HC Deb 01 April 1908 vol 187 cc514-5
MR. BOLAND (Kerry, S.)

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland whether his attention has been called to the successful prosecution on 27th March, by the Irish Industrial Development Association, of the French firm La Samaritaine, trading at 99, Regent Street, London, for exposing and selling as Irish lace a crochet blouse made in France; whether he is aware that a fine of £20 was imposed on the defendants; and whether, in view of the importance of the case to the lace classes carried on under the Congested Districts Board, he will state what steps he proposes to take in order to acquaint those classes with the unfair competition by which they are being menaced, and in order to safeguard the interests of the Irish lace industry.


My right hon. friend has asked me to answer this Question. The Department are aware of these frauds, and sent two witnesses to give evidence in the cases in question. One of these witnesses, namely, Miss Anderson, the Home Industries Inspectress, gives information concerning such matters to the classes which work in connection with the Department, but the remedy does not lie with the classes as a rule. The Board of Trade are empowered by the Merchandise Marks Act, 1891, to undertake the prosecution of offences under the Merchandise Marks Act, 1887, in cases which appear to the Board to affect the general interests of the country, or of a section of the community or of a trade, and in which they are furnished with evidence sufficient to justify them in undertaking the prosecution. In answer to a recent Question put by the hon. Member for North Cork County, I stated that the Department would be prepared to bring under the notice of the Board of Trade, for such action as they may think desirable, any cases of fraud affecting Irish industries that might come under their notice. I also stated that the Department were aware of the action of the Irish Industrial Development Association in this respect, and that I consider that much of this work can be most effectively done by such an agency representative of the traders themselves.


Will the hon. Gentleman answer the last part of the Question?


The Department are considering the desirability of strengthening the staff working in Great Britain.