardy annual. It has been introduced now for two successive years, but the Government have made no effort to pass it into law. If the Bill were so drawn that it would do what is claimed for it, it would probably pass without any discussion whatever. A great many Members from the North of Ireland are deeply interested in this Bill, and I think we are entitled to ask for some statement of the policy the Government intend to pursue in the present session. Is the Bill to be again introduced, hung up, put off from day to day, and no attempt made to carry it through? There exists no desire to obstruct the Bill. It has been introduced to meet a most scandalous state of things, which has arisen entirely from the gross neglect by the Government of Ireland of their own business. These loan societies are not private ventures; they are societies instituted under a statute with sixty sections passed in 1843, which was taken by both debenture holders and borrowers to give the security of a careful Government inspection under which no abuse could possibly arise. But what has happened? For a long period of years these loan societies have been nests of the grossest possible abuse, and all rules have been set at defiance. Inasmuch as the loss is directly the result of the neglect of its duty by the Irish Government, some portion of the loss which must be incurred by borrowers and debenture holders ought to be borne by the public funds. Under this Bill great injustice will be done, and I do not see how it can be avoided unless the Government, come to the rescue. I desire to impress that view upon the Attorney General at the outset, and to ask that he will give reasonable notice to the whips of the Irish party so that those Members whose constituents are deeply interested in this matter can have an opportunity of fully discussing the proposal.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Attorney General for Ireland and Mr. G. W. Balfour.