§ (2.35.) Mr. WYNDHAM
In asking leave to introduce a Bill "to further amend the law relating to local government in Ireland, and for other purposes connected therewith," I may shortly explain that the measure does not embody any great question of policy. Still, to avoid misconception, it is necessary that I should introduce it in a few words. Local Government has been in force in Ireland during a period of more than three years, and in the course of that time certain defects have been revealed, giving rise in some cases to inconvenience, sometimes to hardship and even injustice. These defects have been brought to the notice of the Government on more than one occasion, generally during the discussions on the Irish Local Government Board Vote. By this Bill it is intended to make good certain undertakings given by the Government, and to remedy any other defects of a character analogous to those which have been dwelt upon in the House. The measure contains a number of provisions of a minor character, and deals, among other things, with the simplification of procedure and lessening the expense in cases where land is taken for roads, to obtain a further discretion in extending the time during which debts payable in respect of poor rate may be paid, to allow certain Urban District Councils to make a 5 per cent. deduction of the proportion of Police and bridge rate required to be raised in their respective districts, and the holding of half-yearly instead of quarterly meetings in certain counties. It will also 1523 place Irish Councils on the same footing as English and Scotch Town Councils in regard to contributions from the general funds of the County Councils. I want to make it clear to the House that I am not proposing any fundamental change in the scheme and general character of the Local Government (Ireland) Act.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
said that any one who had watched the course of business would imagine for a moment that the right hon. Gentleman was introducing a Bill dealing with the really large defects which had been disclosed in the working of the Irish Local Government Act. The only objection he had to the Hill was that it dealt with small defects, and paid no attention to the larger defects which had often been disclosed. The right hon. Gentleman had better make up his mind to submit these measures to adequate discussion in the House, if he desired to get them passed. It had been the practice recently of the right hon. Gentleman to introduce a number of small Bills dealing with important subjects in Ireland, expecting on that account that they should be allowed to go through without discussion. This took place last session; but the time had come when that policy must be abandoned. He would not agree to any of these Bills going through unless they were submitted to the House with adequate opportunity for their discussion.
Bill to further amend the law relating to Local Government in Ireland, and for other purposes connected therewith, ordered to be brought in by Mr. Wyndham and Mr. Attorney General for Ireland.