HC Deb 27 November 1906 vol 165 cc1434-5
MR. HALPIN (Clare, W.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the British Executive Commissioner to the Milan Exhibition will furnish a Report as to the results of this Government's participation, and if a detailed statement will be published, dealing with the expenditure of the £10,000 appropriation given by the late Government, and what steps were taken by the British Commission to have Irish industries adequately represented; if any Irishman was a member of the Commission, or if Ireland was represented on the international jury of awards; if a Return will be given as to the number of Irish industries represented; if the nomination of jurors was made with a due regard to fitness; if those who acted as jurors were British subjects and connected with industrial enterprises; if it is the intention of the Government not to make further grants for exhibition purposes until after a Report is made by the Commission appointed to report on the subject of exhibitions: and if the Report will be laid upon the Table of the House.


I may perhaps be allowed to answer this. I am informed by the President of the British Commission for the Milan International Exhibition, Sir Albert Rollit, that a Report as to the results of the Government's participation and a detailed account and statement dealing with the expenditure of the £10,000 Grant-in-Aid has been kept, and will be furnished to the Government by the Commission in due course. Measures were taken by the Commission to secure an adequate representation of Irish industries. The Commission communicated with the Department of of Agriculture, &c, Ireland, and with all the leading Irish industrial houses, and approached a large number of firms through the personal good offices of the Italian Consul-General at Dublin and the Consul at Belfast; they also employed a leading firm of exhibition agents to endeavour to gather a representative Irish exhibit. The success achieved was only very moderate. The Commission paid all expenses connected with the Irish exhibits with the exception of those of only one exhibitor. The following Irishmen (and possibly others) were members of the International Jury: Admiral C. P. Fitzgerald, A.I.N.A., Mr. J. Sebastian Barnett, teacher. But in the nomination of juries, the principle of nationality as within the United Kingdom was not followed, and in most cases was not known. The Irish industries and business houses, &c, represented included:— Carpet-making and rope-spinning; Benada Abbey Technical and Lace School, Tubbercurry, county Sligo; St. Louis Convent, Carrickmacross, county Monaghan; Youghal Lace Industry, Youghal, county Cork; Dun Emer Guild, Dundrum, county Dublin; the Belfast Ropework Company, Limited, Belfast, The nomination of jurors was, of course, made with full regard to fitness; of the forty-two jurors for Great Britain thirty-eight are known to be British subjects; one (if not two) of the others is an Italian expert long resident in England, who may have been naturalised (inquiry will be made on this point), and one a Japanese expert. Practically all the jurors were connected either directly, or as experts or otherwise, with industrial enterprises. I have here a list of the jurors with their qualifications, which I shall be pleased to show to the hon. Member if he will speak to me afterwards. At the present time I am not in a position either to say that no grant will be made for exhibition pending the Committee's Report, or that, when the Report is received, it will be considered necessary to lay it on the Table of the House.