HC Deb 22 October 1902 vol 113 cc550-3


Order for Second Reading read.


, in moving the second reading of this Bill, said it proposed to give legislative sanction to an agreement between the Royal Dublin Society and the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction. At present, under the Probate Duties (Scotland and Ireland) Act, 1888, a sum of £5,000 was administered by the Royal Dublin Society for the improvement of horse-breeding in Ireland. The society was prepared, willing, and, he believed, eager to transfer the administration of this annual grant to the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, and the Department was equally anxious to administer the fund. He hoped and believed the House would come to the conclusion that the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction was the proper body to administer this fund.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Wyndham.)

* MR. HEMPHILL (Tyrone, N.)

said that if the right hon. Gentleman could assure the House that the Bill had the sanction and approval of the Royal Dublin Society, it was not a measure that ought to be contested. If there was one body which had been more successful in administering the affairs of Ireland than any other, it was the Royal Dublin Society, which had now been in existence for 142 years or thereabouts. A great part of its money had been usefully applied to promoting the breed of horses and cattle, and the Society had instituted a horse show which had obtained European celebrity. All he asked then was the assurance of the right hon. Gentleman that this transfer had the full sanction and cooperation of the Council of that society.

MR FLYNN (Cork Co., N)

said he did not often find himself in disagreement with the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken, but he could not quite follow his argument, and he certainly thought the Department of Agriculture was the best fitted to administer the money. At the same time, no Irishman desired to detract from the merits of the great horse show at Ballibridge, which had obtained world-wide celebrity. There was no desire on the part of the Irish Members to oppose a Bill of this kind; on the contrary, they would be glad to see it pass; but he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would press upon the Department the fact that it was not necessary to the carrying out of their work in the development of horses and cattle, that every official who was appointed should be either an Englishman or a Scotchman. At present the policy of the Department in this respect seemed to be "that no Irishman need apply" for no matter how eminent or capable an Irishman might be, however well fitted he might be for a post under the Department, the fact that he was an Irishman; seemed to be a disqualification in the eyes of the Department. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would impress on the Department that in future such a policy must not be pursued.

MR. O'DOWD (Sligo, S.)

regarded the Bill as a step in the right direction. At the same time he hoped that this Department would not become a second Local Government Board, and that the Committees which were now working all over Ireland in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture would not be treated in the way the Local Government Board treated local bodies. He had for years been a member of a council which had adopted the technical scheme, and which had taxed the people for the purpose of backing up the Department in giving agricultural and technical instruction with a view to improving the condition of the people in the West of Ireland, and he trusted that in the future the recommendations of the County Council would receive more attention at the hands of the Department.

MR. CULLINAN (Tipperary, S.)

complained that the Department sent ignorant and incompetent Englishmen and Scotchmen to lecture the Irish farmers on agricultural matters, and he had only that day read in a local newspaper the fact that a County Council had felt it to be its duty to condemn the action of one of these Scottish experts. The Irish people did not want to be Anglicised, and many Councils were becoming disgusted with the class of teachers selected by the Board. The Department too was looked upon with a certain amount of suspicion by a great number of people who were beginning to think that this endeavour to develop the industries of the country, to improve the breeds of stock and to grow better crops was really intended to create a fictitious value for the land in the interests of the landlords. He hoped at any time there would be a great improvement effected in the methods of the Department.

* MR. HUGH LAW (Donegal, W.)

said they were all agreed as to the desirability of the transfer, but they desired an opportunity of discussing the work of the Department. It was very important that the Department should be national in fact as well as in name, and that it should be in harmony with the general feeling of the country. Moreover, there was undoubtedly a necessity for more elasticity in its working; at present it was too much bound up in red tape, and the result was that it strangled new industries. Only that day he had had brought under his notice a case in which a lady had started a blackberry jam industry, which had found employment for a considerable number of children and others. She obtained a grant of £10 from the Agricultural Committee of the County Council, and set to work. But the Department subsequently declined to sanction the grant, on the ground that the Technical and not the Agricultural Committee should have sanctioned the proceeding. It was doubtful if there would be any more blackberry jam made in that district in future.

MR. MURPHY (Kerry, E.)

said there was a very strong feeling throughout the country as to the manner in which the Department filled vacant appointments, and he hoped that it would cease to make "no Irish need apply" its motto in the appointment of officials.