§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £5, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge "which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1912, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of Agriculture and other Industries and Technical Instruction for Ireland, and of the services administered by that Department."
§ Mr. CLANCY
I was delighted to find a Vote recommended by the Development Commissioners for any useful public purpose in Ireland. The first item concerns the provision of dredgers, and I wish to ask for what sort of harbours these dredgers are intended. For some years past some of us have been asking for money for the purpose of dredging some small harbours on the East Coast of Ireland. I need not now argue the necessity for a provision for that object. I merely 1102 wish to ask whether these dredgers to be provided by this Vote are intended for those small harbours or not?
§ 10.0 P.M.
I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture for Ireland a question with regard to the class of dredger which the Government are about to purchase for this sum of £4,250. Has consideration been had to the difference in the harbours around the coast of Ireland so far as regards the draught of the dredger, and will she be fitted with modern appliances? Further, I would like to know, will this dredger be available in parts of Ireland where hitherto private energy has been expended in dredging narrow shoals and channels of harbours and rivers which give admittance to inland ports in Ireland. Everybody is aware that some of the harbours on the east coast of Ireland are readily silted up by the tide, and that makes it extremely expensive for the small population surrounding that particular locality to keep the harbour mouth properly dredged. In many instances the amount necessary for that expenditure has had 1103 to be augmented by grants from the local authorities, and sometimes from the private means of those who take an interest in that particular locality. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to assure us that, although the work has been done in this manner in the past, in future the Government dredger will be available for all localities, whether or not the apparatus and machinery is on the spot owned by private individuals, because if this dredger is provided out of public funds it is only natural for every small harbour in Ireland to expect, and even demand, that her services shall be at the disposal of the local authorities. I have in my mind along the coast of Antrim and Down many entrances which are constantly being silted up and where, at considerable expense to the local inhabitants, a fairway has to be dredged sometimes by means of obsolete machinery, and it would certainly add very much to the prosperity of those parts of the coast if small vessels, colliers, and fishing fleets were given the facilities which could be provided by the use of this Government dredger. The important fact has to be borne in mind that the Government have only one vessel—at any rate I have no knowledge of any Government dredger assisting us in the northern ports or on the county Down coast. The right hon. Gentleman in his capacity as Vice-President of the Department may have some familiarity with that part of the coast, but the real point is this: we hope from the outset there will be nothing partisan in the way in which this vessel is allowed to carry on her work, and I trust we may have an assurance from the Vice-President that the most deserving cases, irrespective of locality will receive attention, and that he will not allow any pressure brought by the Nationalist party to weigh with him in the slightest degree, so far as granting the services of this new dredger is concerned. Now I pass to the second item, and I wish to ask a question with regard to agricultural research and advisory work for which a Grant of £2,400 is being invited. I do not at all object to the money being obtained for the purpose, but a short time ago it was stated in the Press that the right hon. Gentleman had vetoed a much larger sum of money being obtained for equally important work in Ireland. How is it that this sum of £2,400, inadequate as it is for the purpose, is put down in the 1104 Vote by the right hon. Gentleman who was instrumental in preventing us getting a much larger sum for the same purpose—a much larger sum which would have done justice to the case?
The VICE-PRESIDENT of the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Ireland) (Mr. T. W. Russell)
Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman explain to what he is referring?
I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is not the fact that, under the scheme of Sir Horace Plunket, a very much larger sum of money would have been voted in order to develop Ireland's resources and that the right hon. Gentleman did all that lay in his power to prevent it being granted.
Of course, I bow to your ruling at once, but I must confess at the same time it surprises me that the right hon. Gentleman has whitewashed himself by putting down such a small sum for work admittedly requiring ten times the amount in order to carry out the necessary experiments. That is all the moral that I would draw from the smallness of this sum and the largeness of the sum that the right hon. Gentleman was responsible for refusing to Ireland in the first instance. I hope he will be able to give us some explanation on the subject, inside the rules of order in this Committee, in order to satisfy what is in Ireland a very natural desire to get to the bottom of the Department's ideas on this very important subject.
§ Mr. ASHLEY
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not confine the activities of this dredger to the East Coast of Ireland, because I would point out to him, as he no doubt already knows, that there are many small harbours on the West Coast which are equally deserving of attention, such as that at Sligo, as there are on the East Coast Will the right hon. Gentleman give us some idea of how much he is going to 1105 charge for this dredger, and whether for a harbour which has been built entirely out of private funds any charge will be made at all? I have in my mind a harbour on the West Coast, built about fifty years ago at a cost of nearly £30,000, the owner of which paid for it entirely out of his own pocket. He built it entirely for the use of the fishermen, and he now keeps it up entirely at his own cost. The harbour is in constant danger of silting up. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will consider whether, in a case such as this, where a man, without any profit to himself, but to the benefit of the community, has spent this large sum of money, this dredger will be allowed to be used by this estate free of cost.
§ Mr. DILLON
I want to ask the right hon. Gentleman a question on Sub-head R (Agricultural Research and Advisory work). Before I ask that, may I say in reference to what has fallen from the hon. Member for East Down (Captain Craig) that he seems to be in a state of ignorance on this subject. He seems to be under the impression that the Grant to which he alluded, and which cannot be brought under this Vote under the rules of Order, had to do with the same subjects as are contained under another head. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order, order."] I am far more in order than was the hon. Gentleman. I did rule him out, but he continued the subject all the same.
May I say to the hon. Member that every ruling of his on any measure will be treated in exactly the same way.
§ Mr. DILLON
That matter is out of order, and has no relation whatever to the subjects dealt with under Sub-head R. The question I want to put to the right hon. Gentleman is, what is the nature of the technical advice and assistance which it is proposed to give in the suppression of cattle diseases under this sub-head? The machinery at present in Ireland for the suppression of cattle disease is very ineffective. It is a matter of enormous importance, and I shall be very glad if the right hon. Gentleman will give us some indication as to whether this means a general revision of the machinery for suppressing cattle disease, particularly that disease of which we heard so much earlier in the Debate on the Vote for the English Board of Agriculture, namely, swine fever. I am inclined to think sometimes that what is said here by English Members in regard to the English Board of Agriculture is quite true, that the experts really 1106 do not understand what swine fever is. There is a great deal of difference of opinion on the subject. The question is of far more importance to Ireland than it is to England, because the industry is a larger part of our agricultural industry than it is in England. A great deal of investigation is required before an effective system for the suppression of swine fever can come into existence. I shall be glad if the right hon. Gentleman will give us some indication as to what is contemplated under this particular Grant.
Mr. J. GORDON (Londonderry)
I should like to know if the Grant of £6,645 asked for is for the purpose of recouping the Development Fund for money which have been taken out of it. In the note to "Q" it says:—This plant has been acquired for the purpose of dredging small harbours. This expenditure is to be met by a Grant from the Development Fund.Then under "P, Appropriations in Aid," it says:—The increase of £6,645 is due to Grants from the Development Fund to meet the expenditure incurred under Sub-heads Q and R.In the first place it appears as if that expenditure was to be met out of the Development Fund, but from the bottom of the page it appears as if it were to meet the expenditure already incurred. Is the Development Fund to be at the cost of these two sums? Is the Development Fund to be drawn upon to meet these two charges, and if it has been drawn upon, is the sum now asked for to recoup that fund for the moneys taken from it?
§ Sir J. LONSDALE
I shall be glad if the right hon. Gentleman will inform the Committee whether anything has been done during the past year to make research in regard to the disease known as red water in cattle. I ventured to put a question to the Chief Secretary during last Session pointing out that a loss of no less than £200,000 a year is sustained by Irish farmers in consequence of this disease, and that the authorities seemed unable to cope with it. The Chief Secretary on that occasion said that inquiries were being made and that every step would be taken for the purpose of obtaining a possible remedy for the disease. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will tell us if any steps have been taken in that direction. It is a very serious matter, and one which is exciting a considerable amount of attention amongst the farmers, especially in the North of Ireland. I myself had a deputation of farmers which waited upon me in 1107 the last few months pointing out the terrible loss they were sustaining in consequence of the neglect of the Department to suggest some remedy whereby this serious disease might be met. I hope that if the right hon. Gentleman has not yet taken any steps he will certainly do so in the immediate future.
§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
I should like the right hon. Gentleman to tell me, for the satisfaction of the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Captain Craig), who has excited my suspicions with regard to this dredger, rather than for my own, to what religious persuasion it belongs.
§ Mr. T. W. RUSSELL
Up to the present time the Department has been very much handicapped by the want of a small dredger. We have a large dredger which is and has been extremely useful. But the real necessity was a small dredger with a draught of five or six feet to go into the small harbours on the coast, east and west. The hon. Member (Mr. Clancy) gave a very good illustration. Balbriggan Harbour was quite silted up not long ago. It became necessary to clear it, and it had to be done by spade labour. A small dredger can run into a harbour like that and clear it in a very short space of time, whereas it took, I think, two months to clear it by spade labour. That is the object the Department has had in getting this small dredger. We have been fortunate in getting it through the Development Commissioners. They have done a great many things for Ireland, and will do a great many more. At all events this supplies a real want. It cannot be in two places at one time, but I can promise that every part of Ireland will have the same claim and will receive the same consideration. I have never known any charge of partisanship against the Department in the administration of the great sum of public money which they have to administer. As the hon. and gallant Gentleman, knows, much of the Department's funds are administered through county funds, and not through the central Department at all, therefore partisanship is quite impossible. The funds are disposed of automatically to the county committees, which are elected by the county councils, and it will be a pretty stiff puzzle for anyone to explain how the funds of the Department could be allocated in a partisan way.
Can the right hon. Gentleman quote any single instance of the larger dredger ever being in any harbour except those where the majority on the board were Nationalist?
§ Mr. RUSSELL
At all events I have explained the intention of the Department in securing the small dredger. There is a small charge, I admit, but the local authorities have cheerfully paid it up to the present time. As to the second question, I will give a list of the advisory purposes. First of all, we are asking for a seed-testing station in Dublin, a thing which was very much required, and it will be of great service to the farmers and traders alike for investigation of diseases of plants and root crops, the chemical analysis of manure and veterinary advice in regard to the suppression of diseases of cattle. These are the purposes for which this money is expended. The hon. and gallant Gentleman said the amount was small. If the amount is small, I am not to blame for the smallness. It is not nearly what we require, and we shall have to get more. I am not-responsible for the amount. I asked for a very much larger sum, and the Development Commissioners have granted this sum to begin with. We must try to make the best possible use of it. I am sorry to tell the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) that swine fever is increasing. I agree with him that the veterinary officers of the department in Dublin, or anywhere else, have no definite idea as to its cause. It is exceedingly difficult to deal with, and in future it will require more attention devoted to it. There are many other diseases to be investigated. One we are investigating specially is braxy in sheep. It is very prevalent in the county of Wicklow. There was a specific found for it, but the Professor in Aberdeen who discovered it died, and the secret was lost. We are labouring now to find a specific for that disease, and I think there is hope of achieving good results. These are the things we are doing with this money. We are investigating as to the most suitable time for spraying. We have erected stations in the west of Ireland for that purpose. We could not do with £2,400 if we had not the funds of the Department to supplement that amount. This is only part of the money spent on research work. Large sums are going in the same 1109 direction. In reply to the hon. Member for South Derry, I would ask him to understand that the figures given are the Treasury figures. The original Vote was £29,910. The revised Vote shows £6,555 for research and advisory work. All the money that comes from a Development Commission has to go through Committee of Supply, just in the same way as other Votes.
§ Sir J. LONSDALE
I think it is desirable that the right hon. Gentleman should refer to the matter of red water which affects the interests of the farmers in Ulster.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
We have at least two inspectors making inquiries now and studying this disease. There are all sorts of "cures" for it in the North of Ireland, but no real remedy has yet been found. It is being investigated in the veterinary laboratory in Dublin. I can assure the hon. Member that it is not being lost sight of.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I was very glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman tell of the work which is being actually undertaken at the present moment with regard to the further investigation of this terrible scourge of red water which is causing such a great amount of loss and hardship to the agricultural interests in the North of Ireland. I congratulate him heartily, and hope that satisfactory results will be forthcoming soon. With regard to dredging, the right hon. Gentleman admitted quite frankly that the North of Ireland, especially the North-east coast of the constituency which I have the honour to represent (North Down), has not been so favoured with the attentions of the Board in regard to dredging as it might be, and he asks us to have faith in the small dredger which will be employed in the work. I hope that this faith will be justified speedily by works, and that we shall soon have the pleasure of seeing the small dredger, which this Vote is to enable the Board of Agriculture to acquire, at work in the harbours on the coast of Down.
Mr. P. J. POWER
I am very glad to hear about the purchase of the small dredger. The Department had no doubt a large dredger which it placed at the disposal of local authorities at a reasonable figure, but this was in many cases absolutely useless because there was not sufficient water in very small harbours to admit the large dredger. I believe that 1110 the small dredger will be able to get round to these harbours and do the work which, in certain cases, as at Balbriggan, was done with spade and shovel, a mode of work that was very expensive and unsatisfactory. I would be glad if the right hon. Gentleman could tell us how he is dealing with the scourge of contagious abortion which prevails so much among cattle in Munster at present.
§ Mr. SANDYS
I have listened with interest to the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman with reference to the small dredger. The Department was in possession of a large dredger that could not operate in these small harbours in Ireland, which, small though they are, are nevertheless of great value to the fishing communities in these localities. Now the right hon. Gentleman is providing a small dredger with a draught of only five or six feet, which will be able to operate in small harbours where the large dredger could not be used. It has been stated that in these small harbours operations for the purpose of clearing them have been carried out by means of spade work. It seems to me that an operation of that kind must be extremely unsatisfactory; and, in fact, with my experience of small English harbours around our coasts, I cannot recall an instance which has come under my personal knowledge where operations of the kind described by the right hon. Gentleman have actually taken place. I think it is a very desirable thing that the Government should have taken this matter in hand, and that they should have provided a small dredger of this character, which will avoid the extremely unsatisfactory operations which the right hon. Gentleman has described as having taken place in these small harbours, which are of such importance to the fishing and seafaring community. I am sure that every Member of this House will welcome the declaration made by the right hon. Gentleman, and the definite pledge he has given that in the allocation of the sphere of duties of this new dredger which the Board has provided political influence shall have no place. The statement will have been received with peculiar gratification, because, so far as past experience goes, it seems to create a precedent which has not been very apparent on previous occasions—a precedent which we may all trust will be acted upon in future. The right hon. Gentleman also stated in the course of his observations that the £2,400 which is being allocated for 1111 agricultural research and advisory work was going to be used for various objects which he described in detail. First of all investigations are to be made into the various diseases of crops and of cattle, the chemical analysis of manures at present employed in Ireland, and also—which is very necessary—some portion of the money is to be devoted to an investigation of the milk supply. When I was in Ireland some time ago, I understood that considerable difficulty had been experienced in various parts of the country owing to the serious shortage of the milk supply during the winter months. That is a subject to which we might well apply a portion of the money. There might be an investigation as to whether the farmers, at any rate in the West of Ireland, are employing the best methods in regard to the care of cows, and a portion of the money might be allocated in that direction. One question which I wish particularly to address to the right hon. Gentleman is as to whether any part of the investigations to be made will take place at the Agricultural College at Athenry. It appears to me most desirable that experiments should be carried out there.
§ Mr. SANDYS
I refer to the institution at Athenry which is devoted to agriculture, and it appears to me that the experiments could be carried out with greater safety owing to the fact that the institution is so splendidly protected by the force of police. The experiments could there be carried out under favourable conditions, and no doubt some satisfactory results might be obtained. I sincerely hope the right hon. Gentleman will consider whether it would not be advisable, in view of the extreme interest which the inhabitants of that neighbourhood have displayed in that agricultural institution, that those elaborate experiments should be carried on in that particular institution.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
I should like to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that this Estimate is somewhat defective. For instance, we are told in the second item that there has been no amount given hitherto for the purpose of research. I looked through the original Estimate for the current financial year, and I find that there is a Grant of £6,000 1112 towards experiments and research in connection with tobacco growing. When a statement like this is put before the Committee, we ought to have the whole facts, and not part of them.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
Tobacco is not a matter of research. This House has given £6,000 per year for five years for the purpose of ascertaining by experiment whether tobacco can be grown as a commercial speculation. That is wholly different from agricultural research.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
It may be very difficult to define the word "research," but the right hon. Gentleman has already in his footnote attempted to do so as regards those particular purposes for which he wants the grant of money. If those purposes are well covered by the word "research," certainly the large sum that is being expended on tobacco-growing experiments can be far better covered by the ordinary acceptation of the word research than a good many of these purposes. All I ask is that you should put your Estimate, as is done in the case of the Board of Agriculture, as "for the purpose of agricultural experiments and research," and then the House of Commons will be properly equipped to deal with it. I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on having at his disposal with the help of this Supplementary Estimate an enormous sum of money for those purposes. I wish we had such an amount to dispose of in this country I would like to ask when he refers specifically to swine fever under what heading in this particular Estimate are we to find any reference direct or indirect to swine fever. I am glad to observe that Ireland has been comparatively free from this disease, and I am sorry to see that there is any recrudescence of it. He does mention in an explanatory note that some of his research is in connection with cattle diseases. Swine fever is not a cattle disease. Can the right hon. Gentleman give us some details to show what portion of this money is actually applied to cattle diseases, and to what cattle diseases, and what portion is being applied to what he has mentioned as the most expenditure, namely, that on swine fever.
I may mention for the instruction of the House that in the original Estimate for the year Ireland is given £10,000 for expenses in connection with swine fever. I should like to know how that money is being expended, because the number of cases of 1113 swine fever in. Ireland has been very small. [HON. MEMBERS: "Order."] I do not know why my Irish Friends should call me to order. I only ask before you request the House of Commons to give you an extra amount to say what you have done with the money you have already got. The right hon. Gentleman has referred to two diseases from which he states that in Ireland stock at present suffer. One of them is braxy in sheep, and he tells us that there is a great deal to be learned about it. There is a great deal to be learned about every disease of stock in both countries. As regards braxy our Department has already carried out very extensive researches. Before Parliament votes a large sum of money for fresh researches in the neighbouring country, I would recommend the right hon. Gentleman to confer with the President of the Board of Agriculture. He will probably then find all the information he requires with regard to this disease. I think the time has come when we might collaborate to a much greater extent, not merely with Ireland, but also with our Colonies, so that there should not be a waste of public money in carrying out the same work in different parts of the Empire. Reference has been made a red water in cattle. It is common knowledge that that is a serious disease in South Africa and that researches in this disease are there being carried out at considerable expense. Surely we need not duplicate this work. We ought to make a large Imperial Grant in order that this kind of research might be conducted in a proper way by duly qualified persons with sufficient funds for the purposes of the whole Empire. I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman that he has done one thing that we have not in this country. He has provided a station for testing agricultural seeds, thereby setting a good example, which I hope our own Department will soon follow.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
Is it not in order to argue against the whole of the Vote on the ground that a cognate and more deserving object has been slighted and ignored?
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
I will come to the practical point. I wish to protest against this Vote on the ground that the shocking treatment which Sir Horace Plunkett—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I can put the hon. Member's mind at rest if that is the practical point. I shall not allow it.
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
In these circumstances, without giving reasons, I protest against the whole of the Vote.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I understand that this is a Vote for various purposes of agricultural administration, such as investigation into cattle diseases, testing seeds, and the like. Surely, before public money is voted for such purposes, it is competent for an hon. Member to comment on the administration of those investigations, and to show that that administration might be better conducted! If my hon. Friend can show that under a better system of administration—if there had been less partisanship, for example — these various agricultural works might have been better carried out, surely it is competent for hon. Members to do so. We cannot have efficient control over public money unless matters of that kind can be gone into. These are the things that really matter. We cannot tell by looking at a Paper of this kind whether seeds are tested in a right way or investigations properly conducted. The real control of this House over administration is over the administrators, not over the details of how seeds are tested. [An HON. MEMBER: "A point of Order!"] If you wish to interrupt, interrupt. Do not simply make a noise.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I am trying to show that the control of this House must be exercised, not over the particular way in which an administration is carried out, but over the administrators. If one can show that the administration is badly conceived in regard to a broad question of that kind, we have a useful discussion—much more useful than asking question in regard to swine fever, about which I doubt whether the right hon. Gentleman knows very much. The speech of the hon. Gentleman did not give me very much information. It would have been much more to the purpose if my hon. Friend had been allowed to comment on what is really a great question of administration, without the solution of which we cannot control the administration of this or any other matter.
§ The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Whitley)
If I were to accept the view of the Noble Lord, a rule which has been for generations in existence in regard to Supplementary Estimates would be destroyed. Supplementary Estimates would then be on exactly the same basis as the main Estimates.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I bow to your ruling, but I was anxious to ask one very simple question that you or the right hon. Gentleman could answer. He said that this was a matter that was dealt with by a Grant from the Development Commissioners. He also said, what was rather new to me, that the Development Commission Grants all came separately before this Committee, and are voted separately. I do not understand what opportunity this Committee has of reviewing the whole policy of the Agricultural Department in relation to the Grants made or assistance given by the Commission. On this occasion we are bound to restrict ourselves to the precise point dealt with in the Grant. On the Development Grant we are bound to consider, I suppose, the general policy of the Development Commissioners. What point, then, is there on which you can take the two together?
§ Mr. RUSSELL
So far as I understand, the proper opportunity for discussing them would be on the Departmental Vote.
§ Mr. MALCOLM
I only want to say that £4,250 is rather too little to pay for a dredger, unless it is a small one—and I had occasion lately to buy one—and I would like it to be perfectly clear that it is not second-hand. Otherwise I think it is money badly spent.
§ Sir H. CARLILE
The right hon. Gentleman has told us that he applied to the Development Commissioners for a larger sum. Under these circumstances, what explanation did those administering the fund give when they declined. The time of the House has been, under the circumstances, taken with a trivial matter.
§ Mr. KILBRIDE
A few moments ago the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Waterford asked the Vice-President of the Department what was being done in regard to the question of abortion in cattle. We heard, last Session, of the reply of the hon. Gentleman above the Gangway that the English Agricultural Board was devoting its attention to this particular question. Could the right hon. Gentleman inform us what progress has been made by 1116 the English Board in regard to that investigation? There is no cattle disease from which the Irish farmer loses so many cattle.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I wish to ask how much of the money under Item A, "Agricultural research and advisory work: to meet a proportion of the expenditure on the testing of agricultural seeds, investigation of plant diseases, chemical analysis, and technical advice and assistance in suppressing cattle diseases," is expended in the investigation of epizootic abortion. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Kilbride) stated that this particular disease is at present very prevalent in Ireland, and is causing very great loss to the Irish farmers. I may tell the hon. Gentleman that this disease is also extremely prevalent in England, and causes great loss to the farmers in the dairy business in my own county and other counties as well. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Kilbride) said that some hon. Member on these benches had stated that the Board of Agriculture in England had found some remedy for this disease. I do not think that is absolutely accurate. The Board of Agriculture in England has gone to considerable trouble to find out the origin of this disease and what steps should be taken to prevent it, but so far as I know I do not think they have come to any definite conclusion. I am glad of the admission of the hon. Member below the Gangway, for here in England we are under the impression that we are suffering from this disease being imported from Ireland into England. There is, as everyone knows, a considerable sale of cattle which hon. Members below the Gangway want to get rid of, and they send them to England, and they are not adverse to taking the money of the Saxon in payment for these cattle—
§ Sir JOHN LONSDALE
On a point of Order, is my hon. Friend in order in imputing disease to cattle from Ireland, which may have a very serious effect on the industry of our country. I must protest against a charge which might very seriously injure the cattle trade of Ireland.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I should be only too sorry to do anything to harm my hon. Friend or anybody by anything I said. I may point out to my hon. Friend that the question was raised by the hon. Member 1117 below the Gangway. He told us there was a lot of this disease in Ireland, and that cattle in Ireland were suffering a great deal from it, and it was only in reply to that that I informed the hon. Member below the Gangway that our cattle had suffered by it. It is because I know that this is a disease which has increased very much in the last three or four years, and no researches have found a remedy for it, that I am desirous of asking whether some of this money is to be spent endeavouring to find a remedy. The hon. Member for North Down suggested co-operation between the two Boards of Agriculture, and I think that was a most valuable suggestion. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give us some assurance that he will be able to do something to meet what is an extremely dangerous disease, which is causing much devastation not only in Ireland, but also in England. This is a matter which stops the milk supply, and it deserves the very serious consideration of hon. Gentlemen opposite.
§ Viscount CASTLEREAGH
We are labouring under the disadvantage of having a Minister who, unfortunately, is not well acquainted with the duties of his office, and we have not had the opportunity of questioning the Minister, who has been a long time at the Board of Agriculture. We have not received any information upon the subjects we desire information upon. I have risen to ask one particular question in respect of the £2,400 for the purpose of obtaining information with regard to the testing of agricultural seeds. The hon. Member for Wiltshire suggested that there should be collaboration, but is there collaboration? Hon. Gentlemen behind me are desirous that England and Ireland should be entirely separate countries, but we are desirous that there should be collaboration in every Department. We think they should carry out these researches jointly, and I ask the right hon. Gentleman to give us information on this point.
And it being Eleven of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House.
Resolutions to be reported to-morrow (Tuesday); Committee report Progress; to sit again to-morrow.