§ SIR THOMAS ESMONDE (Wexford, N.)
asked leave to bring in a Bill under the ten minutes rule to extend the Marine Works (Ireland) Act to districts outside of the congested districts. He said the subject had been debated in the House several times, and it was unnecessary for him to dilate upon the merits of his case. The House was well aware of the condition of a very 361 large section of the Irish population and of the state of the fishing industry on some parts of the Irish coast.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
, rising to a point of order, called attention to the absence of the Chief Secretary. This was not right, seeing that the Bill affected the interests of Irish fishermen.
§ MR. JOSEPH DEVLIN (Kilkenny, N.)
May I ask if the right hon. Gentleman is writing his resignation?
§ SIR THOMAS ESMONDE
, proceeding, said the Bill was introduced on behalf of a large section of the Irish fishing population. The question had been brought to the notice of various Chief Secretaries, but, so far, nothing had been done. He made no doubt, however, that the House would be glad to assist them to obtain this small and modest measure of relief, especially as it was not very likely that any measure of legislative importance would be forthcoming for Ireland as the result of the session. It was a matter of very urgent and pressing necessity. Year by year the fishing population was diminishing, and year by year the tide of emigration was flowing quietly on. There was already a Bill, the Marine Works Act, referring to certain parts of Ireland, and he asked that that measure should be extended to the entire coast of Ireland. The question was non-controversial. The Bill had been very carefully considered by everybody in Ireland who understood the question, and it had the support of Irish bodies, county councils and harbour boards, and everybody interested in the fishing industry. In fact, it was a measure which would have the support of an Irish Parliament. The existing Act was not quite as good as it might be, and in the new Bill they desired to improve it. For instance, the Irish 362 Board of Works, which was a very unsatisfactory body, had large powers, and they proposed to place their responsibilities upon the shoulders of Irish elected bodies to whom the Act would be entrusted. Similarly, they proposed to give the county councils and harbour boards such powers of supervision and protection as would to some extent protect the Irish ratepayers against possible mistakes by the Board of Works. They further desired to improve the financial position of the Irish local bodies by consolidating their debts and taking other steps to assist the Irish ratepayers. He trusted the House would agree to the First Reading of the Bill and that it would assist them in its subsequent stages.
Motion made, and Question proposed, "That leave be given to bring in a Bill to extend the Marine Works (Ireland) Act, 1902, to districts out of the Congested Districts."—(Sir Thomas Esmonde.)
MR. POWER (WaterforJ, E.)
sought to speak, but the Speaker ruled that unless he opposed he had no locus standi. The hon. Member said he did not oppose the principle, but he could not agree with all the hon. Member for North Wexford had said.
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
said that without speaking in opposition he had frequently commented on speeches of Ministers in introducing a Bill under the ten minutes rule, and he submitted that it provided that the Speaker might call upon a Member to oppose, or might restrict the debate or allow it to go on.
§ THE SPEAKER
said he thought that reading a little too wide. The Standing Order only applied to opposed Bills.
Question put, and agreed to.
Bill to extend the Marine Works (Ireland) Act, 1902, to districts outside of the Congested Districts, ordered to be brought in by Sir Thomas Esmonde, Mr. Cogan, and Mr. Power.