HC Deb 23 July 1908 vol 193 cc495-6

As amended considered.


said that before the Bill was read a third time he would like to say that he regretted very much that another Bill which had been introduced for a similar purpose had been withdrawn some days previously. The Bill which had been withdrawn enabled a larger sum to be devoted by the Irish county councils for the construction of marine works, while the Bill they were now considering only allowed them to spend £1,500. He considered £1,500 was not an adequate sum so far as his particular district was concerned. £1,500 would not enable them to do the work they ought to do, and the Bill which had been withdrawn was much more satisfactory. He did not blame the Department of Agriculture, which he had no doubt had done its best, but he wished to know why the previous Bill had been withdrawn and this Bill substituted. All the Bill did was to allow the Irish county councils to spend their own money, the rates of the Irish taxpayer, for the improvement of marine works on their coast. What object could anyone have in objecting to their spending their own money? He was told the Treasury objected, but what business had the Treasury to object seeing that it did not contribute any money to their marine works? He might be wrong in supposing that the Treasury was the evil genius, but if it was perhaps the Vice-President of the Board of Agriculture would say so. He wished to know why the objection was made if it was the Treasury which objected. If the Treasury really wanted to put its finger into every Irish pie it was quite time they had some representation on the Treasury. It had been agreed in 1817 that there should be an Irish Vice-Chancellor attached to the Treasury, but that arrangement, like a great many other arrangements in regard to Ireland, had been broken. They ought to have a representative in the Treasury, and the Government might consider the advisbility, if that House was to be of any real use in local matters, of bringing in a Bill to re-establish the Irish Vice-Chancellor, and thus give Ireland some voice in the Treasury. It might, of course, be that that small Bill had been substituted for the larger Bill in consequence of representations which had been made, but in any case he was sorry that it had been substituted. The Bill was at the best bound to have a very small result. If he received no answer from the Treasury Bench he would divide against the Bill.


asked if the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President of the Board of Agriculture would give an answer to the questions which had been raised. It was a very serious matter connected with the county councils of Ireland that they were considering, and surely the right hon. Gentleman was not wanting in that courtesy which was usually extended from the Treasury Bench to hon. Members.


said he had done his best in difficult circumstances in order that the county councils might co-operate in small works and it was not the fault of his Department that the smaller sum only had been allowed.


said he was quite satisfied with what the right hon. Gentleman had said. He knew it was not the fault of the right hon. Gentleman, but he extremely regretted the course that had been adopted.

Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER, pursuant to the Order of the House of 10th July, adjourned the House without Question put.

Adjourned at Sixteen minutes before One o'clock.