HC Deb 03 July 1911 vol 27 cc799-800

asked whether, in the event of the National Insurance Bill being made applicable to Ireland, the friendly benefit society named the Ancient Order of Hibernians will be qualified as an approved society to administer the benefits of the Act; whether he is aware that on initiation as member of a Hibernian lodge it is necessary for a candidate to pledge his sacred word and honour that he will use his influence against addresses of loyalty to any English monarch or representative of the English garrison till the legislative independence of Ireland is restored; and whether, in view of the fact that numbers of loyal citizens may be compelled to become members of this or other Hibernian societies, the Insurance Commissioners will be empowered to prescribe an alternative oath which can be taken when desired?


Complete freedom as to admission or rejection of members is allowed to the approved societies, except that they may not refuse an applicant for membership on the ground of age. It is not intended to prevent members of approved societies from associating together for any purpose other than health insurance, if they desire to do so; but no part of the funds raised under the Act may be applied to any purposes except those specified in the Act. I confidently anticipate that everyone will be able to find a society which will put no unwelcome strain on his political or other convictions.


Does the right hon. Gentleman contemplate any difference in treatment between approved societies of the Hibernian Order, and the approved societies in connection with the Orange Order?


No, there will be no distinction made between them whatever. We have nothing to do with the political convictions of those who associate. We have simply to deal with the branches established for the purpose of carrying out the Act.

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