§ MR. N. J. MURPHY (Kilkenny, S.)
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if his attention, or the attention of the Law Officers of the Crown, has been drawn to the position of affairs of the Irish Provident Assurance Company, Limited, and to the fact that thousands of pounds of the policy-holders' money have been spent by the directors in various schemes with the object of making profits for themselves; and also that the funds of the company are not properly safeguarded in the interests of the policy-holders, which makes it 651 possible for the directors to use the funds of the company for their own personal purposes, without any power of control being accorded to the members of the company; and will the Government consider the desirability of having an investigation made into the working of the Irish Provident Assurance Company, Limited, to follow on the investigations which were conducted by the Law Officers of the Crown, but were discontinued in consequence of the, proposed amalgamation of the Irish Provident with the National Standard Corporation, Limited, and which amalgamation was not carried out.
(Answered by Mr. Kearley.) The attention of the Board of Trade has been called from time to time to the affairs of the Irish Provident Assurance Company, Limited, but I am not aware of the circumstances referred to by the hon. Member. As stated in the Answers given on the 23rd April last to the hon. Member for West Kerry, and on the 22nd August last to the hon. Member for Limerick, the only power vested in the Board of Trade is that, under Sections 56 and 57 of the The Companies Act, 1862, of appointing an inspector upon the application of members holding not less than one-fifth of the share capital of the company for the time being issued. I may remind the hon. Member that by the Companies Act of last year, which will collie into operation on the 1st July next, the proportion of members required for the purposes of an application will be reduced from one-fifth to one-tenth.