§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [21st April] "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ Question again proposed.798
§ (2.52.) MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)
said there were two or three matters which he desired to refer to in connection with this Bill. One part of Dublin was the same to him as another, for he held no property in any part of the city, but he thought the House of Commons in the past had cast a good deal of taxation on the north side of Dublin as against the south side. At the present time the rates on the north side were 4d. or 5d. in the £ more than on the south side, and the result of this Bill would be to still further aggravate this evil. Instead of bringing this college of science near to the homes of the poor and the working classes who desired to use it, it was to be erected near the homes of the aristocracy who required it the least. He wished to know who was responsible for the selection of the site of this great institution. He also wished to know whether it would be possible to leave the whole question of the site of this important college to the Select Committee which it was proposed to refer the Bill to. This would be a mere matter of form. Unless this were done the question of the site would be absolutely excluded from the purview of the Committee because it was pre-determined by the positive plans which had been lodged. He thought they were entitled to ask who were the gentlemen who had taken upon themselves the selection of this site in the aristocratic and improving part of the city, which was necessarily the dearest part. The property on the southern side was double the value of that on the northern side, and by taking this site they were lessening to that extent the amount that would be available for the college itself. He did not wish to offer any undue opposition, but he thought there would be a saving of thousands of pounds upon this question of the site alone if the claims of the north side were considered and the aristocracy allowed to emigrate to the other side.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said that they were entitled to know what offices it was proposed to find accommodation for in the new building, and some explanation of the necessity for moving the offices from one site to another. He fully sympathised with the view expressed by 799 the hon. Member for North Louth as to the selection of the site. No doubt it would be said by the Minister in charge of the Bill that the site had been chosen because of its proximity to the National Library and Museum, but after all Dublin was a small place, and one could walk across it in a quarter of an hour. After their experiences of the Government architect it was too much, he feared, to hope that a handsome building would be put up, but why on earth had they selected a site for it in the most expensive residential part of the city? and why were they removing some of the noblest old houses still remaining in Dublin for the purpose of putting up this new structure? The hon. Member for North Louth had spoken of the district as the home of the aristocracy but there was no aristocracy in Ireland.
§ MR. DILLON
added that whatever beggared remnant rejoiced in the name of the aristocracy had already migrated to the other side of the Channel. But these houses, of which any city in Europe might well be proud, were falling into ruin and were deserted, and now it was proposed to spend on the site a sum of £90,000, which could be much more advantageously used for the improvement of the city. He could not understand why such a site had been chosen when one could have been obtained equally good at a quarter of the price.
§ MR. MOONEY (Dublin Co., S.)
reminded the Secretary to the Treasury that, in reply to a question, he had promised, before the Bill left the House, to state definitely what architect would be employed. He rose now to ask who the architect would be who was to be entrusted with the drawing up of the plans for this new college.
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)
said that in the case of public buildings he had always protested against the selection of expensive sites, because he could not see why the taxpayers should be mulcted in heavy charges for rates. He thought the discussion which had taken place justified the House in refusing to allow this Bill to pass.
§ (3.5.) THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE TREASURY (Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN,) Worcestershire, E.
said that hon. Members from Ireland were naturally anxious to know what offices were referred to in this Bill. In the first place, as they were probably aware, the houses which they were proposing to use in connection with the scheme under this Bill, were already in part the property of the Government. The Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, which was the Department immediately concerned, had its offices in the block of houses referred to. That Department did a very important work, and its work had grown very largely since its inception. The available accommodation for this Department was quite insufficient, and this was the first Department for which proper accommodation had to be found. In the second place, he had found the very strongest objection from authorities which he could not question or disregard. At the present time there was overcrowding in the Local Government Board offices.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said that was not so. The clerks under that Board were working under circumstances which, whatever might be the desire of the Treasury to save money, they would not be justified in ignoring after attention had been called to them. It was proposed now to find increased accommodation, and the accommodation set free in the Customs House would be available in part for the Irish branch of the Stationery Office, and partly for the Irish Works Department. Reference had been made by the hon. Member for East Mayo to the architectural beauty of the houses to be dealt with under the scheme. He himself went over to Dublin last autumn for the purpose of seeing this site and of viewing the college site, in order to satisfy himself as to the suitability of the site selected, and as to the necessity of taking over the houses. He saw those houses, and he agreed with the hon. Member for East Mayo that they were very beautiful houses. It was not, however, their intention to pull. 801 those houses down; all they proposed was to adapt them to office use. Of course he could not forecast the future, and anything he now said would not prevent a future Government from dealing with the block of houses as a whole, or pulling them down or altering them more than it was at present proposed to do. It was not their intention to interfere with the structure of the buildings, but simply to adjust their internal arrangements for the purpose of using the houses as offices. Hon. Members would see that what they had provided for in this Bill, so far as those offices were concerned, was only the cost of the site and the buildings upon it. They did not think it was right to put the cost of the adaptation of the houses for the new offices in this Bill, and this expenditure would be provided for in the Works Vote for the current year.
The site they proposed to utilise for the building of the new college was part of the gardens at the back of those houses. He did not think that this was a case in which they ought to build an extravagant building, although they ought to have a building of a suitable character for the work. That was the first and the greatest necessity. He thought the work of a science college might be made of the highest importance to the development of Ireland. He had had an opportunity of conversing with some of the professors in Ireland, and the Professor of Engineering told him that for every pupil who took a certificate there, there was almost an immediate opening in Ireland. This Professor said that the accommodation in the present College of Science was so bad and inefficient that they were unable to train up those who would have been willing to come to Dublin in order to train for positions as civil engineers under Irish local authorities. The consequence was that they had to apply to this country, because Ireland did not offer them efficient training. He thought they ought to provide Ireland with the means of giving that training to Irishmen, and after having received this training they could take their chance of getting appointments in other parts of the United Kingdom. It was very important that they should have a building suitable for those technical purposes.
802 The hon. Member for South Dublin suggested upon a previous occasion that they should have competition in regard to the architect. He doubted whether in such matters competition was ever wise. The English Office of Works had come to the conclusion that none of their most successful buildings had been the result of competition. But, however that might be as a general rule, he was certain that this was not a case to which competition could be applied. The success or non-success of this building depended upon the adaptation of numberless details of internal construction. Therefore he believed they would have to make their selection of an architect without competition. He only mentioned this matter now because he thought that the most important thing with regard to it was that the building should be suitable for the very important work which it would have to perform. He hoped the building would be a credit to Dublin, and be no dishonour to the surroundings in which it found itself. He did not see why they should not get a fine and beautiful building, such as Irishmen might feel proud of, without going to any needless or extravagant expense.
He now came to the reasons for choosing this particular site. He was not altogether a free agent on this question. When he came to the Treasury the matter had to a certain extent been decided. Proposals had been before the House, a Vote of money had been granted by the House, and some of the houses referred to had actually been purchased out of the money so provided in order to make way for this scheme. The whole of the scheme would require thirteen houses in Upper Merrion Street. Of those houses four or five were in possession of the Government. Those houses, or a portion of them, were bought by moneys provided by Parliament for the express purpose of obtaining a site for the College of Science. Therefore, he took it that a portion of the site had already been bought out of moneys provided by Parliament for this purpose, and to that extent the case was prejudiced. He did not in any way doubt the wisdom of the choice. He quite appreciated the desire of hon. Members opposite that all the fine buildings in Dublin should not be concentrated in one spot. Some of those most interested in 803 the work of this college attached enormous importance to the consideration referred to by the hon. Member for East Mayo that the new college should be close to the museum and library. Complaint had been made that the present college, which was separated by something less than five minutes walk from those places, was inconveniently distant. The scheme proposed would bring all these buildings together, and tend to the advantage of the work which was to be carried on. The amount of money the scheme was expected to cost was stated in the Bill, but it would be contrary to his duty to say what portion of the sum it would be necessary to pay to the various interests connected with the property proposed to be acquired. To do so would be to give himself away before going into court, and to prejudge the case, for the benefit not of the Government, but of the private individuals concerned. He thought he had reason to believe that the cost of the site would not be extravagant, and hon. Gentlemen opposite who took an interest in economy, which he admired and shared, need not be afraid that the taxpayers' money was being wasted in this respect.
He had hoped to be able to make the announcement at the present time of the name of the architect selected, and the only reason why he was not able to de so was because no choice had yet been made. He had been in communication with the Chief Secretary for Ireland and the representative of the Board of Agriculture, who were entitled to be approached in the matter, as also with his own advisers at the Office of Works, and they had considered the claims of several architects, both Irish and British. He personally had been most anxious that for a building of this kind, to be erected in the principal city of Ireland, they should receive the assistance and advice of an Irish architect. He thought it might be desirable, for the reasons adverted to by the hon. Member for South Dublin, to associate an Irish architect with an English architect, but he would not like to be held as giving a definite pledge at this stage. He thought hon. Members from Ireland might take it that an Irish architect would be connected with the work, even if it was felt 804 to be necessary to have associated with him an English architect also. He would undertake not to take the Third Reading of the Bill until he was able to give the name of the architect to the House.
§ (3.21) MR. CLANCY
said the speech of the hon. Gentleman would afford a great deal of dissatisfaction to the Irish Members of the House. He thought one of the recommendations of the scheme was that some imposing and magnificent building would be erected on the site.
§ MR. CLANCY
The hon. Member for East Mayo has his view and I have mine, and it is not a vital matter that divides us. It now appeared that what was to be done was to erect this building on the site of the stables at the back of the street. The hon. Gentleman said it would be an imposing building, but who would see it? Nobody would see it from Kildare Street. [An HON. MEMBER: Yes.] He did not believe it. It was to be hidden away on the site of the existing stables attached to the houses. That made the Bill more unsatisfactory to him than he formerly thought it was. They had not been told the amount of money that was to be spent on the purchase of the site. As far as he could see, the Government were going to spend most of the money in renovating the houses for the accommodation of existing public offices.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said he should be sorry that the hon. Member I should base his argument on a misunderstanding of what he said. The money was for the purchase of the site of the houses, and the gardens, and the erection of the College of Science.
§ MR. CLANCY
said this was rather a vital point. He wanted to know how much of the money was to be spent on the renovation of existing Government houses, and how much upon the College of Science. The hon. Gentleman had not told the House who selected the site. It 805 was a humiliating thing to think that in this purely Irish matter the last persons to be consulted were Irishmen. [Mr. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN shook his head.] Had a single Irish representative been consulted Had the Corporation ever been asked a word about it? Had any Irish public body been asked to give its opinion as to the selection of the site? He ventured to I say that they had not, and he would almost go so far as to say that no Irishman occupying any representative position, or any one, except persons connected in some way with the Government, had ever been allowed to have a say or to make a recommendation on the subject. A circumstance like that was to him a source of the utmost humiliation. He supposed the Financial Secretary of the Treasury went over to Ireland with a return ticket in his pocket, and that, with the assistance of another Englishman, he selected the site, without even making known to the Irish public the decision at which he had arrived. He did not then make any Parliamentary proposition which the Irish Members could debate. He supposed that even upon this Bill they should not have had an opportunity for discussion, but that the Government did not know what to do with their time and that I they put it down for the consideration of the House. The hon. Gentleman having selected the site without regard to Irish opinion, and having received the opinion of nobody except a few snobs living in Merrion Square, proceeded to determine in his own mind that the college should be erected on the spot mentioned. The reason he gave was that the building would then be connected with the Department of Agriculture. There was not the slightest reason why the building should he placed in such a position. As had been said, Dublin was a small city—not like Belfast. They might go across the whole city in a tramcar in five minutes, and there was no actual necessity, nor was it highly desirable, that the college should be in the place now proposed, in order that it might be near the Agricultural Department, especially when the Agricultural Department could be removed to the site of the new college. But even if the Agricultural Department and the college were divided from 806 each other, what great harm would there be? One of the hon. Gentleman's plans consequential on the present arrangements was to split up the Local Government Board, whose offices were now in the Custom House. It appeared that it was intended to transport some of them over to Merrion Street, but if the offices of any Department ought to be in close communication and physical proximity to each other, it was those of the Local Government Board.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said that the whole of the Local Government Board offices were to be taken over to the new site.
§ MR. CLANCY
said that that was an entirely new thing to him. The Irish people assumed that the character of this Bill was to provide money for an educational establishment, and that was the only object mentioned in any utterance, written or spoken, by any member of the Government. Now, it was not a college that was to be provided at all, but Government offices. No wonder the college of science was to take not a front but a back place on the site. It was only on a par with all this that no Irish architect was to have anything to do with that building. Was it not a most humiliating thing to think that the hon. Gentleman himself, an Englishman, in a matter concerning Ireland, should be able to get up at the Table in this foreign Assembly——
§ MR. WILLIAM JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
I rise to a point of order. I wish to know whether the hon. Gentleman is in order in speaking of this House as a foreign Assembly.
§ * MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! It is not a respectful way of speaking of the House of Commons to say that it is a hateful Assembly; but to state that it is a foreign Assembly I cannot say is out of order.
§ MR. CLANCY
said it was a most humiliating thing to think that the hon. Gentleman should get up at that Table, and addressing Irishmen, say that it would not be expedient to associate the English architect who designed the new buildings with an Irish architect. He would not ask that an Irish architect should be employed if he were distinctly inferior, and utterly without any architectural ability; but it so happened that some of the finest buildings in Ireland were designed by Irishmen, including the existing buildings in Kildare Street, and possibly an Irishman could be got to design the new College of Science. He could only say that he, for one, had had no idea that the Bill was for anything else than the erection of a College of Science in Dublin; but it now turned out that it was practically a Bill for the housing of the existing Government establishments in Dublin. He had no admiration for Government pretentions, and he thought that the speech of the hon. Gentleman had thrown new light on the matter, and that there should be further discussion upon it. He was not inclined to allow the matter to end with any remarks of his, and he begged therefore to move.
§ SIR THOMAS ESMONDE (Wexford, N.)
seconded the Amendment. The propositions contained in the Bill had come upon the Irish Members very much as a surprise. The Local Government Board had already very fine offices in Dublin, and to remove them, he thought, would be a mistake. Irish Members were not all of them very much enamoured with the Local Government Board, and he thought they had a right to ask how much of the new building was to be given over to that Board, and what was to happen to their present premises. He was not quite clear as to the position of the Government in regard to the architect of the new building; but he understood that an Irish architect was not to be employed. Now, there could not be any difficulty in finding a capable Irish architect in Dublin, Belfast, or other parts of Ireland, and he hoped that the Government would take steps to secure the best local available talent for designing the new buildings, which he trusted would be entirely devoted to the purposes of the College of Science.
To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words, 'this House is not prepared to proceed with this Bill unless the question of site is also left to the Select Committee.'"—(Mr. Clancy.)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ (3.42.) MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said it would be fatal to the Bill if the Amendment were accepted, for it would involve the postponement of all progress with the scheme for at least another year. He felt bound to say that he did not feel encouraged to persevere in this apparently very contentious task. He had hoped to have the full support of the Irish Members, in whatever corner of the House they sat.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said that so far as the Government were concerned, this scheme stood or fell as a whole. They proposed to acquire the block of houses which were in close proximity to the National Gallery and the Museum, and to adapt them for the purposes of public offices. On the other portion of the site they proposed to erect the new Royal College of Science. The money for adapting the existing houses to public offices was not included in the £225,000 which they asked power to raise under the Bill for the Royal College of Science. Hon. Members would find in the Vote for Public Works in Ireland the sum of £9,500; that was the cost of adapting the existing buildings for the purposes of offices. The hon. Baronet opposite had spoken as if the whole or a large portion of this £225,000 was going to be expended in the provision of new offices, but no portion of that sum would be spent in connection with the new offices, except in respect of the sites and buildings. It was only right that the block should be taken as a whole. By far the largest portion of this £225,000 would be spent directly on the new Royal College of Science, but as additional accommodation was clearly wanted for offices in Ireland they proposed 809 to combine the building of the new college with the acquisition of the existing buildings for new offices for the Department of Agriculture and the Local Government Board. He asked only for reasonable treatment in this matter. Hon. Members opposite would surely not contend that, because they disapproved of the policy which the Irish Government or the Irish Local Board had pursued, they should punish, the clerks by compelling them to work under conditions inimical to health, and conditions which would be condemned by any sanitary officer if he had power to enter into these offices. The policy of the Local Government Board might be right or it might be wrong, but whatever the views of hon. Members opposite might be in that regard, surely they would admit that it was imperative to find proper accommodation for the clerks employed in that office. These clerks were at present housed in the Customs, where their rooms were very much overcrowded; other Departments were housed in leasehold premises. It was proposed to make a rearrangement by adapting existing buildings to the wants of growing Departments, and to take the Local Government Board staff out of the Customs and place them in a new building. With regard to the selection of the site hon. Members did him great injustice if they thought he had not consulted Irish opinion upon this matter. With regard to the new College of Science, the matter had been the subject of a large correspondence, and so far as he knew every authority consulted agreed that this was the best site. The only Irish opinion which had been disregarded in the matter was the opinion expressed in Belfast that Belfast was the proper site for this building. Therefore it would be seen that Irish opinion had received the anxious attention of the Irish Government, and the different authorities had concurred that this was the best site that could be selected.
§ (3.53.) MR. T. M. HEALY
said the hon. Gentleman had no doubt made a conciliatory speech, but for his part he did not think the hon. Gentleman had removed a single one of the objections that had developed during the course of the Second Beading of the Bill. If anyone read the Bill they would suppose that this was a measure to 810 establish a Royal College of Science. That was the conclusion they would come to from the title of the Bill, but incidentally—not in any statement by the Government, but by accident—it had come out that this Bill was to be used for giving efficient offices to the Local Government Board of Ireland. The hon. Gentleman said that new offices were needed. At the present moment the Irish Local Government Board occupied one of the most glorious buildings in Dublin, a building erected in the time of the Irish Parliament for Irish Customs; but, unfortunately, Irish Customs had long since become a thing of the past, so the Government had turned this glorious building into a Local Government Board office. The hon. Gentleman said the clerks lived there under unsanitary conditions. That he denied, but even if it were true he would invite the Government to remove the Local Government Board Offices to the Four Courts, from which the Government had evicted and expelled the Dublin County Council. He had been asked whether he would be a party to condemning the clerks of the Local Government Board Office to work under insanitary conditions. He denied that they did. And how little had the Government considered how it had condemned the labourers of Ireland to live under insanitary conditions. All over the country Boards of Guardians had pressed for cottages for these unfortunate people, but a single objection taken to the site by the bailiff of a landowner was sufficient to prevent the cottages being built. It really seemed that under the pretence of giving Ireland a College of Science the Government was really going to erect a new arsenal of ascendancy in the capital. So far as he was concerned, he cared not whether this Bill was delayed for another year or another ten years, but he would be no party to paying one sixpence for putting one stick or one stone upon another for the purpose of building new offices for the Local Government Board. He admitted that there was a necessity for more accommodation for the Board of Agriculture, but that accommodation could be given on very easy terms, only a few thousand pounds being necessary for that purpose. There was no necessity for the 811 enormous expenditure contemplated by this Bill. It appeared to him that the bulk of the money was to be spent, not on education, but on Departmental accommodation, for the College of Science was to be put in the background and the Government offices in the front. He saw no evil whatever in the question of the postponement of the site, and nothing unreasonable in their request that the question should be considered by a Select Committee.
§ MR. WILLIAM JOHNSTON
said he rose to take part in the debate with great regret. It had often been a matter of complaint that the Imperial Parliament had done nothing to promote the temporal welfare of Ireland, but here was a very generous attempt to erect a much-needed College of Science in Dublin, and, instead of its being received by a chorus of approval by Gentlemen opposite, there had been a unanimous outcry against this action by a "foreign Assembly." He hoped the Secretary to the Treasury would consider the expediency of withdrawing the Bill this session. If the gratitude of Ireland was to be shown as it had been shown in this House, there was very little encouragement for the British Parliament doing anything further in this direction. He could tell his hon. friend the Secretary to the Treasury that there was one city in Ireland where a College of Science would be welcomed; and he asked the Government, remembering the reception that this proposition had met with on the other side of the House, to transfer the college from Dublin to Belfast.
§ (4.8.) MR. DILLON
said the hon. Member opposite had quite mistaken the attitude of the Irish Members. Their protest was not against the very long-delayed redemption of the old promise to erect a College of Science in Dublin, but against the introduction into the Bill of a totally irrelevant and incongruous proposal. According to the explanation of the Secretary to the Treasury, the College of Science was only an addendum to the Bill, the main purpose of which was to accommodate the Local Government Board with new lodgings. He knew the proposed site of the college perfectly well, and such an extraordinary 812 proposition had never been laid before the House of Commons as to erect an important building such as the College of Science on the site of the stables of a row of houses and in such a position that it could not be seen from any point of the city. Apparently, the college, which ought to be the main, if not the sole, purpose of this Bill, had been sacrificed to the Local Government Board, and from beginning to end the Irish representatives had had no voice in the selection of the site or the arrangement of the plans. Because the proposal to found a College of Science was acceptable to a large section of the Irish people, the opportunity was taken to tack on to it an unpopular proposal, and then the House were told that they must either take it as a whole or not at all. That was not a proper way in which to deal with the House of Commons, and it was not fair treatment of the Irish Members. The same class of considerations as applied to the question of the locality and lodgings of the Local Government Board did not apply to the question of the locality and arrangements of the College of Science He had no desire to see the clerks of the Local Government Board obliged to work in over-crowded and insanitary rooms, but that was no reason why the Board should be moved bodily from its present premises to the centre of the most fashionable and expensive part of Dublin. A more preposterous proposal was never made. Why could not suitable accommodation have been secured in the neighbourhood of the Customs House? The whole of the trouble in connection with the present stage of the Bill arose from the indefensible action of the Government in tying these two schemes together. He appealed to the Secretary to the Treasury to reconsider this question of site, and give them a College of Science which would be open to the street, and would add to the architectural beauty, as well as the educational resources, of Dublin.
§ (4.20.) LORD BALCARRES (Lancashire, Chorley)
said he had been under the impression that the houses in question were to be razed. According to the scheme as he now understood it, the college would be invisible except from the back windows of the surrounding 813 houses, and would have merely a narrow and ignominious approach. Under these circumstances an expenditure of anything like £180,000, as mentioned by the hon. Member for East Mayo, would be altogether excessive. He warned the Financial Secretary against the policy he had enunciated of associating one architect with another. That was the policy which ruined the Law Courts and the Foreign Office, and, though there would be uncommonly little to ruin in the present building, the policy of choosing one competent man, whether he was English, Scotch, or Irish, and allowing him to do the work, should be followed. A point which had not been noticed in the discussion was that of the allocation of the buildings on the site. The College of Science would occupy not much more than a quarter of the site, but, according to the plan, it was to be placed in such a manner as effectively to prevent the future extension of either the Dublin Museum or the college itself. The Museum already required extension, not only in the library but in other departments as well, and the college also would require extension in the future. He urged the Financial Secretary, if he proceeded with the present site, so to rearrange the buildings that due extensions would be possible to meet future needs. At the same time he hoped hon. Members from Ireland would not press their opposition to the Bill to such an extent that the Order would be discharged, because the building was undoubtedly extremely necessary for the industrial development of the country, and if the present proposal was withdrawn they would probably hear nothing more about it.
§ MR. NANNETTI (Dublin, College Green)
objected to a portion of the best residential part of Dublin being used for offices for the Local Government Board. If fresh offices were necessary, suitable accommodation might certainly have been found on the north side of the city, and would have been much less expensive. He strongly objected to the Government taking up a scheme like this, and attempting to rush it through without giving the popular representatives of the people full information upon it. He hoped the House would agree with the representatives from Ireland, who knew 814 what the city of Dublin required in this matter. The site chosen was not a suitable one, and far more suitable sites could be had at a much less cost, which would have met the requirements of the people of Dublin far better than the site which had been chosen. He was inclined to think that the statement about erecting this College of Science in Belfast instead of in Dublin was a little joke on the part of the hon. Member for South Belfast.
§ MR. NANNETTI
thought the hon. Gentleman would find public opinion would be too strong for him if he suggested that this college should be erected in Belfast. They had no desire to kill the scheme, but they objected to it being rushed through the House without full information being given. This was a Bill involving the expenditure of £250,000, and the representatives of all Ireland had not been consulted upon it. Many residents in Dublin who were opposed to him politically had urged him to protest against this scheme, which dispossessed them of their grand residences in order to make room for clerks for whom proper accommodation could easily be provided on the north side. He strongly objected to the pulling down of those grand buildings, because there were plenty of suitable sites on the other side of the city for the erection of such a building. He hoped his hon. friend would press his Motion to a division.
§ (4.35.) MR. MACARTNEY (Antrim, S.)
said he could not understand why the Government should have selected the city of Dublin in which to erect a College of Science. It was an institution which would be utterly unappreciated by the people of that city. It would be only appreciated on account of the show it would make as a building, but as a teaching centre of science that idea would be utterly absent from the minds of the people of Dublin. What they wanted was a building to look at; and the complaint of the hon. Member for East Mayo was that the building was to be in a place where nobody would see it. 815 What did it matter from a scientific point of view, if the building were only properly equipped, whether it could be seen by people passing through the locality? The inhabitants of Dublin had never gone into the College of Science. He would recommend the Government to build a skating rink, or some establishment of that sort, at a small cost, rather than put a College of Science in that part of Ireland, where it would not be properly taken advantage of. The college ought to have been established in the city of the largest population in Ireland—the city of Belfast, where science teaching would have been appreciated, for there the industrial population was largely engaged in technical and scientific industries. It was just as easy to get from all parts of Ireland to Belfast as to Dublin, and the students, if the college were placed at Belfast, would mix with a population in which technical knowledge would be general, and thus derive great advantages. Not only would they mingle with a people engaged in scientific pursuits, but have the advantage of acquiring a good sound education, to say nothing of the experience to be gained in the dockyards and other places in Belfast. It was almost heart-rending to hear hon. Gentlemen opposite use the arguments they had adduced that I evening, for they were simply disputing whether the college should be built on the north or the south side of the city of Dublin.
§ MR. DILLON
The Bill does not raise that question, as to which side of the city the college should be built.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
I think the Government should abandon that part of the Bill dealing with the College of Science, and proceed only with that portion relating to the offices for the Local Government Board. The clerks in those offices are working under conductions that no other clerks would be allowed to work under.
§ MR. MACARTNEY
said he desired to protest against the language used on 816 this subject by hon. Members opposite, and he regretted that the Government were proposing to prepetuate a mistake in erecting a College of Science at Dublin, where it would not be used to the advantage of the people of Ireland.
§ MR. CREAN (Cork County, S.E.)
said that if the right hon. Member for South Antrim had looked at the plan for this new building he would have been very slow to make the speech he had done. He had been examining the plan and the absurdity of the proposed construction immediately struck him, for it was proposed to place the building as far back as they possibly could, with the result that it would be impossible to add to the size of the building after it had once been constructed. Such a scheme would not be tolerated either in England, Scotland, or Wales. Such a building ought to indicate the character and nature of the work which it was intended to perform, and a more absurd proposition could not be made by any Government. If the Government proposed to put such a plan into force in any other part of the kingdom it would be scouted out of the House and they would not dare to attempt to perpetrate such a monstrosity. He was not so much interested in this particular site in Dublin, but this college was not for Dublin alone, but for the whole of Ireland. Dublin was the centre of Ireland, and not Belfast, and it was absurd to think that the people from the South of Ireland would have to go to Belfast to attend the college. He did not know that the Government would have introduced such a Bill as this had not their prime object been to provide accommodation for officials who were under worked and overpaid. It was proposed to provide new officers for the Department of Agriculture, which so far as he could understand, was manned by officials with good salaries who were doing no particular good to the country. If they wanted to house the officials the proper thing would be to weed out those whose services could be very well done without, and thereby add to the accommodation of the really effective workers, if there were any, in the Department. He hoped that the hon. Member who had charge of the Bill would see the advisability of 817 postponing it, at least for the present. He would be very sorry if the question were put to a vote, for he would have no alternative but to vote against a scheme for the accommodation of Government clerks.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
appealed to the House to come to a decision now. He submitted that the discussion had gone far enough. [Nationalist cries of "No."]
§ (4.52.) MR. BOLAND (Kerry, S.)
asked whether the site would be actually occupied by the projected College of Science. If it was clearly understood that the college would face Kildare Street, and occupy a good position from an architectural point of view, he thought a decision could be very quickly come to. Anyone who had read the evidence with regard to technical instruction given before the present University Commission would recognise that a properly equipped College of Science in Dublin was a matter of the very greatest importance. The Irish representatives would be extremely sorry if, on account of some mistake or misunderstanding about the site, this very necessary work should be delayed.
§ MR. JOHN GORDON (Londonderry, S.)
said they were all agreed that a College of Science ought to be built in Dublin. He believed also that Belfast had claims for consideration in the matter and he would support anything that could be done to promote scientific instruction there. He had a sincere desire to have this matter brought to a happy issue. It was said that the north side of the city was the place to select for the College of Science. He thought that of all places in Dublin that could have been selected the site proposed was the very best. It was close to the Museum and the National Library, both of which were institutions which were most necessary for furthering the interests of the College of Science. It was not quite correct to speak of the place being approached by a narrow lane. On the other hand, he did not think it was right that the front of the building should be excluded from view by retaining the old houses. He agreed with the Member for South Antrim that 818 it would not be satisfactory to have science taught in back premises. The College of Science ought to be a handsome structure in a place where it would command attention. He should be very glad if the Financial Secretary could see his way to state that the buildings facing Upper Merrion Street would be removed in order that the college would be visible to everyone. If the college was put in a proper position, the site selected would afford ample space for the extension of the institution to meet future requirements. Whether the people approved of the Local Government Board or not, it was there as a fact, and the staff who had to do the work ought to have proper accommodation. He did not know what proportion of the money that would take. There was at present a College of Science in Dublin, and he had not heard how that building was to be utilised when the new college was built. If there was no good reason to the contrary, it might be given to the Local Government Board. That would solve the difficulty if it was practicable to carry out the suggestion. He did not think it was reasonable or sensible for hon. Members opposite to say that they ought to have the new College of Science which had long been promised, but that they would not have it if a few thousands were added to the cost of it for the purpose of housing the Local Government Board. The very fact of a very large building being put in Dublin would give much needed employment to large numbers of men in Dublin, and operate in favour, not only of the people of that city, but of every part of Ireland. Therefore he asked hon. Members opposite to withdraw their opposition to the Motion before the House. On the other hand he urged the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to give an assurance that the old buildings on the site would be removed, so that the college, when erected, should have a fine open space in front of it.
§ MR. LEAMY (Kildare, N.)
said that there were two questions involved in the discussion: first, the amount of money that was to be spent, and, second, the site of the College of Science. The 819 Financial Secretary to the Treasury said that a certain sum was to be spent in the purchase of houses at Mention Street to turn them into offices for the Local Government Board, but he would not tell the House what the amount would be. The owners of these houses were professional men, and they would go before the arbitrators under the Lands Clauses Act and get the highest possible price for them, including compensation for compulsory purchase. If it was necessary to get new offices for the Local Government Board why did not the Government go to Lower Gardiner Street, where they could purchase houses for offices at a fourth of the price they would have to pay in Merrion Street? The rentals of the houses in Merrion Street were £95, £120, £92 10s., £76, £65, £65, £55, £50, £60, while the rentals of the houses in Lower Gardiner Street near the Customs House which might be acquired, and which would afford as much accommodation as those in Merrion Street, were £18, £20, £43, £27, £27 and £38. As to the question of site, he must say that personally he liked it. The noble Lord opposite who had spoken in such a friendly way had made out a strong case for it, as it would provide for the future extension, not only of the college but of the museum buildings. If the present project was carried out, there would not be room for the extension of the buildings in the future, which would be a grievous mistake. There were many handsome buildings in Dublin already, but he would like to see another with a fine facade and a clear, open space in front.
§ (5.8.) MR. WOLFF (Belfast, E.)
said that with almost all that had been said on the opposite side of the House he entirely agreed. If a new Science College was to be built in Dublin it would be a pity that it should not be put in a position to be seen, and in which it might be an ornament to the city. What he objected to was that the College of Science was to be in Dublin at all; and he wished to enter his protest against expending £225,000 on a College of Science in a situation where it would be of little or no benefit. Of course, he regretted as much as hon. Gentlemen opposite that there were no 820 shipyards or great manufactories in Dublin, or Cork, or Waterford, and other parts of Ireland, but they knew that there were none, and the college should be erected in Belfast, where there was a demand for it. It would be a mistake to place it in Dublin simply because that city was the capital of Ireland.
§ MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)
thought that the House was greatly indebted to the hon. Gentleman who had raised the discussion on this Bill, and especially to the hon. Member for the College Green Division. The title of the Bill seemed to him to be a misnomer, for it appeared to be designed to provide offices for the Local Government Board rather than buildings for the college of science. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Antrim was most extraordinary, for he laid down the doctrine that it was not in the interests of the capital of Ireland that public money should be wasted on the erection of what he called architectural mostrosities. This was essentially an Irish debate, and it was strange that those who were responsible for the Government of Ireland were conspicuous by their absence. The point raised by the noble Lord opposite as to the necessity for making provision for the future extension of the college buildings was important. They all hoped that the classes in the college would be largely availed of, and he was certain that soon additional space would be required for expansion. This Bill represented to a great extent the mode in which they were governed in Ireland. It took back with one hand what was given with the other. That was not the opportunity for discussing the merits or demerits of the Local Government Board, but he did not think that the Irish Members would be justified in encouraging a body which was so anti-Irish in all its sentiments and transactions. There was another feature in connection with the proposed buildings which seemed extraordinary. There was not a town in England where, if a post office was to be erected, the local authority would not be consulted directly or indirectly; and certainly the local representative would be consulted. But in connection with the structure of this new College of 821 Science, which they all hoped would do something to improve the appearance of Dublin, neither the municipality nor any other local authority had been consulted. Not a single one of the representatives of Dublin or any other part of Ireland had been consulted directly or indirectly in the matter. That was the usual policy of giving with one hand and taking away with the other, and of embodying objecttionable provisions in an otherwise acceptable measure. It would be better to postpone the matter for some years than to dump down a building which would
§ not beautify the city and which would be inconvenient to the citizens generally. The question had not been sufficiently considered, and, therefore, he would support the Amendment of his hon. friend which would afford an opportunity for further consideration, and prevent money being lavishly spent on an unsightly building.
§ (5.18.) Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 198; Noes, 107. (Division List No. 182).823
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex E.||Denny, Colonel||Johnston, William (Belfast)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)|
|Aird, Sir John||Dickson, Charles Scott||Kenyon-Slaney, Col W. (Salop.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Dixon-Hartland, Sir Fred Dixon||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Doughty, George||Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lawson, John Grant|
|Austin, Sir John||Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Legg, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Long, Col. Charles W (Eversham|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Fardell, Sir. T. George||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol S.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r.||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Lonsdale, John Brownlee|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Lowther, Rt. Hn. James (Kent)|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Finch, George H.||Lloyd, Archie Kirkman|
|Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch.||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Fisher, William Hayes||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor||FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Macartney, Rt. Hn W. G. Ellison|
|Bartley, George C. T.||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Macdona, John Cumming|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Flannery, Sir Fortescue||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Beach, Rt. Hon. Sir M. Hicks||Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)|
|Bignold, Arthur||Forster, Henry William||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)|
|Bill, Charles||Foster, Philip S. (Warwick, S. W||Majendie, James A. H.|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Galloway, William Johnson||Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir H. E. (Wigt'n|
|Bond, Edward||Garfit, William||Maxwell, W. J. H. (Dumfriessh.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||Middlemore, John Throgmorton|
|Brassey, Albert||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn||Milvain, Thomas|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Montagu, G. (Huntingdon)|
|Brotherton, Edward Allen||Gordon, Maj Evans-(T'rH'mlets||Morgan, David J. (Walth'st'w|
|Butcher, John George||Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc.)||Morrell, George Herbert|
|Carlile, William Walter||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Morrison, James Archibald|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Greene, Sir E W (B'ry S Edm'nds||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford|
|Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)||Gretton, John||Mount, William Arthur|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbyshire||Greville, Hon Ronald||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles William||Groves, James Grimble||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Gunter, Sir Robert||Newdigate, Francis Alexandra|
|Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r||Hain, Edward||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Chapman Edward||Halsley, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Clive, Captain Percy A.||Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Midd'x||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Parks, Ebenezer|
|Coddington, Sir William||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Percy, Earl|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Heath, James (Stafford, N. W.||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard|
|Cohen, Benjamin Louis||Heaton, John Henniker||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Collings, Rt. Hon Jesse||Helder, Augustus||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Colomb, Sir John Chas. Ready||Hope, J. F. (Sheflield, Brightside||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Hornby, Sir William Henry||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas||Horner, Frederick William||Purvis, Robert|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow||Hoult, Joseph||Pym, C. Guy|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Hozier, Hn. James Henry Cecil||Rankin, Sir James|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Hutton, John (Yorks. N. R.)||Rattigan, Sir William Henry|
|Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies||Reid, James (Greenock)|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Renwick, George|
|Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge||Stanley, Edward Jas. (Somerset||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.|
|Ritchie, Rt Hn. Chas. Thompson||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh, N.|
|Ropner, Colonel Robert||Stroyan, John||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Round, James||Start, Hon Humphry Napier||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R. (Bath)|
|Royds, Clement Molyneux||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Rutherford, John||Thorburn, Sir Walter||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)||Valentia, Vicount||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert||Walker, Col. William Hall||Younger, William|
|Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw. J||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Sharpe, William Edward T.||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Shaw-Stewart, M. H. (Renfrew||Welby, Lt-Col. A. C. E. (Taunton||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Simeon, Sir Barrington||Wharton, Rt. Hon. John Lloyd||Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther|
|Sinclair, Louis (Romford)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Spear, John Ward||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D.||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Abraham, William (Rhondda)||Healy, Timothy Michael||Philipps, John Wynford|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Helme, Norval Watson||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Allen, Charles P. (Glouc., Stroud||Holland, William Henry||Price, Robert John|
|Ambrose, Robert||Jacoby, James Alfred||Rea, Russell|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Joicey, Sir James||Rigg, Richard|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Jones, David Bryumor (Swansea||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Burns, John||Joyce, Michael||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Buxton, Sydney Charles||Kinloch, Sir John George Smyth||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Caldwell, James||Lambert, George||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Cameron, Robert||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R. (Northa'ts|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Leith, Sir Joseph||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Cawley, Frederick||Leng, Sir John||Sullivan, Donal|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Levy, Maurice||Tennant, Harold John|
|Crean, Eugene||Lewis, John Herbert||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Lough, Thomas||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Thomas, J. A (Glamorgan, Gower|
|Delany, William||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Crae, George||Toulmin, George|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||M'Govern, T.||Trevelyan, Charles Phillips|
|Dunn, Sir William||M'Kean, John||Warner, Thomas Courteney T.|
|Edwards, Frank||M'Kenna, Reginald||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Emmott, Alfred||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Weir, James Galloway|
|Evans, Sir Francis H. (Maidstone||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Whiteley, George (York, W. R.)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Fenwick, Charles||Lolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Wilson, Chas. Henry (Hull, W.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Brien, Kendall (Tipp'rary Mid||Woodhouse, Sir J. T (Hudderf'd|
|Furniss, Sir Christopher||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Young, Samuel|
|Goddard, Daniell Ford||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||O'Malley, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Palmer, George Wm. (Reading)||Sir Thomas Esmonde and|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||Partington, Oswald||Mr. Patrick O'Brien.|
Question put and agreed to.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be committed to a Select Committee of Five Members, Three to be nominated by the House and Two by the Committee of Selection."—(Mr. Austen Chamberlain.)
§ (5.32.) MR. T. M. HEALY
said he thought it was most unsuitable that a Bill of this kind, affecting so deeply 824 Dublin and Ireland, should be referred to a hybrid Committee, of which the House was only to have the selection of three members. He did not know either why the Committee of Selection should appoint two. All that such a Committee would do would be to inquire into the compensation to be given for the sites, and such an idea was entirely foreign to the understanding upon which the Second Reading of the Bill had been given. The Bill had been read a second time on the understanding that the 825 Committee should decide on the whole principle of the scheme. The Committee now formally proposed by the Secretary to the Treasury would be the ordinary Select Committee such as was adopted in the case of railway, electric lighting, and other matters of that kind, which had no power to deal with general principles. This question ought not to be settled simply from the point of view of the compensation to be given for these sites, but from the point of view of the general scheme. It was also, he thought, very unfair that Irish Members in this House should have no representation upon a matter in which they were so greatly interested. He also complained of the form in which the Motion was moved. He thought the House ought to be told what was the view of the Government as to who the three members of the Committee were to be, and that the names ought to be given, and that a matter so much affecting Ireland ought not to be settled behind the backs of the Irish Members. He therefore moved that the Committee should be composed of fifteen Members, so that it might be possible for it to consider the whole question. He reminded the hon. Gentleman that he had only at present obtained a Vote for the sites, and that he had not obtained his Money Vote, and that unless some concessions were made which would enable the Irish Members to close their eyes to the more objectionable parts of this scheme they would be compelled to persist in their opposition, which would not facilitate matters so far as the hon. Gentleman was concerned.
To leave out the word 'Five.' and insert the word 'Fifteen.'"—(Mr. T. M. Healy.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word Five' stand part of the Question."
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
said he had put the Motion in this form because he thought he was thereby following the universal practice of the House; but he was quite willing to consent to the adjournment of the debate, with a view to inquiring whether some other form of Committee was possible which would give the Irish Members 826 further representation. At the same time the hon. and learned Member must understand that he could not alter the scheme in any way.
§ MR. CLANCY
moved that the debate be now adjourned, and intimated that when the matter again came up for discussion he should move that the majority of the Committee should he composed of Irish Members.
§ Debate adjourned till Monday next.