HC Deb 23 June 1904 vol 136 cc1067-87

Motion made and Question proposed, That a sum, not exceeding £110,406, be granted to His Majesty to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1905, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of Agriculture and other Industries and Technical Instruction for Ireland, and of the services administered by that Department, including sundry Grants-in-Aid."


, resuming his speech, which had been interrupted by the adjournment, said Sir H. Plunkett could not be surprised if he and his policy were regarded with a certain amount of suspicion, seeing that in 1895 he stated that if his policy were adopted the Irish people would cease to demand Home Rule. The right hon. Gentleman, however, was mistaken in his view, because when he and his policy were forgotten the Irish people would still be true to the national ideal. With regard to Sir H. Plunkett's book, it had been truly said that both his friends and his enemies were pleased that it had been published; his friends because they were saved the necessity of reading the manuscript, and his enemies because it had revealed the true character of the man. Ireland in the main was a Catholic country, and yet this gentleman, who drew his salary from the Irish people and administered a large public Department, thought it proper to write of the religion of the people in these terms — The Roman Catholic clergy cannot be exonerated from some responsibility in regard to Irish character as we find it to-day.….An impartial observer will, I fear, find amongst the majority of our people a striking absence of self-reliance and moral courage… and there is a listlessness and apathy in regard to economic improvement which amounts to a form of fatalism, and in backward districts a survival of superstition which saps all strength of will and purpose. In view of such an expression of opinion, one could only come to the conclusion that the writer was unfit for the position he occupied and ought to be removed from it. How was it that a grant of £194,000 was frittered away to the extent of £82,000 in salaries and expenses? There must be leakage and improper administration somewhere, and the Committee were entitled to detailed information so that they might judge where the defect and bad policy came in. Much had been heard about the Agricultural Organisation Society, established under the patronage of Sir H. Plunkett, and existing to a large extent upon grants made out of the public moneys of the Irish people. That organisation competed with other organisations, such as the Manchester Co-operative Wholesale Society, which had spent large sums of money in Ireland, and would have been able largely to assist the butter-making industry had it been given a fair field. Owing, however, to the action of Sir H. Plunkett in financing the other organisation, the work of the co-operative society had been crippled, and the butter producers deprived of the opportunity of securing fair competition and better prices. In several ways it had been clearly shown that the maintenance of butter-making and dairying in the old form with improved methods was necessary in the interests of the Irish farmer, but the Board of Agriculture, following Sir H. Plunkett's policy, had done everything possible, not to foster dairying in the old form, but to destroy it and to establish instead the creamery system. The creamery system had some advantages, but it was altogether unsuited and was calculated to be very injurious to certain localities. The butter was all produced in the summer time, and being sent to one market in such large quantities it caused a glut, with the result that it had to be sold at a lower price than the ordinary dairy butter would fetch. The fact that the advice of public bodies and public men with regard to winter dairying had been disregarded was a strong proof of the neglect of the Department in reference to a matter of prime importance to the people of Ireland. Under the Act of 1899, the sum of £10,000 was set aside for introducing improvements and getting additional land for the benefit of the Munster Dairy School, but the governors of that institution had still to complain that nothing whatever had been done in the matter.

The question of transit was a matter of great importance in Ireland, but, in spite of the excessive rates and the improper arrangements of the railway companies, the Department had done nothing to improve the carrying facilities in the country. This Department, which was to have revolutionised Ireland, especially the agricultural districts, had appointed to look after the question of railway rates a gentleman connected with the veterinary department, with the result that matters of detail, but of considerable importance, had been neglected. Nobody with the least intelligence would deny that technical and agricultural schemes, if properly worked, would effect-great improvements in the condition of Ireland. In some instances schemes had been well worked, and had resulted in improvement to the community; but the credit for such excellent work and improvement rested not with Sir H. Plunkett and his Department, but with the local representatives who had had charge of the schemes. The whole matter came back once more to the fact that Government department. could not be expected to work well in Ireland as long as the Irish people were deprived of their own Government. Much of the work of Sir H. Plunkett was calculated to direct the minds and thoughts of the Irish people as far a field from their own land as possible, and in that connection he asked whether any of the moneys of the Board were devoted to paying the expenses of gentlemen who were sent to America and elsewhere in connection with the fads and fancies of the Vice-President of the Department. There would never be proper administration of technical and other schemes in Ireland until the people enjoyed self-government. He begged to move to reduce the Vote by £100.

Motion made, and Question proposed, 'That a sum, not exceeding £110.306, be granted 4or the said Service."—(Mr. Murphy.)


said he did not include himself among those critics, if such there were, who consider five hours an excessive time to devote to this one subject. The debate had doubtless been a long one, but no one interested in Ireland could pretend that it had been tedious. Fifteen or sixteen speakers had taken part in the debate, and nearly every one of them would have satisfied the rigorous standard of the hon. and gallant Member for the Chelmsford Division of Essex with regard to the duration of speeches. Speeches had been answered by other speeches which had been delivered. From each side of the House they had had a measure of criticism and a measure of praise. That should stand as his first plea for Sir Horace Plunkett's Department. That a Department in Ireland had been administered for four years, and that praise and blame was then not confined to the one or the other side of the House, was in itself a tribute which very few of the right hon. Gentleman's predecessors in any official position had ever been able to obtain. Their debate of five hours had centred round four pivots, first, the book recently published by his right hon. friend; secondly, the personnel of the Agricultural Department; thirdly, the allegation of extravagance in the expenditure on salaries; and fourthly, the contention that the Department had not been sufficiently considerate of local wishes expressed through local authorities. He would add that during the whole of the discussion there had not been a single charge that the Department had favoured one part of Ireland at the expense of another part. That was not only remarkable but unique, and he claimed that, part of the case by default. It would not do for hon. Members later to argue that more money might have been spent in this province or the other. That charge had not been made, and that in itself was a tribute to the Department. He did not himself intend to speak about Sir Horace Plunkett's book. They had had agreat deal of advice offered to those who had written, or might intend to write, a book; but no hon. Member-had quoted the old dictum "Oh ! that mine enemy would write a book." But every hon. Member who took part in the debate was very careful to point out that he made no charge against Sir Horace Plunkett's honour, good intention, zeal, or industry. Hon. Members might differ from his right hon. friend, but they evidently did not regard him as an enemy. Perhaps next to writing a book the most foolish thing was to criticise a book, and it was very unwise for one official person to criticise a book written by another official person. But in declining to do so it must not be thought that, leaving the author on one side, he was not sensible of the value of the work Sir Horace Plunkett had done. He did not know in: Ireland, or in any other country, a man who had so devoted all his thoughts and I hours for so many years, without rest or relaxation, to give effect and force to an idea which he believed, and with some justice he thought, to be conceived in the best interests of his country. When many of them, who had tried according to their opportunities and capacities to do something for Ireland, were forgotten, he believed the name of Sir Horace Plunkett would be remembered, enshrined in history side by side with the names of Arthur Young and Thomas Drummond.

Having satisfied himself that his right hon. friend was working for the good of Ireland, he felt it no part of his duty to check him at every turn, although he was responsible to that House for the Department. It; had been suggested that there was an anti-national intention underlying the creation of the Department. But the Department had its birth in a conference of Irishmen of all political beliefs. The Recess Committee and the Land Conference marked the initiation of two measures, which would do more for Ireland than many others which had been passed solely because they were conceived in that way. He admitted that after the intentions of those who conferred were put into the form of Acts of Parliament or of administration, there always was a reaction. But the dynamic forces which sprung from the fact that these measures were conceived by Irishmen of different political opinions meeting together would very soon pierce through and overbear the momentary disappointments that were bound to arise. He now came to the second general point of the argument developed by the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment and those who supported him, the point of the personnel of the Department. Ireland could not afford to neglect the example of every other country, which, in similar circumstances, had made a de- liberate attempt to foster agriculture and industry. Nothing was more technical than technology. They could not possibly start technical instruction unless they acquired the brains and the experience of those who for years had devoted their lives to the work. Could it be said that in Ireland they could find men who were fitted not only to teach Immediately themselves but to lay down the lines upon which teachers should be trained Surely it was the duty of Sir Horace Plunkett to seek elsewhere for men possessing these qualifications: and it could hardly be said that he had been unwise in his selection when they found that one of those chosen by him to start this system of training teachers, Mr. Blair, had been recaptured by the London County Council to fill the chief post in their technical educational system at an initial salary of £;1,000 a year. There was no country in the world which did not select men for such purposes from other countries. That he, thought, was-a conclusive answer, so far as the higher officials of this department were concerned. It had been contended that the expenditure of £43,000 upon the staff at headquarters was excessive in comparison with the amount spent on practical | work in the country. That attack was founded upon a great misconception. They had an annual income of £200,000, and there was the extreme possibility of getting local aid amounting to £56,000, not £200,000 as the hon. Member the mover stated. A penny rate over the whole of Ireland might result under the most favourable conditions in a revenue £56,000. The staff had to deal not only with the administration of these sums, but also with the administration of a number of national institutions. Therefore £20,000 should be deducted from the £43,000 for the salaries of the staffs of departments like the College of Science, the National Museum, the Botanic Gardens, the National library, and the School of Art. Apart from these national institutions, the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction were charged with the administration of seven or eight Acts of Parliament which in England were entrusted to other departments. That being the case, it was fair to calculate that not more than £10,000 was paid to the staff at headquarters for dealing with agriculture and technical instruction throughout the country. He contended that that was not too much. He was criticised on the one hand because the staff of this office cost too much, and on the other hand because a few temporary clerks were not paid enough. His reply to the latter criticism was that these clerks had now been made permanent Civil servants, and not only had security, but could look forward to a pension.

MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)

pointed out that s aum of £29,500 was down on the Estimates for the salaries of the staffs of the national institutions to which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded. Therefore the sum from which the £20,000 should be deducted was not £43,000, but £72,000.


said his argument was that of the total of £72,000, only £19,856 represented the cost of the new permanent staff, the balance being the salaries of the staff transferred to the Department from many other offices, not only those which he had named, but many other departments throughout Ireland. It was said that the administration of this £200,000 cost £43,000, and he had given reasons to show that that was not the case. He had given reasons to show why it could not be said that £43,000 a year was the cost of administering this £200,000. Of course the people in the country who were doing the practical work were paid, a id sometimes paid by the local bodies, but the whole point of the contention had been that the headquarters staff received this enormous sum for administering the £200,000, and that it was out of all proportion to that-expenditure. The Department had been criticised for not falling at once completely into agreement with local bodies throughout Ireland. Sometimes local bodies asked the Department to sanction the appointment of this or that secretary. If the secretary whom the local bodies wished to appoint was a man who had no clerical experience and was unable to send to headquarters intricate and complex reports upon five, or six, or seven different topics, and was unable to put a large amount of information before the headquarters in a proper state, the result was they had to have another clerk at headquarters to do the work that ought to be done in the district. It was unfair to criticise the headquarters on the ground that they had a large clerical staff and at the same time to maintain that the local body was entitled to have its own way and to say the last word on every appointment. There must be some adjustment between the two unless the local bodies were to become really extravagant. He was the last man to say that this House was not supreme or that any department should be free from criticism; but he did submit that that Committee, and certainly Ministers, were not competent to say that in this rural district or that urban district the right man or the wrong man had been chosen, or that the pay should have been £100 instead of £90. Criticism ought to be one of two kinds. Either they should prefer a charge that some one had been malicious or negligent, or they must bring some general proposal before the House and say that the whole constitution of the Department was at fault and ought to be amended in this or that particular.

The fourth charge which had been brought against the Department was that it had not given sufficient consideration to popular control. He would, however, invite the Committee to take seriously into account the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for North Galway, who showed that he had the courage of his opinions. The opinions of that hon. and gallant Member were those of a member of the Agricultural Council instituted by the Act of 1899 and of the Board of Agriculture. The hon. Member stood up in his place and stated that the Agricultural Council was a body two-thirds of whose members were representative of Irish local opinion, and the other third of which, though nominated by the Department, included a number of persons who were acceptable to him. Indeed, complaint had often been made by some of his hon. friends that the whole of this Department was run upon national lines, because the Agricultural Council of 102 members was composed in that manner. The Agricultural Council had been persuaded, sometimes reluctantly no doubt, to assent to all the propositions challenged in that afternoon's debate. Again, the majority of the Agricultural Board were representative. In any district there was always one party whose views were not permitted to prevail; but when a case had been settled in the locality by those who were cognisant of all the facts, it was idle after the lapse of years to bring it up again before a tribunal like the House of Commons, which could not possibly be cognisant of the facts. That would be a poor encouragement of local government in Ireland.


said he only used that as an illustration of the way in which the work was being carried on throughout the country. What he said was that the Department was continuing the worst traditions of Castle rule.


said there might be people who had not had their way in particular districts. There were thirty-two counties in Ireland, and this Act had been in operation four years. If it were true that local opinion had been uniformly over-ridden during those four years would they not have, instead of a general statement that local opinion had been disregarded, not one but fifteen, twenty, or thirty cases in which schools, put forward by particular localities, had been rejected. They had, however, one from Longford, and in that county a scheme had been in operation for three years with the tacit and explicit sanction of the Longford District Council, and of the Agricultural Council. It was idle to bring a case of this kind before the Committee, which knew nothing of the flux and counter flux of local opinion. As to the Viscount Ikerrin, whose "outlandish" name one hon. Member had suggested was that of a Spanish grandee, and another had likened to that of a Japanese nobleman, he happened to be the son of an Irish peer and a member of one of the oldest families in Ireland. Surely it was to his credit and not to his reproach that instead of wasting his time he had gone into business and had then offered his services to an Irish department in which he worked hard for the salary of £200 a year. The hon. Member for North Galway had referred to what he called the secret consultation between the Department and the masters of certain technical schools. Something was made of that matter at the Congress which recently sat at Dublin. What the Department had done was to ask the headmasters to meet them upon certain matters which might or might not involve expenditure of money. He asked this House whether a Government Department was to be told that it was not to consult experts upon matters which might involve the expenditure of money, unless all the deliberations were to be published in the Press. If they consulted experts and published the deliberations in the Press they at once laid themselves open to the charge of bringing unfair pressure to bear on the Treasury. The very worst way to ask the Treasury to advance money for a legitimate object was to create the impression that they were using an unfair lever to make them disburse the sums required.

He had appreciated much the speech of his right hon. and gallant friend the Member for North Armagh. It would interest Sir Horace Plunkett to hear that in some quarters he was supposed to sympathise entirely with the Party opposite; and he thought that was proof that Sir Horace Plunkett was not a target for all the shafts which had been levelled at him. With regard to the Lurgan schools, his right hon. and gallant friend was in error in supposing that a sum was deducted from the original grant and allocated to another scheme. A scheme had been assented to which involved a local contribution of £100 a year, a contribution from the Department of £500 a year, and an equipment grant of £360 a year. It was represented to the Department that some of the young Catholic children could not always attend in the Protestant quarter, and that was met, not by a diminution of the original grant, but by an addition to it. Unfortunately there were places in Ireland where the populations were divided into different quarters, and where if both sections were to have all the advantages of citizenship facilities must be given, not in common, but separately. That was a fact which he deplored, but they must recognise it, while hoping that a better state of things would ultimately supervene. He had been asked what had the Department done. [NATIONALIST cheers.] Of course, if every reference to tuition was to be met only by gibes he had no case. But in Ireland, as had been the case in Denmark, Gothenburg or Switzerland, tuition not for four years only, but ten or fourteen must precede any full revival of industry. Until Irishmen were educated in these sciences they could not expect such a revival Last year the Department gave 719 lectures throughout the country, and they had an average attendance of ninety people. He did not know whether any hon. Member had ever tried to lecture in a village, but even if the meeting were on a burning political question they might congratulate themselves on having evoked a great deal of interest if they had an attendance of ninety. To illustrate the progressive expansion of the work of the Department he would mention that the number of instructors in horticulture had increased from one in 1902 to nine last year and fourteen this year, and that the number of counties which were working on horticulture were three in 1901, twenty-two last year, and thirty-two this year, or all the counties of Ireland. The number of experimental science schools was in 1901,154, last year 196, and this year 250, every one of them equipped with laboratory appliances. The year before the Department was started the number was six. Last year the number of students was 29,500; this year 40,000. Of the teachers who had been trained there were, in 1901,276, last year 562, this year 711.

His answer to the charge on the ground of expenditure was that in starting work of this kind there must be initial expenditure upon the staff, which at first blush might seem excessive. They must employ men from other countries who knew something of the matter, but if they saw such an expansion as these and other statistics indicated then they ought not to doubt the ultimate success of this great experiment. Whereas at the outset almost every county and urban district resented or dissented from the scheme proposed, now nearly all of them agreed. And believing as he did that in the future it would be possible to consult local fee ling more than in the past, he would submit that the Committee ought not to pass a vote of censure upon men who had worked and overworked themselves in this most promising undertaking, and which would be misunderstood in the country. They should encourage the officials of the Department, the teachers and the pupils; they should encourage also British constituencies in a hopefulness of this experiment, which, he was convinced, would be attended during the next four years with far greater success than had attended it in the past.


said the speech which the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had just delivered had been a delightful intellectual treat. The right hon. Gentleman spoke for sixty-five minutes, and had devoted sixty of these minutes to the delightful political flippancies for which he was noted, and the last five minutes to the work of the Department. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman proved how essential it was that Sir Horace Plunkett should keep the promise which he made when the Board of Agriculture was constituted, that he would either come into the House or resign his position. It was important that a great Department like this, which spent £200,000 a year, should have a representative in the House to answer the criticisms of the representatives of the Irish people. It was a curious compliment to Sir Horace Plunkett that there was not a constituency in Ireland to accept him. Sir Horace had received the blessing of the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh that light, and he opened his eyes when he saw that hon. and gallant Gentleman deliver that eulogy, because it was notorious that the hon. and gallant Gentleman had been one of the chief agents in keeping Sir Horace Plunkett out of South Dublin. It was the landlords of Ireland that were responsible for the absence from the House of Commons of the Vice-President of the Board of Agriculture. He could easily see why it was that the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh had given his benediction to Sir Horace Plunkett that night for the first time. Sir Horace Plunkett had written a book in which he spoke of the Irish people with a feeling of contempt. The late Lord Salisbury once compared the Irish people to Hottentots; Sir Horace Plunkett in his book described them as a race of imbeciles. He had attacked the Trish clergy, which was rather ungrateful of him, because the Irish clergy had stood by him and encouraged him in his work. This was what Sir Horace Plunkett said— The real matter in which the direct and personal responsibility of the Roman Catholic clergy seems to me to be involved is the character and morale of the people of this country. No reader of this book will accuse me of attaching too little weight to the influence of historical causes on the present state, social, economic, and political, of Ireland, but even when I have given full consideration to all such influences I still think that, with their unquestioned authority in religion, and their almost equally undisputed influence in education, the Roman Catholic clergy cannot be exonerated from some responsibility in regard to Irish character as we find it to-day. Are they, I would ask, satisfied with that character? I cannot think so. The impartial observer will, I fear, find amongst a majority of our people a striking absence of self-reliance and moral courage; an entire lack of serious thought on public questions; a listlessness and apathy in regard to economic improvement which amount to a form of fatalism; and, in backward districts, a survival of superstition, which saps all strength of will and purpose—and all this, too, amongst a people singularly gifted by nature with good qualities of mind and heart. That was the description by Sir Horace Plunkett of a powerful and virile race which had sent missionaries the world over, had produced famous poets, and had been a great intellectual force in Europe for hundreds of years! Sir Horace Plunkett had also made sweeping charges against the teaching orders in Ireland. He said that the Christian Brothers and nuns were incapable guides of Irish youth; but Mr. Dale, the Protestant inspector of schools, who had been sent to Ireland to report upon educational work being done there, refuted these reckless charges. He had inspected 292 convent schools and many of the Christian Brothers' schools, and found them the most efficient and best schools in Ireland. He hoped the Committee would recognise that if a department like the Board of Agricultural and Technical Instruction was to be conducted by a man with practically the whole power in his own hands, that man ought to have sympathy for the people and their aspirations. Sir Horace Plunkett's sympathy showed itself in a slander upon a great body of public servants who were engaged in a high and holy mission. Sir Horace Plunkett was nothing more or less than the head of a great proselytising agency in Ireland, which had come in to kill Home Rule with kindness. If this was a part of the kindness with which Home Rule was to be killed, it would take much more than Sir Horace Plunkett could accomplish to do it. The real and legitimate settlement of the Irish question could only be done through the agency of an Irish Parliament. He had heard the Chief Secretary quote a number of continental countries where agriculture flourished under the direction of the Technical Instruction Department, but the right hon. Gentleman forgot to mention the one notable difference between these countries and Ireland — they were self-governing countries, whereas in Ireland the representatives of the people had nothing to do with the administration of the public funds of this Department. He was not afraid to give his vote on this question. Sir Horace Plunkett should not be held to be above criticism, and the Irish Members were justified in the attitude they had taken up in regard to that gentleman.

MR. DELANY (Queen's County, Ossory)

said he wished to support the Motion of his hon. friend. He agreed with the hon. Member for Longford that no practical result had followed from the expenditure by the Agricultural Department. Emigration was on the increase, and the condition of the country was worse than it was four years ago. He said this from his own knowledge, as he was a member of two county committees and also of the Agricultural Council. He believed the Department was working on wrong lines. Something might be done to keep the young men and the young women in the country. He would quote an opinion on the working of the Department, which, perhaps, would be received with some respect by hon. Gentlemen opposite. It was given by Lieutenant-Colonel W. Warburton, who was recently on a visit to a relative in Ireland. That gentleman said— I now turn to the Irish Department. Sir Horace Plunkett and Mr. Gill have been aware of this for over a year and a-half, but they have persistently shut their eyes to the facts with which they were acquainted, and they have been squandering the public money in ' industrial efforts' which only tend to the impoverishment of the people and the country in the interest of England and English industries. Since 30th November last I have been urging the Irish Department and the public, through the columns of the Press, to change their policy. The replies of Mr. Gill, the book written by Sir Horace Plunkett, the last issue of the Irish Department's journal, and concurrent testimony, leave me no doubt whatever that the policy of the Department has been designedly shaped with this end in view— the prevention of Irish competition, and no other. The Bishop of Ardagh, in the chair at a lecture in Longford by the chief instructor of the Department, uses these words: 'What have you done these four years with the Department's money and the ratepayers money? Have you kept the people at home? The answer to these questions reveal failure. I have my serious doubts if we are not squandering the money that is so badly wanted for other purposes. I have none. The answer to these questions is, not only nothing has been done, but the efforts of the Irish Department have been concentrated upon hand industries which have nearly all disappeared in England, and whose principal effect is poverty, emigration, denationalisation, and aggravation of all the evils which the curse of seven centuries of English rule has inflicted on Ireland. A complete and sufficient explanation of the policy of Sir Horace Plunkett and Mr. Gill (who has been purchased at a cheap rate by his master) may be found in one paragraph of a paper read by Sir Richard Sankey, R.E., at the Cork Exhibition and published in the Irish Department's journal over a year ago. 'The peat bogs are the true gold mines of Ireland. There is no reason why all the machinery of Belfast should not be run from the bogs. They are capable of sending out vivifying streams of power to the farthest corner of Ireland, which would be placed in a position to compete in all forms of industry with England and Scotland. That was an expression of opinion of a Lieutenant-Colonel in His Majesty's Army. Reference had been made during the debate to the unfair methods which had been pursued in connection with the appointment of the staff of the Department. The Chief Secretary made a great point of the fact that, owing to the neglected state of technical education in Ireland, Irish instructors could not be found. When, however, the King's County Technical Committee was about to appoint a chemical expert, an Irishman of good qualifications was a candidate. The Department sent down two other candidates, and intimated that the Irish candidate had not proper qualifications. Reference had been made to the clerks in the Veterinary Department. He believed that no more partisan or sectarian action was ever taken in Ireland than that which had occurred in connection with that Department. When the Department was transferred from Dublin Castle it contained twelve clerks and one head clerk. Six of these were Catholics; and although they had from ten to thirteen years service they had to remain at £9C a year, and when they petitioned for an increase of salary they were threatened with dismissal. There were, however, others in the Department who were receiving salaries of £1,000,£950, and £700. When he put a question with reference to this partisan and unfair treatment of men of capacity and respectability, he was informed that the Department had no knowledge as to the religion of these gentlemen; just as the Attorney-General said that he did not know what was the religion of the twelve Protestants he put into a jury box to convict a Nationalist. If the matter were not remedied he would revert to it again, in order that justice might be done. He had no objection to any man because of his creed; but he certainly objected to the sectarian and partisan manner in which these clerks were being treated; it amounted in his opinion to a public scandal.

MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)

said he desired to intervene in the debate because he had been a member of the Recess Committee and was at present Chairman of the Technical Instruction Committee at Blackrock. He had been identified with the Department and, therefore, he did not wish to give a silent vote. He was glad to hear from the Chief Secretary that he welcomed criticism. Criticism was not only useful but absolutely necessary to preserve the a efficiency and economic administration of every public Department. It was even it more necessary in Ireland than in England, because in Ireland the officials were masters of the situation. He agreed that the discussion was a practical one as far as the mistakes and omissions of the Department were concerned; and it was in the interests of the Department as well as in the interests of the Irish ratepayers that the present situation should be discussed. He would not enter into a discussion of Sir Horace Plunkett's book. They were engaged in discussing his Department, not his book; but, at the same time, he thought that an Irish Minister who was responsible for a Department which was supposed to be non political and non-sectarian would be wiser If in not writing such a book. On the general question he thought that the reason why Ulster was more prosperous than the other three Province? was that they had in Ulster absolute ownership of land and houses. He was of opinion that ownership went to the root of all prosperity in Ireland; and that the security of farmers and town tenants in Ulster undoubtedly helped to establish the prosperity of the province. No doubt security would be partially accomplished by the Land Act as far as farmers were concerned; but he hoped that similar protection would also be afforded to town tenants. One of the principal reasons why the Agricultural Department was not working more efficiently was because there was a certain difference between local opinion and the opinion entertained by the Department. He did not know how the friction to which his hon. friend referred arose between the Longford County Council and the Department, because if the county council did not approve of the scheme they need not have adopted it. The Department and the local authorities did not, however, appear to be in harmony. For instance, a breed of bulls called Galloways were introduced into the West of Ireland against the strong protest of farmers and dealers. The result was that dealers would not now attend fairs in districts where Galloway bulls had been introduced. He only mentioned that as one instance. Then, again, Hackneys were introduced into Connemara, although everyone knew they would be unsuitable for the work. It was assumed that the Department had certain functions with regard to the railways; but, in practice, they found that Sir Horace Plunkett had practically no power; and that the railways did as they pleased. It was difficult to get at the figures and facts of the railway question. Years ago he suggested that a Viceregal Commission should be appointed.


said it was the hon. Gentleman himself who accepted the alternative of a Departmental inquiry.


said he did not then expect that a policy of masterly inactivity would be pursued. He had been reading Reports of the American Board of Agriculture, and he found that one of its functions was to test soil. Why should not similar tests be introduced into Ireland, in order that the soil might be utilised to the best possible advantage? With reference to technical instruction the one thing necessary was that they should have schools properly equipped, and he thought that the Chief Secretary ought to bring pressure to bear on the Treasury to provide them. He hoped also that when boys and girls were given technical education, means of employment would be given to them.

Question put.

The Committee divided:—Ayes, 76; Noes, 146. (Division List No. 173.)

Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.) Hayden, John Patrick O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)
Ainsworth, John Stirling Hayter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur D. O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)
Ambrose, Robert Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H. O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)
Barry, E. (Cork, S.) Horniman, Frederick John O'Dowd, John
Beaumont, Wentworth C.B. Jordan, Jeremiah O'Kelly.James (Roscommon.N.
Boland, John Joyce, Michael O'Malley, William
Burke, E. Haviland Kennedy, Vincent P.(Cavan, W O'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Caldwell, James Kilbride, Denis O'Shee, James John
Campbell, John (Armagh, S. Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall) Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)
Causton, Richard Knight Leamy, Edmund Power, Patrick Joseph
Cogan, Denis J. Lundon, W. Reddy, M.
Condon, Thomas Joseph MacVeagh, Jeremiah Redmond, John E. (Waterford)
Crean, Eugene M'Fadden, Edward Roberts, John (Eifion)
Cullman, J. M'Hugh, Patrick A. Roche, John
Delany, William M'Kean, John Roe, Sir Thomas'
Devlin, CharlesRamsay(Galway M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North) Sheehan, Daniel Daniel
Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny, N.) Markham, Arthur Basil Sheehy, David
Doogan, P. C. Mooney, John J. Shipman, Dr. John G.
Farrell, James Patrick Moss, Samuel Sullivan, Donal
Ffrench, Peter Murphy, John Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)
Field, William Nannetti, Joseph P. Thomas,David Alfred (Merthyr
Flavin, Michael Joseph Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South) White, Luke (York. E.R.)
Flynn, James Christopher O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork
Gilhooly, James 0'Brien,Kendal Tipperary,Mid TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir
Gladstone, RtHn. HerbertJohn O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Thomas Esmonde and
Griffith, Ellis J. O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N) Captain Donelan.
Hammond, John O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.
Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel Forster, Henry William O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens
Anson, Sir William Reynell Gordon,Hn.J.E.(Elgin& Nairn) Pease, Herbert Pike(Darlington
Arnold-Forster,RtHn.Hugh O. Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury) Peel,Hn.Wm. Robert Wellesley
Arrol, Sir William Gretton, John Percy, Earl
Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John Greville, Hon. Ronald Platt-Higgins, Frederck
Aubrey-Fletcher, RtHn. Sir H. Groves, James Grimble Powell, Sir Francis Sharp
Bain, Colonel James Robert Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill Pretyman, Ernest George
Balcarres, Lord Hardy,Laurence (Kent,Ashford Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne
Balfour, Rt. Hn. A. J. (Manch'r Haslett, Sir James Horner Reid, James (Greenock)
Balfour, RtHn GeraldW.(Leeds Heath,Arthur Howard (Hanley Renwick, George
Balfour, Kenneth R. (Christch. Heath, James (Staffords.N.W.) Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Hoare, Sir Samuel Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert
Beach, RtHn.Sir Michael Hicks Hobhouse,Rt Hn H(Somers'tE. Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter
Bhownaggree, Sir M. M. Hoult, Joseph Round, Rt. Hon. James
Bignold, Arthur Howard, John(Kent,Faversham Russell, T. W.
Blundell, Colonel Henry Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil Rutherford, John (Lancashire)
Brassey, Albert Hudson, George Bickersteth Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)
Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John Hunt, Rowland Sackville, Col, S. G. Stopford
Brotherton, Edward Allen Kennaway,Rt.Hon.Sir JohnH. Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander
Bull, William James Kenyon-Slaney, Col.W.(Salop Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles
Butcher, John George Keswick, William Saunderson, Rt. Hn. Col. Edw. J.
Campbell,J.H.M.(Dublin Univ. King, Sir Henry Seymour Seely,Maj.J.E.B.(Isle of Wight
Cavendish, V.C.W. (Derbyshire Knowles, Sir Lees Sharpe, William Edward T.
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow) Sinclair, Louis (Romford)
Chamberlain, RtHn J.A.(Worc. Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool) Skewes-Cox, Thomas
Chapman, Edward Lawson,John Grant (Yorks.NR Sloan, Thomas Henry
Give, Captain Percy A. Lee,ArthurH.(Hants,Fareham Smith, Abel H. (Hertford,East)
Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E. Lees, Sir Elliot, (Birkenhead) Smith,H.C(North'mb.Tyneside
Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)
Compton, Lord Alwyne Long,Col.Charles W.(Evesham Stanley,Hon.Arthur(Ormskirk
Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim,S. Long,Rt.Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.) Stanley,Rt. Hon. Lord (Lanes.)
Cross," Alexander (Glasgow) Lonsdale, John Brownlee Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley
Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton Lucas, Reginald J.(Portsmouth) Thornton, Percy M.
Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.
Dalkeith, Earl of M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire) Tuff, Charles
Davenport, William Bromley Majendie, James A. H. Valentia, Viscount
Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen) Martin, Richard Biddulph Walrond,Rt.Hn.Sir William H.
Dickinson, Robert Edmond Melville, Beresford Valentine Webb, Colonel William George
Dickson, Charles Scott Mildmay, Francis Bingham Whiteley,H.(Ashton und. Lyne
Digby, John K. D. Wingfield- Montagu, G. (Huntingdon) Wilson,A.Stanley (York, E. R.)
Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph Morpeth, Viscount Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm
Dorington,Rt.Hon.Sir John E. Morrell, George Herbert Wortley, Rt. Hon. C B. Stuart
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers Mount, William Arthur Wrightson, Sir Thomas
Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin Murray, RtHn A.Graham (Bute Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George
Faber, Edmund B. (Hants,W.) Murray, Charles J. (Coventry) Wyndham-Quin, Col. W. H.
Fergusson,Rt.Hn.Sir J.(Manc'r Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath) Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong
Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst Newdegate, Francis A. N.
Finch, Rt. Hon. George H. Nicholson, William Graham TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir
Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne Nolan, Col. JohnP.(Galway,N.) Alexander Acland-Hood and
Flannery, Sir Fortescue O'Doherty, William Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.

Original Question put, and agreed to.

Resolution to be reported upon Monday next; Committee to sit again upon Monday next.

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