§ Mr. BARRIE
I beg to move, "That Item F (Diseases of Animals, Grants-in-Aid) be reduced by £100."
I wish to raise the question of the recent visitation of foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland, which I hope we have now got rid of. Let me point out that this visitation extended over six months and that great restrictions were insisted upon by the President of the English Board of Agriculture, and I am afraid there were many mistakes made by the officials of the English Board, and that in many cases these restrictions were wholly unjustifiable. The result has been the disorganisation of a great industry and the creation of a prejudice against Irish cattle. The opinion of practical men in Ireland has been overborne. The final blunder is the proposed permanent embargo at the British ports against Irish cattle. Every trade organisation in both countries has protested against it. Not one of them has said a single word of approval of it. The effect of such an Order would be to make permanent an Order arising out of temporary conditions. The Irish farmers have been as anxious as any British agriculturist could be to take every precaution and to give every assistance in order that the disease might be stamped out at the earliest possible day. Because of the feeling among Irish agriculturists no complaint was made of what were really excessive restrictions. It was believed that 350 they were necessary to deal with a temporary necessity which would soon pass away, but we now find that the Irish-farmers and cattle dealers have to face these widespread and permanent restrictions, which would never have been imposed for one moment by the Department in England or Scotland. This twelve hours' detention will inflict serious injury upon the whole Irish cattle trade. We believe it is unnecessary and that it will have a disastrous effect not only upon the Irish cattle trade but upon the markets in Great Britain. I do not think there has been a trace of the disease in Ireland for many months. We had immunity in Ireland for the last twenty-eight years before this outbreak. There have been sixty-eight cases during the last seven months. Is it right that because of these cases in a few centres in Ireland that the country should be treated as suspect, as if it were a foreign country? It cannot be justified for a single moment. It will imperil the whole industry. The President of the English Department has tried to justify it on the ground of the danger to the English cattle trade. His colleague in the Irish Department goes further. I shall come to that in a moment. When an important deputation from the shipping companies waited upon him in November last, the President of the English Board of Agriculture said to them:—We feel that we are not justified in relying upon an Irish inspection only. The double inspection undoubtedly has got to come.[An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] I observe there is one solitary supporter of the right hon. Gentleman.The double inspection undoubtedly has got to come, inspection on the other side, and inspection on this side as well.We are here to-day, in a free House at last, to test that statement and to give our reasons for joining issue with the President's proposal. I say at once that our opposition to this permanent discrimination against Irish cattle is entirely apart from politics. There is no difference among Irish Members on this subject. You have first the declaration of the All-for-Ireland meeting which took place in Dublin three weeks ago. It was a meeting called from all parts of the country of representative men and practical agriculturists, who unanimously condemned this provision. The Chambers of Commerce of both Dublin and Belfast took the same view, and we had a special meeting at the Irish Council of Agriculture upon the subject 351 I do not propose to read the whole of the resolutions which were all unanimously passed. They are summed up in one sentence, in which it is said:—The cumulative effect cannot fail to inflict a crushing blow on Ireland's greatest agricultural industry.These are resolutions passed by bodies which have commercial representatives upon them. When you come to a body which not even the President will minimise—the South of Ireland Cattle Dealers' Association—what have they to say in reference to this matter?Our Committee, having carefully considered this matter, are of opinion that if these restrictions are imposed, it means the complete destruction of the Irish Store Cattle trade. Many traders from all parts of the country have written to us expressing their strong disapproval of the suggested restrictions and the absolute futility of attempting to carry on the cattle trade in such conditions.I think I have shown what Irish feeling is in this matter. Other Members will show that that feeling is not confined to Ireland, and that those who are entitled to speak for the cattle trade on this side of the Channel are equally opposed to this permanent embargo. I pass from that for the moment, and wish briefly to refer to what I cannot but describe as the unpardonable blunders of the Department in connection with the recent outbreak. Let me briefly tell the story of two striking evidences of that. Five head of cattle, shipped from Newry to Birkenhead and slaughtered at Birkenhead, were pronounced by the English Board of Agriculture's inspectors to be suffering from foot-and-mouth disease. Those heads were sent to London and the decision of the inspectors was confirmed by Sir Stewart Stockman, the head of the Veterinary Department. In the meantime the movement of cattle from half of Ulster was summarily stopped. A few days later four cattle were sent over dead from Londonderry to Glasgow, the heads of which were examined by the veterinary surgeon, Mr. Trotter, who acts as Meat were also sent to London, and the Glasgow and who pronounced the animals as having had foot-and-mouth disease. Those heads were also sent to London and the Glasgow veterinary surgeon's opinion was confirmed again by Sir Stewart Stockman. Further large restrictions immediately followed, indeed, the trade was paralysed for ten days.
In both cases the heads were returned to Ireland, when the Irish authorities decided that the disease was not foot-and- 352 mouth disease. They traced the farm near Armagh from which the Birkenhead cattle had come, and found other cattle on it suffering from the same disease, which is very trifling compared with foot-and-mouth disease, and presents entirely different symptoms, which symptons were also identical with those in the Londonderry heads. From these animals, cattle, sheep and pigs (the two latter classes of animals being peculiarly susceptible to foot-and-mouth disease) were inoculated. No symptoms whatever appeared in the sheep and pigs, and in the cattle only the same trifling disease, which has been termed "dirty mouth." The English Board of Agriculture were informed of what was being done, and sent over one of their most experienced inspectors, who has been employed in nearly every outbreak which has occurred in England during the last ten years, Mr. A. H. Berry, a Fellow of the Royal Veterinary College. Mr. Berry agreed with the Irish Department that the disease was not foot-and-mouth disease, but was harmless, and that the symptoms were entirely dissimilar, and so reported to the English Board. Still the President of that Board, notwithstanding this humiliating experience, is not satisfied that the inspection of the Irish Department is sufficient; he has set up what he is pleased to call a permanent detention at the British ports, and we are here to-day to urge upon him, in light of all the facts, particularly those blunders to which I have just referred, that the time has come when he should realise that a mistake has been made, and grant us that free trade in cattle which we claim as our right, and for the hampering of which by the irritating restrictions we are at present suffering from, we say there has never been any justification. If the President of the English Board has brushed aside our representations, his colleague, Lord Lucas, has been more outspoken. It is difficult to deal with his reference to this subject in calm and temperate language. Speaking at Darlington, he said:—The step we propose to take is to set up some necessary provision for feeding, watering, and inspecting all cattle which come into this country, and I hope that will not cause any interference with the trade or any increased expense on the people engaged in the trade, but will have two good effects—one, that store-cattle will reach farmers in better condition than at present, and the other, that we shall have a permanent and effective safeguard against the possibility of repeating what happened in July last, their bringing into this country and scattering through it an enormous number of diseased animals before it was possible to detect the disease on this side.Hon. Members will notice that the total number of cases of cattle disease that 353 have been authenticated in Ireland throughout the whole outbreak is sixty-eight. Now we find this member of the Board, at a public meeting in England, talking of the enormous number of diseased animals which were coming into England before it was possible to detect the disease. Never did a British Minister show such delightful ignorance of the crushing blow his Department is proposing to deal at our first agricultural industry. It would be well for him to weigh his public utterances more carefully. I have never read a more malicious misstatement than his reference to this enormous number of diseased animals.
I want to say a word on the commercial aspect of his matter. The shipping companies, realising what a revolution this is in the conditions of the trade asked the President of the English Board to receive a deputation from them in the latter part of November. It was an influential deputation, and I do not think the President will differ from my so describing it. It was headed by Lord Inverclyde, the head of one of the largest shipping companies dealing with the transfer of cattle from Ireland to several ports in Scotland. It also included directors of companies trading with England. They made a case which the President of the English Department has not yet been able to answer. Let me briefly recapitulate what that case is. Take the case of the Clyde first. You have the Burns' steamers running to four ports in Scotland. Under this restriction all cattle must he landed at Merkland Wharf. which is the wharf where they have to deal with foreign cattle. It is quite a number of miles from the Glasgow Cattle Market. At present cattle are landed there in restricted numbers. They are held there for twelve hours. They always land after six o'clock in the morning, and the net result is that the railway companies will not receive them after six o'clock in the evening. They are consequently really tied up for twenty-four hours, instead of twelve. The charge per head called for by the authorities, who are the owners of the wharf, is 3s. The other incidental charges amount to as much, and we have not yet heard a practical man suggest that the cattle have gained rather than lost by that twenty-four hours' detention.
Under the old system these cattle were landed within a mile and a half of the cattle market and were immediately taken to that market and exposed for sale, no expense whatever being incurred. If the 354 morning after the twenty-four hours have run the cattle are still destined to Glasgow Market, they have to be walked over the stones for seven or eight miles. Does any practical man in the Committee suggest that after twenty-four hours' detention there is any more detriment to the cattle by that long trudge over seven or eight miles than there is in tying them up for twelve hours after landing? Another aspect of the matter is that the net result of the artificial detention at Merkland has been to kill all the internal cattle markets in Scotland so far as Irish cattle are concerned. You are by this restriction automatically compelling cattle to be sold at the port of landing. Some Scottish Members are receiving representations from their Constituents in regard to that, for it is being realised by those interested in the development of several internal markets in Scotland. There is another aspect; the question of humanity is brought in. What happens at the present time? The steamer arrives at Merkland instead of at the City Wharf as formerly. If the express steamers are continued on the routes the cattle are landed there and detained from twelve to twenty-four hours, and the steerage passengers, usually about 200 per night, are landed at the wharf and left to find their way into the city as best they can, women and children as well. It seems to me that humanity is in the wrong place altogether when it is suggested that there is any humanity in that. But what is really going to happen is that the recent improvement in the conditions of the Irish cattle carrying business will disappear. With the new express steamers the length of the passage has been reduced by 25 per cent., and in 90 per cent. of the cases the cattle are landed from Ireland in very good order at the Scotch and English ports. If this embargo is continued the shipping companies, in self defence, will be bound to bring out the old cargo steamers, with the additional hours in the passage and with less power to make the passage when the weather conditions are bad and in that way the condition of the cattle when they land will be very much worse than it has been for a good many years past. What I have suggested has already happened between Belfast and Liverpool. There the Belfast Steamship Company has been carrying cattle—and the reports of the Department must confirm what I say—and they have been in almost every case landed in the most perfect order. These express steamers, 355 miniature Atlantic liners, make the passage in eight hours. Under this restriction what has happened? They say "these boats are too large and too expensive to run and if you insist on going to Birkenhead we shall lose our time," and they have actually had to abandon carrying cattle entirely by the express steamers making an average passage of eight hours and they have now put on cargo steamers to run to Birkenhead. An average passage of twelve hours is the best that these boats can do, and when the weather is bad, as it frequently is on that passage, it frequently extends to fifteen hours.
So much for the shipping company's point of view. I yesterday received from the Secretary of the Londonderry Port and Harbour Board a letter to which I invite the special attention of the President of the English Department. He says his Commissioners would feel obliged if I would be so good as to raise the working of live stock at Merklands Wharf, Glasgow, which the dealers complain of as most unsatisfactory for the following reasons. First the lairage charge of 3s. per head, they say, is unreasonable; then they say Merklands is lighted by gas, which means that inspection must take place in daylight, and this means in many cases that the cattle have to stand detention a good deal in excess of the necessary twelve hours. He says although there is plenty of ground available and in possession of the Corporation both for the extension of the lairages and also for the extension of the wharf, no steps have been taken up to the present to give proper facilities for the carrying on of the business, with the result that trade is seriously curtailed through Merklands being only able to accept a comparatively small proportion of the cattle the dealers are pressing to get shipped each evening. He goes on to express a hope that if this embargo cannot immediately be removed pressure will be put on by the Government to have Merkland's Wharf equipped with electric light under which inspection might take place.
§ Mr. BARRIE
That raises another point. I think that if this embargo is insisted upon as a British versus an Irish question the English Department, with its large financial resources, should be responsible for the necessary expense. But I do not make that a part of my case. 356 The Secretary of the Derry Harbour Board continues:—The Scotch railway companies have made a regulation that they will not permit cattle to be loaded at the railway station at Merklands after six p.m., and as practically all the Irish cattle are landed later than six a.m. each morning this means that by the time the twelve hours is expired they are too late to be loaded that night and must remain until the following day, which works out at a real loss of thirty-six hours instead of twelve. You will recognise that these are most serious drawbacks to the Irish farmers and dealers and totally opposed to the humanitarian considerations upon which Mr. Runciman justifies the present regulations.I think there is general agreement amongst Irish authorities in that. The question of cost remains My view is—and I can say it quite frankly as not being interested as a shareholder in any of the shipping companies, that I believe the shipping companies generally will be able to overcome the cost that has been thrown upon them, both of providing lairages on the other side, and by the loss of tides and by the other delays by simply adding to the charge per head for carrying the cattle. We know of old that shipping and railway companies too are quite able to protect themselves. Let us consider what the additional charges are. I know the President minimises them. He says the cattle are going to improve so rapidly by this twelve hours' detention and rest after their exhaustive journey that the Irish breeder and dealer is going to get it all back in the increased price he gets for his cattle. It makes every practical man smile that the President of this great Department should show such delightful ignorance as to the facts of the case. All these charges cost money. This detention is a new condition within recent months. They come to England and Scotland and the resting and feeding and watering goes on again. That all costs money and it involves a greater relative cost to the small than to the large dealer because the question of supervision comes in. There is an increased rate for wharfage. All these additional charges will finally work back—they inevitably do—to the producer of the cattle and in this way we contend that this crushing blow is being inflicted upon all those concerned in raising cattle. I observe that the President has made much of the relatively small decrease in the total shipment to this side during this recent infliction. His right hon. Friend (Mr. T. W. Russell) will tell him that if we had not had this unfortunate outbreak we should have had record shipments of all classes of cattle from Ireland during this last half of last year. On the contrary we 357 have had a substantial decrease, but that decrease does not show, as it should show, how large the loss has been to Ireland under these conditions.
Having said so much, what is our suggested remedy for this? We are willing, if it is found necessary, that the inspection at present taking place on the other side of the Channel should be increased. All authorities on this side agree that Ireland is the proper place for effective inspection. If unfortunately new cases are discovered you can trace them back to the farms there. If you defer the inspection, or make the really effective inspection on this side, and you have a mass of cattle in one steamer, it becomes a greatly more difficult matter to trace the origin of the disease. But we go further than that, and we say that so anxious are we to restore confidence in the minds not only of the President but of of Lord Lucas and all the officials in this Department in Irish cattle, and to impress them with the fact that we believe the country is now free of cattle disease, that we would welcome the sending of his best experts over to the ports in Ireland to associate themselves with the Irish inspectors and make the inspection doubly secure. I have not heard any effective reason why that course should not be followed. We had it followed in this wonderful case to which I have referred, where the leading expert in the Department had to admit that the Irish view was right and the English view had been wrong. If it succeeded at that time and gave a large portion of relief to an important part of the country, why should it not succeed further? We believe it would, and we would welcome this co-operation.
We say the present state of affairs is absolutely intolerable and cannot continue, and if this is done I would even go the length of saying that the Irish Department would be well advised to offer to bear the cost of permanently placing in Ireland half a dozen inspectors appointed by the English Department. Whatever course may be followed, we realise the English side of this question as well as the Irish side. We entirely approve of the President of the English Department doing his best to secure that foot-and-mouth disease is kept out of England, but on the other hand we do not approve of petty restrictions, which have never been attempted on this side of the Channel, and restrictions which were not resorted to twenty-nine years ago in the 358 case of the previous outbreak in Ireland. At that time the English and Scotch system was followed of simply having a cordon drawn round the infected area. We ask now, on the first opportunity we have had in open Committee of pressing our view of this matter, that the President will realise that in the restriction which he has set up he is doing an injury. He is making the conditions of the trade absolutely impossible. One important shipper wrote me the other day that he had 120 fat cattle that he wanted to send to Scotland and, owing to the bottled up state of the industry, it has taken him three weeks to get them away. That cannot continue and we shall listen with interest to what the President has to say this afternoon. Every official authority which can be consulted on this matter on both sides of the Channel is in opposition to the view of the English Department.
§ Mr. BARRIE
I should like to hear of any English or Scotch Agricultural body quoted by the President. We know, indeed, that in the House those who speak as experts on agricultural matters for England entirely disagree with the twelve hours' detention. They say we could understand a week's detention or a fortnight or a month, but nothing could be more futile than the suggestion that you are going to locate disease and remove suspicion by a twelve hours' detention. The nett effect of twelve hours' detention is irritation, unlimited red tape and a serious injury to the industry. We think we have made a fair statement of the case. I hope I have not exaggerated in any way and I have to say here finally that no amount of complacency or confidence on the part of the President of the Department in the wisdom of the steps he has taken will reconcile Irish agriculturists to this restriction being continued one day longer than we can possibly help.
§ Mr. FIELD
I am glad the House has been afforded an opportunity of discussing this question in something like a free fashion, because although certain Members of the Committee may think that it is lost time and that they ought to have had a holiday, I can assure them that this is a question which is exceedingly important to Ireland at the present time. It has been calculated that between £2,000,000 and £3,000,000 has been lost in consequence of this outbreak of foot-and- 359 mouth disease. Of course, it would be absurd to say it was owing to the action taken by the two Departments that this large amount of money was lost to Ireland, but at the same time it should be understood—and I hope the President of the Board of Agriculture will not take this remark amiss—that there is a large amount of feeling in Ireland with regard to this question which points to ancient history, that it is the desire of certain administrators to minimise the trade of Ireland. For my part I do not agree with that idea, but I am bound to say that we have not been received when we have made representations on the subject in the manner we should have expected. As representing a very large body of public opinion in Ireland I have no wish whatever to travel over ground that has already been covered by the hon. Member (Mr. Hugh Barrie). There can be no doubt whatever, and I challenge contradiction on the point, that practically the whole public opinion of Ireland at the present time is solid against the twelve hours' detention, but in addition to that there is a very large amount of public opinion in Ireland which is somewhat critical as to the action of our Department. Of course, any business man knows that when officials interfere with any particular trade there must be a certain amount of criticism. I wish to say, speaking for myself and not as representing others, that in my opinion there is no other trade in the three kingdoms whose fortunes are placed in the hands of three or four officials on the other side of the Channel who are practically able to hold up the whole trade.
§ Mr. T. W. RUSSELL (Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture, Ireland)
§ Mr. FIELD
As far as my knowledge goes, there is no other trade in the three kingdoms which would submit to labour under the great disadvantage which the cattle trade between Great Britain and Ireland is under at the present time. A certain limited number of officials can practically stop the trade. I entirely agree with what the Vice-President of the Department said when he stated that this is a position of extreme difficulty. I know that when an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease occurs you must take swift action, and that if you do not act swiftly, you are practically spreading the disease. The Department has been asked to appoint an 360 advisory committee, because it does not follow that the officials are right in the decisions arrived at, but that has been refused. I would point out that in connection with the administration of the national insurance scheme and other matters such committees have been appointed, and I certainly think that with respect to the cattle trade in Ireland we ought to have had an advisory committee, for upon that trade the fortunes of Ireland largely depend. I think the right hon. Gentlemen at the head of both Departments misunderstand my position. My suggestion is that they should have an advisory committee to help them. There are many things which could be told by experienced men to officials.
§ Mr. FIELD
Somehow or other officials seem to think that they have a monopoly of knowledge about the particular Department which they represent, and that nobody else outside of the officials of the Department should make any suggestion. I do think that the officials could be properly advised by experienced men, and that it is possible to give them sincere and honest advice which ought to prevail. I wish to refer briefly to the history of what has occurred. Three or four of the leading salesmen were unexpectedly told of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. I take this opportunity of expressing my regret at the death of Mr. Hedley, a courteous official who worked very hard in the Department. I found him at his work there practically night and day, and I do honestly believe that his work in connection with this outbreak had something to do with his death. The country has suffered by his death a great loss, and I gladly take this opportunity of testifying my admiration of the services he rendered. That gentleman stated to me that the whole of the ports of England were shut to Irish cattle. I hardly credited the information, but on inquiry I found that it was true. I agree that it was necessary in the circumstances when an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease was unexpectedly discovered, that you should find out where the cattle came from, but considering that we had had in Ireland no foot-and-mouth disease for over thirty years, it was rather surprising to hear of this sudden outbreak. I believe the disease came from England or France. Shakespeare says:—Assume a virtue if you have it not,361 and I find that Lord Lucas and others have been going about not only assuming a virtue in this matter, but alleging all manner of things of which we in Ireland are not guilty. As a matter of fact we have had no disease in Ireland for over thirty years, and on the other hand, it has been present more or less in England for some time past. I am speaking of what I know, because I am a member of the Committee appointed to inquire into foot-and-mouth disease. There were a great many instances of the disease before it came to Ireland, but we are charged with poisoning England practically with the disease. Whether it is a disease endemic to any country I do not know. It began at Swords, and the cases there were dealt with, I must say, very severely by the Board of Agriculture in Ireland after they were located. I never could understand, nor can I understand now, why our cattle should not be treated in the same way as cattle in England in similar circumstances. In England you draw a cordon of a certain number of miles all round where a case occurs. In Ireland there has been no disease at all in Connaught and Munster for many years, and yet these provinces were not allowed to send store cattle to England. Why was not the same treatment accorded to these provinces as is given to them at the present time? I know places in England where there were serious outbreaks, but after a short time the cordon was abolished, and freedom was allowed to the trade. Unionists are constantly telling us that Ireland has equal treatment with this country, and, if that is so, I hold that we are entitled to the same treatment as is accorded to Englishmen in this business. So far as I am personally concerned, although I find fault with the severity of the action of the Vice-President of the Department in Ireland and his officials, at the same time I give them credit for the fact that under the conditions which existed for a time they acted in a way which enabled them to deal with the outbreak within a very short time.
A great many people who have not studied the question think that we ought to adopt the Continental method of isolation. I wish to point out that in Germany, Belgium, France, Austro-Hungary, and all the Continental countries where that method is pursued they have thousands and thousands of cases. The disease has been endemic in these countries for years past. Therefore, nothwithstanding the 362 criticism of the method adopted in the three kingdoms, it appears to me a better system than that adopted on the Continent. At any rate, owing to the action of the Department, the disease has been dealt with in a reasonably short time. I wish to impress one thing upon the Vice-President of the Department, and that is that we ought to know the contents of the report by Professor Mettam and Mr. Prentice with regard to the cases which occurred in Ireland. I think the House and the country generally are entitled to have a publication of this report. So far as I can learn the English experts were wrong and the Irish were right, and the Irish Department and its officials are entitled to this measure of justice which will show that they were correct. Following these revelations was an enormous stoppage of trade. The papers made a great deal of the matter, and the result was that a tremendous amount of injury was done to the trade. Irish cattle to a great extent lost their high character, and I trust that I have shown that we are entitled to ask the President of the Department of Agriculture that this report should be published so as to prove that our Irish officials were right.
I come now to the period of detention. If the passing of resolutions could make an empire, then we should have made one long ago, because we have passed more resolutions probably than any other country in the world, but on this particular subject we have had resolutions from every class in the community, and practically from all representative bodies of the most diverse character. In every instance the burden of their lay was that this detention of twelve hours was altogether unnecessary. It is not for me to say whether I quite agree with that or not. Personally I have always been in favour of a certain amount of detention to rest and water the cattle, but detention for twelve hours in my opinion is too long. I think that the President of the Board of Agriculture hardly realises what it means to the trade. All the fairs and markets in Ireland are regulated to suit the fairs and markets in England, and it might be arranged if there was a certain set time that such detention would not seriously interfere with those markets and fairs. But if we are to have twelve hours' detention, and the twelve hours' detention may be extended sometimes so long as to interfere with catching 363 trains and markets, it will have a very serious effect on the trade. I hope that whatever resolution the President of the Board of Agriculture will come to he will not lay down a hard and fast rule that there must be twelve hours detention in every case, because as has been pointed out by the hon. Member who spoke before me, it is a very serious matter. As a practical man I know that if you get cattle that are not dehorned, or what are called tipped, and put them together into a pen and keep them there for twelve hours, the probability is that they will do a great deal of harm to one another, because there is probably nothing in the world more inclined to quarrel among themselves than Irish cattle. If you can find a number of cattle, strange cattle particularly, that have never seen one another before—because cows, like members of Parliament, come to know one another—they are bound to quarrel with one another, and detention for any length of time will cause a great deal of harm to be done. Therefore, where possible, we ought to have a shorter period of detention.
The greater restraint we place upon the English and Irish cattle trade the more we play into the hands of the foreigner. Let any man go up to the Central Meat Market on any morning when there is a large supply, and you will find that more than 90 per cent. of the meat there sold is foreign meat. If you go to Islington Market, which was built a few years ago, and, it was prophesied, would be the greatest market in the world, you will find that it has dwindled down so that practically it hardly pays its expenses. Now, unless precautions are taken to enable the livestock trade of the three kingdoms to be carried on conveniently and at the least possible cost, you are going to help the foreigner to a much greater degree than probably is anticipated. I say to the heads of both Departments that I am not exaggerating. I am making a plain, business-like statement free from anything like attack, abuse or exaggeration. I am stating the facts as I know them, and I hope that those who are responsible for the management of these great Departments will understand that I do not come here to attack the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture or the President of the Board of Agriculture. I come here in the national interests of the two countries, and I hope that what I have said will have some effect on these right hon. Gentlemen. Practically I have no 364 personal motive in the matter at all; I am not an exporter nor a rearer of cattle. I have no financial interests in the question of which I am speaking except that I happen to be President of the Irish Cattle Traders' and Stock Owners' Association, and Honarary Secretary of the Dublin Victuallers' Association, and that I have been President of the National Federation of Meat Traders. I think the Vice-President of the Department can assure you that so far as I could, so far as my influence extends, I gave him every help in carrying out all regulations. Sometimes I did not agree with them, but I loyally accepted them and did my best to help him to carry out all regulations in regard to the outbreak in Ireland.
§ Mr. FIELD
There is another matter that will touch the English side of the question more perhaps than the Irish side. If much more difficulty is placed on the importation of stores into this country it will have a very serious effect on the supply of meat. I had yesterday a telegram on this subject, which I sent to the President of the Board of Agriculture, who has his own difficulties to contend with. I think that some of my Irish colleagues hardly realise what the President of the Board of Agriculture has to meet. I know that a great number of English county councils have passed Orders with a view to preventing the importation of Irish cattle. If my reading is correct, the President of the Board of Agriculture has power to overrule these Orders in certain cases, and it may be necessary for him to exercise that power; but my Irish colleagues must understand that he has to be guided very largely by local opinion, and must not override it unless where it is absolutely necessary; and although we are forced to take one action there is a force against us on this side. We ought to recognise that, and that there should be a certain amount of give-and-take and co-operation on this very important matter. The point I want to make is this: if the supply of stores is not allowed freely to come to England and Scotland—and the Scotch people, I think, in certain respects have a more bitter complaint to make even than the majority of the English people—but if stores are not allowed to come you must naturally in the course of time have a lesser supply of fat cattle. That will also add to the argument I have used of increasing the 365 hold of the foreigner in this country. The fat cattle trade has been very badly treated in this matter. Whatever may be said about stores, surely the fat cattle cannot be regarded as a possible source of contagion.
This is not purely an Irish question. It is an English question as well. There are great interests in England depending on it as well as in Ireland. These are the suggestions that I have to make in conclusion. I think an Advisory Committee should be appointed, notwithtstanding the objections of the two right hon. Gentlemen, and when I say Advisory Committee I do not mean a large number of men, I mean two or three men on both sides of the Channel who would consult with the right hon. Gentlemen in order to help them and not to hinder them so that unity of action, which is the principal thing, could be ensured between the two Boards as far as possible. The other request I have to make is that the President of the Board of Agriculture should reappoint the Departmental Committee on Foot-and-Mouth Disease, so that we may find out exactly where we are and what further knowledge has been gained with regard to the difference of opinion that has existed between the English and Irish Department in respect of this foot-and-mouth disease and dirty tongue. At at early stage of tins outbreak I said it appeared to me to be more of a mouth than a foot outbreak, because I remember very well that thirty years ago the feet of the cattle were very badly affected. In fact the animals could hardly walk, and it was only in a few cases that the feet of the cattle were affected at all recently in Ireland. I hope the suggestions I have made will be acceded to. I want the report of Professor Mettam and Mr. Prentice published. I would wish the two right hon. Gentlemen to consider the advisability of appointing a small practical Advisory Committee, and I would wish the President of the Board of Agriculture to consent to the reappointment for a short time of the Departmental Committee on Foot-and-Mouth Disease. I desire the House to understand that I have made these remarks with the intention of showing that this is not purely an Irish question, but one for co-operation between Englishmen, Scotchmen and Irishmen to preserve the great trade which is so useful and necessary to the three countries.
§ Mr. MUNRO-FERGUSON
Those of us who are concerned in agriculture are really 366 much more closely united together than might be inferred sometimes in these Debates, and I can assure the hon. Gentleman who speaks with so much authority on the subject, that sympathy in my part of the country is not wanting for Ireland in the trials which she has recently come through, and the sympathy which we extend to Ireland is all the greater because of the progress which has been made in agriculture during recent years in that country. In Scotland we perhaps cultivate our land cleaner than is the case in Ireland, but Ireland has shown us the way in agricultural co-operation—a very difficult part of agricultural organisation in which she has shown us a clean pair of heels. We have very strong sympathy with Ireland, and a great admiration for much that she has recently accomplished in agriculture. At the same time, I do not think it would be possible to treat this question from the point of view of shipping companies altogether, as was a good deal apparent in the speech with which this Debate was opened. Whilst I attach great importance to the humane treatment of cattle, I am not always conscious, when crossing the Irish Channel, that the instincts of humanity are fully observed in normal conditions. The trial to which Ireland has been subjected, has been shared in Scotland, because the interruption of the trade in stores has in many parts of Scotland led to great loss and inconvenience.
We have not been able to get cattle to eat our turnips, and we have had to pay a very high price. We are quite as much interested, and even more interested in getting stores from Ireland, than Ireland is in sending them to us. But there is a general consideration which occurs to me, and it is that the loss which Ireland has sustained will be a blessing in disguise to that country, if it teaches her to insist on doing a little cattle feeding herself. In former years, we drew our stores largely from Canada. That trade was stopped, I think on sufficient grounds at the time, and probably even now. There is the element of protection and there is the element of disease also, and I do not know that we could trust the trade of the new world even now. Canada began to feed her own stock, and made a very good thing of it, and the stores were not sent over here. The great increase in the export trade of stores from Ireland has its melancholy side, for it means that the prairies in Ireland are not to be broken up and put under a cultivation such as we 367 carry on ourselves in Scotland in order to feed up those stores. I doubt whether it is a healthy trade. I admit that you cannot change the whole current of agricultural industry at a moment's notice, but that does not mitigate the loss which has been incurred during the last few months, though it does, I think, leave food for reflection, because if Ireland could develop her feeding trade in the same way as she has developed her milk industry, it would lead to a revolution in the agriculture of Ireland.
As regards the precautions which have been taken, we in Scotland, as represented by our Chambers of Agriculture, came to the conclusion that our interest was security. We were unanimously of opinion that security was the first consideration, and, upon the whole, we supported the policy of the President of the Board of Agriculture because of his endeavour to give us security in very difficult circumstances. Our sympathy, I think, should too be extended to that highly tempered example of the Scotchman who presides over the destinies of agriculture in Ireland, and who also has had a very hard time of it. We feel, upon the whole, that these regulations were required, and we believe that they ought to be strict here, because we are not confident that they are sufficiently strictly observed in Ireland. The regulations I believe are much better administered in Ireland than formerly, but their administration still fails to give us absolute confidence.
§ Mr. MUNRO-FERGUSON
We are of opinion that the regulations arc not observed by agriculturists in Ireland, and in many respects we think that the regulations issued by the Irish Board are not wholly effective. The hon. Member (Mr. Field) spoke of the cordon which existed about twenty-nine years ago, but a great many restrictions have been found necessary within the period of twenty-nine years. I was in Ireland twenty-nine years ago, and I recollect discussing with some friends of mine the possibility of a herd of cattle which were being shipped to England being affected with foot-and-mouth disease. But we stopped that kind of thing to a large extent, though we are not quite satisfied that the regulations in Ireland are yet entirely effective. I use this argument to show why public opinion in this country has supported the President of the English Board of Agriculture, upon 368 the whole, in the regulations he has made, and we give him our thanks for having made those regulations.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
The right hon. Gentleman has thrown doubts on the administration of the law in Ireland, and on the effect of the regulations which have been made. I do think, if he does that, he should give us specific cases in which those regulations have failed.
§ Mr. MUNRO-FERGUSON
I am expressing the opinion which is held here, but I am not in a position to give specific instances.
§ Mr. MUNRO-FERGUSON
I do think it ought to be said, and I will state why it ought to be said. I was referring to the public feeling in this country—to the impression in this country—which has led us to give united support to the action of the President of the English Board. I have already admitted that I think the regulations are much better than they were, and I daresay some of the regulations made by the English Board in regard to cattle disease are not all they should have been, but the reason why they received undivided support is that we in this country have not yet confidence that the regulations of the Irish Board are sufficiently effective. That I gave as the reason why the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture has been supported. I am not quite sure whether twelve hours' detention is really required or not; I cannot give an opinion on that. Personally, I should always welcome anything in the nature of an Advisory Committee as being a practical measure which helps the parties concerned to come to a conclusion. I do not see why it should not be applied to this case with the same effect as in others; but I am certain that on this side of the Channel agricultural opinion on the whole will support the action of the English Board in the circumstances in which they have been placed by this unhappy outbreak of disease in Ireland. I sincerely hope that we have heard the last of that outbreak, and that restrictions will soon become unnecessary, but it is impossible to assume that strict regulations are not required to deal with this disease. The value of stock breeders' property has now become enormous, and therefore there is increasing necessity for these regulations to 369 Protect the breeding herds. In regard to protection against disease, I am not at all sure that the experience we have had in my part of the country recently, since the law of vaccination has fallen into disuse, has been altogether a happy one; but certainly with regard to these regulations, and in view of the enormous increase of the store cattle trade, this country cannot run any risks.
§ Mr. SANDYS
I am bound to say, after following this Debate, that I find myself much more in accord with the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken than with the speeches of the hon. Member for Derry and the hon. Member for Dublin which preceded. Unionists and Nationalist Members from Ireland are seldom of one mind, but. when they do agree their unanimity is really remarkable. The course the Debate has so far taken this afternoon appears to me rather a striking example of what will happen under the Home Rule Constitution, when Irish Members, irrespective of their political views in Ireland, will combine here in order to embarrass the British Government. Speaking as a representative of an agricultural constituency, I am bound to say, from conversations which I have had in my Constituency, that all agriculturists whom I have met recognise the fact that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture has been face to face with an exceedingly difficult position from which he has emerged with considerable credit to himself and with satisfaction to the agricultural community throughout the country. He was face to face very early in his career in his particular department, of which naturally he had no previous experience in dealing with these matters, with a very serious crisis, in fact, one of the greatest difficulties which British agriculture has had to meet for many years past, and his difficulties were by no means diminished in view of the fact that there were so many conflicting interests in connection with this great industry.
The cattle industry between Great Britain and Ireland is, of course, of enormous extent. I think it has been stated that the annual value is from fourteen million to eighteen million pounds a year. In connection with this outbreak, it was not merely the breeders in Ireland, and the feeders in England who were immediately concerned, but also we had to consider the export trade of high quality cattle from this 370 country to foreign countries, which is of very great importance indeed, not merely from the point of view of the breeder in this country, but also from the point of view of the consumer of meat in this country, because the high quality stock sent out to our Colonies and foreign countries comes back here eventually in the shape of meat for the British consumer. Consequently the right hon. Gentleman had all these interests to consider. He was in an extremely difficult position owing to the conflicting views which were naturally held. Yet I am bound to say that all the opinions I have heard, from people who are entitled to speak, are to the effect that on the whole, he did hold the balance extremely well between the conflicting interests, and it is a subject of satisfaction to all the agriculturists of the country that the British Islands are now freer from this disease, think he said, than any country in the world. I find myself very much in agreement with the observations which the right hon. Gentleman opposite made with reference to the Irish Department. The impression has certainly been conveyed to the average English agriculturist and rightly or wrongly, he certainly holds the view at the present time that the Irish inspection and Irish inspectors in these cases have not been so vigilant as we were entitled to demand they should be. The impression has certainly been conveyed to the English agriculturist that if proper vigilance had been observed the outbreak would not have assumed the alarming proportions which it did. I believe it is the fact that there were no less than seventeen outbreaks of this disease in the one village of Swords. I believe it is equally the fact that the outbreaks which occurred in this country and which were ultimately traced to their source and origin, were, as a mattter of fact, officially notified before there was any official notification of the original outbreak in Swords. I believe that notification was delayed until ten days after the outbreak had taken place. All those unsatisfactory events, I am bound to say, aroused the element of suspicion in the minds of British agriculturists, and that element of suspicion seems to be found in even higher quarters, because Lord Lucas, in a speech the other day, said:—They had learned lessons from this outbreak and they would never go quite back to the same position as before, and when England and Ireland had a clean bill of health, though they wanted to do nothing to impede the important industry of sending store and fat cattle from Ireland into Great Britain, they had learned that the industry must be most carefully watched and regulated.371 I think those are the views of the average English agriculturist at the present time, and that he is not altogether satisfied that proper vigilance has been observed in Ireland, and consequently he still looks with some suspicion, and I think well grounded suspicion, on the position of affairs. What are the safeguards which the right hon. Gentleman now proposes? They are embodied, as I understand, in the Order of the 28th January, which I think is the last Order of the many which have been issued in connection with this outbreak. Under the terms of that Order the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries provide that there shall be detention of twelve hours at the port of landing after the landing of the last animal of the cargo. I have talked over this matter with several who are well qualified to speak on subjects of this kind. I think they are really anxious to know what is the meaning of this twelve hours' detention and what is the object of it. The period of incubation of the disease, as is very well known, extends over a period of several days. I think the average is between two and five days, and in some cases it has been known to extend to ten clays. There is some doubt in the minds of those who understand these matters as to what the object of the twelve hours' detention actually is. I think they would be glad of some explanation from the right hon. Gentleman as to what it is intended to effect.
I come to another matter which has also aroused very great interest amongst agriculturists in this country, and that is the further Order issued from the Board of Agriculture withdrawing the existing prohibition against the landing in Great Britain of hay or straw brought from I Ireland. I think a number of people are somewhat anxious with regard to this new Order. They contend, and I think, there is some amount of force in the contention, that it is extremely dangerous when the last outbreak notified in Ireland was on the 7th of November. They think that in view of the short time that has elapsed since that outbreak it is undesirable that hay and straw should now be freely imported from Ireland into this country. So far as hay is concerned the general opinion is that it does not matter so much with regard to old hay but they think there is a distinct danger that the hay of 1912 is likely to be infected. After all, this outbreak originally occurred, I think about the hay-making season, and it is quite pos- 372 sible where hay-making was taking place that infected cattle might actually have been in the very next field to where the hay was being made. I cannot help thinking that there is very grave danger in view or the fact that infection can be carried in all sorts of ways from one farm to another. The right hon. Gentleman has said that birds, rabbits and hares carry the infection. Under those circumstances, is it not very likely with regard to this hay and straw, and particularly the hay, and does it not seem highly probable that we are running a very considerable risk by allowing it to come in without any restriction from Ireland in view of the recent outbreak?
So far as straw is concerned, I think it is generally admitted that the infection remains in straw for a very long time indeed. I recall a speech made by the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture for Ireland, in the course of a debate which took place some time during October, in which he gave us an account of a very interesting case of an outbreak of disease which had occurred amongst sonic pigs owned by an old lady who lived at the Curragh. I think he said he had personally investigated the case, or, at any rate, had gone carefully into the details, and that it was a serious outbreak, and that the inspectors of the Department were sent immediately in order to investigate the case, and to try and trace the source of infection. They found, according to the right hon. Gentleman's inspector, that the old woman who owned those pigs had some trade with the officers' mess at the Curragh, and that some cases of French wine had been received there, and that this wine was enclosed in straw for protection during transit. I am giving a summary of what the right hon. Gentleman said. He told us that this straw had been given by the mess servants to this old lady, and that she had used it for her pigs. That was the result of the investigation which the inspectors made. They directly traced the source of the disease to that straw, which had been originally used for packing this French wine. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he went a little further into his investigation, and whether he traced the history of these wine cases, and ascertained how much time had actually elapsed from the time the straw was in the farmyard of the French farmer to the time it was unpacked and the straw came into the possession—
§ Mr. SANDYS
It must have come from a farm originally. My point is that it would be interesting to find out what period had elapsed between the time the old lady gave the straw to the pigs and the time when it was originally used for packing. I maintain it is highly probable that a very considerable period elapsed. It was probably originally used for packing in some provincial town of France, and then remained in a wine merchant's in Paris, and then in a wine merchant's in England, and, finally, found its way into the officers' mess at the Curragh, and was then used by this old lady for her pigs, and was the cause of the disease. Under those circumstances, showing how highly infectious straw is, how can the right hon. Gentleman propose, only a few months, or practically a few weeks after there has been a serious outbreak in Ireland, to allow what will most probably be infected straw to come over from Ireland? I certainly hope that the right hon. Gentleman will afford us some explanation of the reason for the Order as to the twelve hours' detention, which appears to be ineffective, and only likely to hamper the trade without being any real protection whatever, and I trust that he will also give us some explanation as to the reasons which have induced him to withdraw the restrictions upon hay and straw altogether.
§ Mr. FARRELL
I must confess to having listened with a good deal of impatience to the speech made by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Munro-Ferguson) and the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. Sandys), which I think is one which reveals a good deal of the bias of the hon. Gentleman towards Ireland generally. During the course of the Home Rule Debates we heard the hon. Gentleman; he retired pretty early from the fray, but he did speak on some occasions from those benches and we could then see from the hon. Gentleman's tone that he was certainly not very friendly to Ireland in the matter of Home Rule, and I am afraid he is allowing his bias in that direction to outrun his discretion in this Debate. In the course of his remarks he made an 374 attack on the Department of Agriculture in Ireland and said that he attaches no credit to the word of the Irish Minister in this House.
§ Mr. FARRELL
Practically that is what it comes to, in my opinion at all events, and I am as well entitled to my opinion as any other gentleman in this House. The hon. Gentleman gave no credit to the statement of the Minister for Agriculture in this House, and does not believe in the restrictions of the Department in Ireland. I must say, from my point of view, in making that statement the hon. Gentleman betrays a lamentable ignorance of the conditions under which the Department enforce their regulations in Ireland. Our complaint is that the Department was entirely too strict and too severe, and that in fact its operations exceeded justification in connection with this outbreak. Does the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken of the right hon. Gentleman opposite know that we have a very large police force in Ireland of 14,000 men, who are stationed at almost every cross-road, and the moment the Department makes its Order for any one district that moment this whole huge police force becomes practically a veterinary department. They start examining every district to find cattle walking along the public road and they bring the people to Petty Sessions Court for the most trivial offences against Orders of the Department. This year, in my own Constituency, when the outbreak occurred in Mullingar, which is twenty miles from the borders of my Constituency, they extended the Order by some sort of squaring-the-compass arrangement into two electoral divisions in the constituency of North Longford, and people who are practically outside, either as the crow flies or as the map lays it down, the fifteen-mile radius were time and again brought to the Petty Sessions Court for driving cattle along the public road, and were severely fined for so doing. In England there can be no such effective supervision as that. Therefore, the attacks upon the Department and its restrictions are, to my mind, most unfair and show an utter ignorance of the true facts of the situation. I would not have spoken of that matter if we had had any sympathetic references, particularly from the last speaker, to the difficulties with which the Department has to contend, and with 375 which the people have to contend in consequence of the regulations of the Department. The last speaker seems to think that Ireland is unworthy of any consideration at all, the main and staple industry should be destroyed by the regulations first of the British Department and then of her own Department, that the Irish people are to receive no sympathy whatever when they make their case in this House, but that, on the contrary, Unionist and Nationalist Members are to be openly accused of conspiring together to rob John Bull once more. That is an absurd and unjust method of dealing with the question.
I am not here to take the part of the graziers who are mainly hit, at present at all events, by these regulations. I have no sympathy whatsoever with the grazing system in Ireland. But that system was the direct result of legislation passed by this House. The legislation which gave England free corn destroyed our corn trade in Ireland. Before the famine Ireland was a great exporter of corn to this country. The county of Meath was one huge cornfield, the produce of which found its way into British markets. You destroyed that trade by the abolition of the Corn Laws, and Irish farmers were forced to fall back on another trade. It was the same with our linen and woollen industries. They were destroyed by your laws, and the people, in order to live, had to fall back on something else. They have fallen back on this cattle trade, which is now the staple trade of the country. It is the principal export trade to England, and to destroy it by any series of regulations is to inflict upon a large class of innocent people a very great hardship indeed. I am concerned with the case of the poor man, and not with the case of the grazier at all, although the grazier is suffering a great deal in this connection. The poor man provide the grazier with his working materials. He raises the stock, the calves and the stores; he feeds thorn up to a certain point, and then passes them on to the big grazing ranches. My Constituency happens to be one of those districts. It is essentially a cattle rearing district of that kind. You cannot destroy the grazing trade without directly affecting the poor man, the cattle-raiser, and it is from that point of view I wish to speak.
I regret the attitude of the President of the Board of Agriculture in this country. As my hon. Friend (Mr. Field), said, if 376 resolutions and speeches would effect a change in his mind upon the matter, he has had enough of them. He has received five or six deputations. I would refer the right hon. Member for the Leith Burghs (Mr. Munro-Ferguson) to the deputation of Scottish crofters to the Prime Minister, when a much more sympathetic attitude was taken towards our difficulties than has been taken by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. Notwithstanding the fact, that, in my opinion, it has never been clearly established that this was foot-and-mouth disease at all, the President of the Board of Agriculture has throughout held to his regulations. He has, of course, the power to shut the British ports. The result has been a total dislocation of the cattle trade on this side, and much more serious effects so far as the poor men are concerned in Ireland. Your regulations here, founded on insufficient evidence, have meant a loss of £5,000,000 to Irish farmers. I do not know what it has been on this side, but it has certainly helped to dislocate the cattle trade in this country. Even yet the right hon. Gentleman does not seem to be convinced that this is not a case for the exercise of his plenary coercive powers. In reference to the twelve hours' detention, I entirely agree with my hon. Friends that it is not twelve, but, twenty-four, thirty-six, or forty-eight hours' detention, and the loss inflicted on the trade is very great indeed. The cattle exporter suffers directly in the first instance, but it is not he who suffers in the last resort; it is the poor man. These regulations stop our local fairs. The fairs at Longford on the last three occasions were practically absolute failures. Most of the fine cattle went unsold, and the loss to the poor men was very great. This is bound to continue as long the right hon. Gentleman adheres to the twelve hours' detention. It has been pointed out that twelve hours is really useless for the practical purpose of detecting disease. If a beast has the disease, or the disease is in course of incubation, it would scarcely develop sufficiently in twelve hours to be identified. In any case when kept for twenty-four or even for twelve hours under the conditions which obtain at the ports of landing, beasts must deteriorate, and the seller is bound to suffer in the long run in the matter of price.
I know that the right hon. Gentleman has difficulties to face. He has the great county councils of England attacking him, and I suppose he will also be attacked by 377 gentlemen like the last speaker if he seems to give way or does not act up to the part of the stein dictator of our destinies in this matter. But there are also rights and privileges attaching to the right hon. Gentleman's office. Most of the provisions which are enforced by county council orders can be rescinded by the right hon. Gentleman if he so desires. My first proposition is that it has never been clearly established in any single case that this was a true outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. It may have been an outbreak of mouth disease—what is called "dirty mouth"—but if you take the Waterford head case, the Glasgow case, or any of the cases in which there was a complete examination, there is no report on record of which I have heard establishing that this was true foot-and-mouth disease at all. My second point is that if the disease was in our country, it was introduced from England, and was not indigenous to Ireland. We have had twenty-nine years of immunity from disease of this kind, and it, is monstrous to suggest that after that long period of immunity it was we who exported the disease to England, and not England who exported the disease to us. I say it is very probable that in the importation of hay and straw into Ireland you may have sent the disease to us. You had far more cases of foot-and-mouth disease in this country, and far more clearly established cases, before we had any outbreak than you have ever been able to trace in connection with the outbreak in our country.
With these two points in view, I put it that the time has come for the right hon. Gentleman to take his courage in both hands, and to face this matter as one that requires in the interests of Ireland more kindly treatment than we have had hitherto. I say advisedly more kindly treatment, because there is no doubt that the destinies of the Irish cattle trade lie more in the hands of the English Department than in those of the Irish Department. The right hon. Gentleman can close all the ports and shut down our trade altogether. There is no justification for that, and if there ever was any, the steps taken by the Irish Department, so far as we know them, have completely removed the smallest scintilla of justification for the course to be any longer continued. The Vice-President of the Irish Department has, in my opinion, been far too active so far as enforcing the powers of the law against Irish farmers is concerned. He 378 has issued Orders enclosing whole counties, and bringing trade to a standstill, without sufficient justification. That, I think, should be taken into account by English Members when speaking on this question. Had English farmers no interest in cutting down the Irish cattle trade? I say that the enhanced prices which they have obtained for their stock at the fairs and markets in England might be treated as a justification for some of the attacks that were made on the cattle trade of Ireland and are now made on the Vice-President of the Department for not carrying out the law. We feel that in this matter Ireland has a distinct grievance. Whilst that grievance to a very large extent inflicts a great hardship on the farmer at home, it is here that the pressure was applied, and it is through the English Department that we have suffered the greatest injury. Seeing that we have now had for nearly four months an absolutely clean bill of health, when we have had from time to time some of the best authorities even on British agriculture declaring that the further exclusion of Irish cattle from English markets was a hardship, grievance, and injustice, both to the English feeder and to the Irish farmer, I think it is time for the right hon. Gentleman to take his courage in both hands, and to relieve from all further restrictions the cattle trade between Ireland and England.
§ Sir COURTENAY WARNER
I think the point of view of the English agriculturist ought to be put from this side of the House. We are very sorry for Ireland. The English agriculturist does not gain by the exclusion of Irish cattle; he loses. There is no question about that. We are sufferers to some extent, but to nothing like the same extent as the Irish farmers. It has been said that we do not trust Ireland to keep down this disease, and that we do not trust the Irish Department of Agriculture to make sufficient regulations. It is not that we do not trust the Department of Agriculture or anything of that kind. But we get from Ireland such speeches as that just delivered by the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Farrell) expressing the view that foot-and-mouth disease did not exist at all in Ireland, that the restrictions were too strict, that there were thousands of police wandering about doing nothing else but enforcing those restrictions. When we know that the restrictions that are made are objected to and that the Irish people feel that they are too strict, Englishmen feel sure that 379 the people who object so strongly to the restrictions will do their best to evade them, that is the natural feeling of English agriculturists. It is not that we have any doubt about the efforts of the Irish Department or of keen Irish agriculturists to put down the disease; but there is a general feeling on the part of many Irish people, like the hon. Member for Longford, that nothing ought to be done and that it is a pity anything has been done.
§ Mr. FARRELL
I never said anything of the kind. I said we had a police force which was constituted a veterinary force to deal with this matter, and that, if anything, they were doing too much.
§ Sir COURTENAY WARNER
I withdraw then that "nothing had been done," and substitute that "too much had been done, and that the regulations were too strict." That sort of statement gives the feeling to this country that the regulations are likely to be evaded. [AN HON. MEMBER: "They cannot be."] It is a very sore point. I do not think the Irish people are evading the regulations, but at the same time a certain feeling is created against English agriculturists—and we cannot get rid of it—by such statements. There is, I feel, a certain danger if restrictions are looked upon in that light that there will be some evasion. In consequence English agriculturists do not feel quite comfortable about the importation of Irish cattle. We are quite in sympathy with the difficulties of Ireland, but we want all the protection that is necessary to prevent disease coming to this country. I know that Scottish Members like my hon. Friend, who sits behind me, are anxious to have store cattle at any price, and do not care whether or not disease comes in. They do not mind running any risk rather than stop these stores coming in. There are representatives from Ireland who have that view too. We in England have a strong view—
Can the hon. Gentleman give any instance where any Scottish Member or Irish Member in any way suggested that cattle are to come to this country which have disease: can he give a single instance?
§ Sir COURTENAY WARNER
What I did say was that they were willing to run any risk rather than not get the stores. We are not willing to run those risks. [An HON. MEMBER: "Who said it?"] I have been asked who said it? I was answering an interruption of an hon. Member who said I suggested protection. My point was that he is ready to run a very much greater risk—practically what I call "any risk"—rather than exclude the stores. That is a view that we as English agriculturists are opposed to. We want protection against disease. We want nothing else. We do not go as far as the hon. Member for the Wells Division of Somerset. I think he goes too far. He suggested, for instance, that hay and straw being allowed in was a danger. Of course, if Irish hay and straw is a danger, then hay and straw from those parts of England, where we have had a little foot-and-mouth disease, would also be a danger. But we would also have to stop all hay and straw, and that is carrying things too far. The hon. Gentleman objected to the twelve hours, and wanted to know why it had been fixed at that. I remember a debate in this House when the President of the Board of Agriculture explained what was meant by the twelve hours. It meant there should be ample time for inspection after the cattle had landed; that the inspection should not be done in a hurry, but have ample time allowed for it, so that there could be no question of the cattle not having been properly inspected after landing. It is necessary, I think, that we should support the President of the Board of Agriculture in the action he has taken, and in urging in every way his prohibition of anything that might bring in disease. We do not want to run any risks.
We have the greatest admiration for the way he has managed this most difficult subject. He has done exactly what he ought to have done. I do not think anybody can say that he has not been in sympathy with the Irish producer, or that he has not done everything he could all through to meet the difficulties of the case. I am quite sure that there is no man in this House who has greater sympathy with Irish agriculturists than the President of the English Board of Agriculture. At the same time we feel that as English agriculturists we must support him. One word about the Advisory Committee. These measures are a sort of thing that have to 381 be attended to promptly. They must be done by one man, and the more people you have meddling the more difficulties you create. I do not think that the Advisory Committees arc much good. They generally hinder action. They hinder the removal of restrictions precisely as much as they hinder the imposition of restrictions. You will gain nothing by having Advisory Committees. I am quite sure that the Boards of Agriculture of England and Ireland will co-operate, and do everything they can to remove these difficulties at the first possible day. But as an English agriculturist I protest against Departments being hurried and urged to do things that may help towards the importation of disease.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
The Irish Department of Agriculture has been blamed from both sides of the Gangway by my hon. Friend for St. Patrick's Division, Dublin (Mr. Field), who complained about the severity of the Department's treatment of this disease, while on the other hand we are charged from above the Gangway opposite with negligence. Both charges cannot be right. The Department have acted with severity, I admit. If we had not acted with severity the disease might have spread throughout the length and breadth of Ireland. By taking prompt and severe measures at the beginning I hold that we saved the country from a great and serious outbreak. That is my defence to the charge of severity. It is worthy of note that whilst the outbreak in 1884 spread throughout the whole of Ireland and involved 114,000 head of cattle, the present outbreak has been confined to specified portions of seven countries which have been "held up," and in those districts only 380 animals all told have been affected with the disease. Severity, if you like! But it is a severity that has saved the outbreaks spreading all over the country.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
The hon. Member for St. Patrick's also desires an Advisory Committee to aid the Department in Ireland in their work in connection with this disease. He has to-day extended that suggestion to the English Department. I have told the hon. Member over and over again that I think that that is a piece of advice which the Department would not accept. If there is one thing more than another necessary in dealing with disease it is promptitude. After an outbreak has 382 been discovered; an hour in the treatment may make all the difference in holding up the disease, or allowing it to spread throughout the country. The suggestion that the Department of Agriculture should wait for the summoning of an Advisory Committee to be advised what to do in the case of an outbreak is, I think, one of the most dangerous propositions ever made. It is one that the heads of the Department could not accept—that they have not the slightest chance of accepting—and I feel astonished—I have, I say, often been surprised—that an hon. Member, so competent as the hon. Member for St. Patrick's is in these matters, should press the suggestion with such persistence. The rapidity with which this disease has been dealt with is due to the fact that we were not hampered and trammelled by outside advice—although in all conscience we have got enough. Talk about Advisory Committees! Why all our offices were crowded from morning to night with people giving all sorts of advice. Four months included the whole thing in Ireland; there were 380 cases. The hon. and learned Member for North East Cork (Mr. T. M. Healy) asked about the number of cattle slaughtered. I had better give the figures. In Dublin we had seventeen outbreaks. I think some difficulty arises with the word "outbreaks"—we had seventeen cases. In Meath we had three, in Louth one, in Kildare three, in Fermanagh five, in Wicklow two and in West Meath thirty-six; that is in all sixty-seven outbreaks. The disease attacked 364 head of cattle, one sheep, fifteen swine—380 in all. The number of animals slaughtered as diseased or having been exposed to infection were: cattle 1875, sheep 1524, swine 103, goats thirty—a total of 3,532. It is important to remember that when we slaughtered an animal we paid full compensation.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
We paid the value of the animal at the time it was attacked, and we were assisted in the valuation by one of the most competent valuers in Ireland, Mr. Gavin Low. There was another point I should refer to, one made by the hon. Member for North Derry (Mr. Barrie). It is a point which has taken a certain hold in Ireland. The hon. Member pleaded for help in the inspection in Ireland, and gave as his reason that it would be the means of restoring confidence in England. I am not so sure about that. 383 The hon. Member says: "Let us have half a dozen English inspectors to aid the Irish inspectors." Most people have no idea of the number of head of cattle, sheep, and pigs shipped from Ireland to England in the course of a year. They number 1,500,000, and that is the number that has to be inspected. Half a dozen English inspectors sent over to give confidence to the English people! The Irish protection has been most effective up to the present. Just let us see how the inspection works out. You have got ten or twelve ships leaving Dublin at night. You have got your Irish inspectors there, and let the House recollect it is not the old method of inspection, merely looking at the cattle to see that they are seemingly all right. Every animal now is "mouthed."
§ Mr. RUSSELL
Will the hon. and learned Gentleman allow me to proceed? The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture will deal with the twelve hours question. I have asked how long that operation of inspection takes. In cattle it takes from one and a half to two minutes, in sheep less; in pigs it is an extremely difficult operation, and there is not a veterinary surgeon in Ireland who would put a limit on the time necessary to mouth a pig. Take 5,000 cattle leaving Dublin in a week, and that is only one port. If you had got your English inspectors there, are they to stand by and watch the Irish inspectors doing the work, or are they to do some of the work and leave the Irish inspectors to do the rest? If you divide the work, cattle might pass the Irish inspectors and the English inspectors might never see them. The thing is impossible in actual practice. I asked my professional advisers could it be done, and they laughed at it. But I object on different grounds. We have no right to throw over our Irish inspectors. Let the House remember what happened. Five animals arrived at Birkenhead were accused of foot-and-mouth disease. The heads were sent to London; they were examined by the veterinary authorities there, and the Birkenhead inspector was confirmed. It was the same with three heads from Derry. They were pronounced to be foot-and-mouth disease at Glasgow and at London, and when the heads were returned to Dublin the whole thing was traced, and experiments were carried out 384 with the living animals to test this thing, and it turned out that the English inspectors were wrong. That is a curious way to restore confidence.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I have given the House of Commons the substance at all events of the Report. I contend that this theory about English inspectors for Ireland, in the first place, is not practical, and in the second place it would be a censure and would be taken as such by the Irish profession which they have not earned. I now come to the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Leith Burghs (Mr. Munro-Ferguson) as well as the statement of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wells, Somerset (Mr. Sandys).
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Will the right hon. Gentleman say that so far as his Department was concerned he will consent to its publication?
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I would rather the hon. and learned Gentleman did not press me. I have given the facts. I have summarised them because some Members from Ireland asked for this extraordinary thing of sending over English inspectors here. The hon. Gentleman knows very well that there is machinery for getting these papers if he so desires.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I am not prepared to give any answer as to the publication of these Reports as to the present time.
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
Would these Reports have been suppressed if it was the Irish Officer who had been wrong?
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I am not prepared to give an opinion like that. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Agriculture will speak later and I do not know whether he will object to the publication.
§ Mr. LARDNER
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman will he tell us something which is within the knowledge of the Irish Department: What were the actual experiments made in Armagh and what was the result?
§ Mr. RUSSELL
The Irish Department challenged the verdict of the Scottish veterinary officers from Glasgow and also of the veterinary officers in London. We desired that these heads, which had been impeached, should be sent to Dublin. They were sent back, and they were examined in the laboratory in Dublin by competent veterinary officers. I received a report from my officers which stated that they could not understand how the animals were ever decided to have foot-and-mouth disease, and they declined to agree that these were cases of foot-and-mouth disease in any shape whatever. What the Department did in that case was this: Bear in mind that five or six Ulster counties were closed upon the report of these cases. I did my best to free them as soon as possible afterwards, and Members from Ulster must know that. I do not ask them to admit anything, but they must know that the Department did everything to have the Ulster counties opened as soon as possible. Now what we did was this: We traced the animals that went to Birkenhead back to the farms from which they came in Ireland, and we found that the real centre of the mischief whatever it was, was in the county of Armagh. We discovered there two farms with disease and disease in the head of the animals. Three inspectors went down to Mr. Baxter's farm, and two, I think, to a farm in the neighbourhood, not far from the City of Armagh. One of these inspectors hesitated—I want to do justice to the English and the Scottish officers—he hesitated, but they declared it was not foot-and-mouth disease the animals were suffering from. Faced with this difference, I recommended that Professor Mettam, than whom I suppose there is no greater authority in the United Kingdom, should examine the animals.
Professor Mettam is not only a member of the Veterinary College, Dublin, but he is President of the Royal Veterinary Society, and he is one of the gentlemen selected by the Government to proceed to India to investigate this very question. In sending down Professor Mettam I was 386 sending a man upon whom the Department could absolutely rely. Professor Mettam went to Armagh, and Professor Mettam hesitated. I think it only fair and just to say to the English officers that Professor Mettam hesitated. As he said himself, he is not a surgeon but an authority. He went down three times to see these animals, and finally it was resolved to inoculate a healthy animal with the disease from these infected animals. That disease has this peculiarity. On the tongue there was a thick, yellowish brown substance, not like the ordinary lesion in foot-and-mouth disease, which can be peeled off with the finger nail. He advised inoculation. An emulsion was made from the substance on the tongue and gums of the infected animals and was injected into the blood of four healthy animals and within forty-eight hours all the four responded, but what was the result? The animals took the disease, but there was no symptom of foot-and-mouth disease in it. There was no constitutional disturbance; the temperature never erred; there was no vesicles. Everything pointed to another disease altogether, and Professor Mettam said at once, after this experiment was tried in his presence, it is not foot-and-mouth disease the animals are suffering from at all. He then returned to Dublin and inspected for the first time the heads of the five animals that arrived at Birkenhead and the three animals that came from Derry. He decided without hesitation that the eight heads belonged to animals that had suffered from exactly the same disease that the animals suffered from in Armagh, and that they had not suffered from foot-and-mouth disease.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I do not know; but let me say this: Professor Mettam declared that these were not foot-and-mouth disease cases at all. The Department and my right hon. Friend will corroborate me in this. When they resolved to undertake these experiments they recognised that the matter was as of much importance to England as to Ireland. We requested the attendance of an officer from the English Department to sec these experiments on the living animals. By some mistake we got a reply that if we discovered the-foot-and-mouth lesion the English Department would be glad to send over an 387 officer, and after the experiments were over an officer came. The English officer arrived and I have not seen his report; but my right hon. Friend was good enough to communicate with me on the very night he received the telegram that this English officer saw nothing in the decision and report of the Irish Department with which he was not prepared to agree. I do not know whether the hon. Member for North Londonderry thinks that this will give confidence to the English people. I do not know that the Irish Department could have done more. It was a matter at all events which the Irish people had made a strong note of, and I at once opened the whole of the Irish counties which had been affected. The hon. Member for Wells (Mr. Sandys) said he thought the Irish Department had been guilty of negligence in this matter, or at any rate the English people belived they had. I am not accountable for what the English people believe, but I am accountable for the Irish Department. Since the Swords outbreak, and this is a very remarkable fact, nearly one million head of animals have crossed over to England since that day from Ireland and not a single case of foot-and-mouth disease has been detected at a British port. When you talk about English inspectors being sent to Ireland I think one fact like that goes a long way to answer all these suspicions. I challenge my right hon. Friend, the Member for the Leith Burghs (Mr. Munro-Ferguson), to give us one instance of negligence to justify the insinuations he has made. In regard to this charge I plead not guilty on behalf of the Irish Board. I say that our arrangements and our organisation is complete and that we have the services of the police force in a way which neither England nor Scotland can boast of. Ireland is a country which for thirty years has been immune from foot-and-mouth disease. In face of that fact does anybody think that we were standing on guard watching for this disease? Of course we had our own officers examining the cattle, but, nevertheless, this sudden outbreak took place. Is the hon. Member opposite aware that in 1911 there were nineteen outbreaks of this disease in England? Did that give entire confidence to the English people? You had also one or two outbreaks in 1912. I agree that cattle had left the port of Dublin suffering from this disease; that they left Ireland and came to England and spread the disease in the North of England. 388 I have never sought to minimise that fact, and I have declared over and over again before the Council of Agriculture that they had no right to ignore that fact. We have no right to seek to escape that responsibility, and it justifies much of the severity that the English Board of Agriculture has had to adopt.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
There were no English inspectors dealing with these cattle at that time, but at any rate they passed the market inspectors. Let us, however, be fair and do not let us seek to lay the blame on the English inspectors or anybody else. These cattle came from a diseased area, and we must take the responsibility for that, but I plead in defence that a country which has been thirty years clear of this disease might very well be taken by surprise, and a single outbreak might occur without the Department in Ireland being cognisant of it. After we discovered the outbreak we took very good care that it was not allowed to spread to any extent. I hope the hon. Gentleman opposite who made a complaint on this point will call the attention of his agricultural friends to the fact that nearly 1,000,000 animals have crossed from Ireland to this country and not a single case of foot-and-mouth disease has been discovered amongst them.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
The President of the Board of Agriculture is present and he will no doubt answer for Lord Lucas. The speech made by Lord Lucas was not made in Ireland, and it will be for my right hon. Friend to explain what it means or whether it was accurately reported. The hon. Gentleman opposite referred to the danger of infection from imported hay and straw. There was an outbreak of disease amongst pigs at a place in Kildare, and that is the only place where pigs have been affected. Naturally we looked into the whole matter, and although we have not published any report the House must not suppose that we have not endeavoured to trace the origin of all these outbreaks, and we hope some day to be able to make a report upon them. I told the House then that one of our chief inspectors who had charge of the Kildare outbreak reported that the woman who owned those pigs had received a quantity of loose packing 389 material used for packing wine bottles which came from France and he was of opinion that in all probability the outbreak there was due to this imported loose pasking material. I have no power to deal with this material, but I ant sending a case to the Law Officers of the Crown, which has already been prepared, to ask whether I can deal with this matter by an Order, because I agree that primâ facie there is a good deal to be said for the theory that this stuff may be responsible for some of these outbreaks. If I find I have power to compel all this packing material to be burned instead of being sent to Ireland such an Order will be issued, but I must await the decision of the Law Officers on this point.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I do not know, but at any rate a point will be gained if we can compel its destruction, and I am afraid that is all we can do. I have no desire to defend the Irish Department where it cannot be defended. You may say that we deserve censure because a case of infection broke out without us knowing of it, but there have been a great many similar cases in England and yet you have never thought of censuring the English Board of Agriculture. I plead guilty to nothing save this, that this disease appeared at Swords, and where it came from nobody knows. It did not come out of the Atlantic.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
My belief is that it came just in the same way as any other instances of the disease. There is an intimate connection between English cattle dealers and those who come from abroad, and they come to the Dublin Market. They come over to the farmers and buy cattle on the farms, and the prevailing opinion in Ireland, and the opinion of our own Department, is that at some of these cattle sales where the cattle drovers attend from other countries, these men must have brought the disease from some country where it was prevalent, because it is prevalent all over Europe. That is the opinion in Ireland as to how this disease was brought into Swords. It could not come out of the sea and I do not believe in the theory of spontaneous generation. Something brought it. At any rate it came to Swords, and if you like to blame the Irish Department because we 390 did not know of it, at any rate you cannot charge us with negligence or incompetence or unwillingness after we discovered it. Leaving myself out entirely, I have no hesitation in saying that there never was a country better or more faithfully served than Ireland was during that outbreak by her professional men. I regret that the chief of them has paid the penalty of his life, and I think the hon. Member who referred to this matter was quite right when he said that in all probability this gentleman would have been living to-day but for the work he was compelled to undertake in this respect. There never was a country better or more faithfully served, and I hope this House will lend no sanction whatever to any idea of putting English officials over them. We do not undervalue the most cordial cooperation we have received from the English Boards. All along everything that happened in Ireland was known here within half an hour after it had happened, and everything that happened here was known in Dublin. It must be remembered that in these matters the interests of England and Ireland were not always the same. Both the President of the Board of Agriculture and myself have had our troubles, but we have got through them, and I believe we can claim both for England and Ireland that this outbreak has been dealt with in a manner that has saved much, although it has cost a good deal of money.
§ Mr. FRANCIS MEEHAN
As this is a matter of vital importance to both Ireland and England, I do not think we could be engaged in a better task than discussing it and hammering out the President of the English Department, although I must admit he has stood several severe hammerings. If the Irish people had had the doing of it, they would have been inclined to sledge him. It must be quite obvious to any hon. Member who has listened to the discussion, and especially to the very lucid explanation of the Vice-President of the Irish Department, that there must have been a great deal of bungling somewhere. It cannot be denied we have such a thing as panic legislation, and I cannot see why, after this sad experience and after such a serious loss to the country, both the English Department and the Irish Department could not issue as soon as possible a Blue Book giving full information of all their experience which would serve the English and Irish farmers in the future and educate them as to how to prevent a further out- 391 break of the notorious foot-and-mouth disease. With regard to the Vice-President's remarks as to the outbreak at Armagh, I have grave doubts whether there was ever such a thing as foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland. At the outbreak at Swords we have the evidence of what is called the knowledgable man that it was what is known as "timber tongue." We had some experts at Armagh, and there it was called "dirty tongue." It was not until there came an expert from England to decide why it was that the Irish trade was held up. The English cattle dealers fattened on the results of the intervention of the English Department. The poor unfortunate small Irish farmers who had their own stock for sale could not possibly sell them. I hope and trust the English and Irish Departments will put their heads together and issue this Blue Book, which will be of such great service to the farmers both of England and Ireland in the future.
I know one particular case that occurred during the outbreak. A dealing man after the restrictions had been withdrawn thought it a grand opportunity to buy some fat cattle and send them to Glasgow. He bought a hundred head of fat cattle and railed them to Derry. When they arrived at Derry he was notified for the first time they could not proceed any further. A question was asked in this House whether he could not ship them to Glasgow, seeing they had passed the veternary inspector, but he was denied the right, with the result that they were held up for close on three weeks, and eventually he had to slaughter them and was at a loss of some £400. It is not fair to dealing men that they should be taken short in that way. They should at least get due notice of restrictions being continued. Neither is it fair to the small farmer. It has been said by an hon. Member from the benches opposite that the strong speeches made by Irish Members were rather inclined to frighten English farmers. I take just the opposite view, and, as a proof of it, point to the statement of the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Farrell) that we have better facilities in Ireland for stamping out disease than the Agricultural Department have in England. We have the services of an unnecessarily large force in the Royal Irish Constabulary, but on occasions of this sort the value of their services cannot be denied. They have offered their services freely wherever they were required, and the Irish 392 people have been always anxious to assist the authorities in every possible way. They have offered every possible assistance to the Department to stamp out the disease, notwithstanding the fact that trade has been paralysed and that they have sustained such severe losses. The loss has not been confined to the men in the cattle trade or to the small farmers; it has also fallen on the shopkeepers who depend on the proceeds of the farmers. When the farmers could not have the market wherein to realise the value of their stock, they could not possibly meet bills due, and the result was that many small shopkeepers—yes, and large shopkeepers too—were kept out of their accounts for months and months.
I would like to pay a special tribute to the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture in Ireland. Since the first outbreak occurred at Swords he has been a busy man. He has not only been busy in Ireland, but he has also had to stand his hammering in this House, and he did it well. He has worked well in Ireland. We were all inclined to believe he was to blame and that he was responsible for holding up the trade in Ireland, but now we learn he has not got the authority and that he is subject to the ruling of the Department in England. During his term of office in Ireland he has looked after the interests of the people faithfully and well, while at the same time he has carried out his duties fairly and impartially both as regards the English Department and the Irish farmers. It is really noticeable what a wonderful change has been created in Ireland in the last fifteen or twenty years, due to the good work of the Irish Department of Agriculture. Some fifteen or twenty years ago if a farmer dared to improve his premises—in fact, if he ventured to whitewash a cattle-shed—the landlord or bailiff came along and arrived at the conclusion he could afford to pay more rent. I hope we have seen the last of the disease, and I hope the President of the English Department will give way at least to the extent of withdrawing the twelve hours embargo on this side. I fail to see what benefit it can be as regards the time for inspection. If cattle on landing are to be detained twelve hours it means if a boat arrives at twelve or one the cattle cannot leave for twenty-four hours, and in some cases forty-eight hours. Often large consignments of cattle arrive, and there is not sufficient time to examine them in twelve hours. The result is they are sometimes detained for upwards 393 of forty-eight hours. The cattle suffer severely from being hemmed in those pens. Irish heifers, as has been explained by the hon. Member for St. Patrick's (Mr. Field), are rather inclined to hurt one another, and the damage to fat cattle especially is very serious. I hope, therefore, seeing this twelve hours' detention is of such little importance, the President of the English Department will give way and withdraw it, especially as there is no such thing as foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland at the present time.
§ Sir JOHN SPEAR
I desire as a British farmer to say a few words in explanation why I intend to vote against the Amendment now before the House. I would like to endorse the reminder that this is not a purely English or Irish affair, but is a matter that very extensivey affects both countries. It seems to me anything that would permanently interfere or unreasonably interfere with the regular trade transactions between the two countries would be injurious to both. It is a matter for great congratulation that we are so nearly dear from this fell disease. I cannot help expressing my opinion that is largely due to the vigilance and energy of the right hon. Gentleman, the President of the Board of Agriculture. Contrast has been made with what happened thirty years ago. I remember the visitation of foot-and-mouth disease thirty years ago, and it spread all over the country and proved a great disaster. I venture to say that by his immediate action the right hon. Gentleman has prevented a recurrence of that great calamity. My hon. Friend below the Gangway seemed to speak as if the action of the Board of Agriculture was calculated, if not intended, to destroy the Irish cattle trade. I support the Board of Agriculture because I believe their action is calculated to save the Irish cattle trade, for by the energy they have shown in dealing with this matter they have prevented a longer continuance of the great inconvenience to and interference with the cattle trade between the two countries.
English farmers have a right to be protected from the disease, but we all feel that while it is to our interests such should be the case, it is also to the interests of hon. Members below the Gangway. They must remember there is natural ground for the demand of the English farmer that due precautions should be taken. Reference has been made to the great value of pedigree stock to this country. We want to preserve that stock as 394 well as other classes of stock from infection. The dairy industry and the milk supply has enormously developed in this country. It is of first-rate importance that we should be protected from foot-and-mouth disease in order that there should be no interference with this necessary food supply of the people. I submit Englishmen had everything to lose by any carelessness with reference to the possible introduction of the disease, and hon. Members below the Gangway are not justified in thinking our action as British farmers is due to jealousy or a desire to kill the Irish cattle trade. I am personally suffering at the present time from having spent a good deal more money for my stores than would otherwise have been the case, but I do say we have in the first instance to see that every due precaution is taken so that we may permamently get rid of this terrible disease. I believe the right hon. Gentleman has deserved well of agriculturists, because it is due to the promptitude of his action that we are to-day nearly free from this disease. I know it has been an expensive matter, and I know it was a drastic measure, but I believe it has been abundantly justified. It was inconvenient to the farmer who has suffered from this visitation, but I am confident in my own judgment as a practical farmer that unless that drastic action had been taken instead of being free to-day we should have had the disease all over the country. None would have suffered more than my Irish friends if that had been the case. I am sorry they think there has been undue interference with their trade. If vigorous action had not been taken the interference would have been continued to-day in all its vigour. Therefore I say that the action of the Board of Agriculture deserves the support of the Irish Members, and also deserves their gratitude for the promptitude with which the disease has been dealt with, thereby making it possible at the earliest possible moment to remove the restrictions.
I have always been against long speeches, but I think I may claim a few minutes in which to give the House some practical remarks from a farmer. I always supported Major Rasch's Resolution to limit speeches to ten minutes and if it were brought forward again I would second it. I would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to profit, as I am sure he will, by the lessons of this visitation of disease. What are we going to do to find out the origin of the disease and to discover an effective 395 remedy? That is really the point we have to deal with. The right hon. Gentleman has sent a Commission to India. I should be glad if he could tell us whether any results have yet come from that deputation. There is a great deal of mystery about this disease, and no public money could be better spent, in my opinion, than upon scientific research in order to ascertain whether we cannot have a preventive of the disease or the means when an outbreak occurs of effecting a prompt remedy. I would like the right hon. Gentleman to consider the question of the importation of hay and straw. On this subject I think the hon. Member for Wells made a point worthy of consideration, as to whether, seeing that the disease in Ireland was prevalent during the last hay harvest, it is not better for a time to prevent importation of Irish hay. A great deal depends on securing the confidence of the British purchaser.
Figures have been given as to how many cattle are sent over from Ireland, but you want customers. You cannot have customers unless you have confidence. I differ somewhat from the right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken (Mr. T. W. Russell) on that point. He has such confidence in the Irish inspectors and the Irish veterinary surgeons that he cannot tolerate for a moment the idea of a few English veterinary surgeons going to the Irish side to inspect the cattle before they are put on board ship. In my opinion he is unwise in taking up that attitude. Even though it may not be intrinsically desirable it would be a great element in strengthening the confidence of the British buyers, and in doing something to promote the ordinary conditions of trade between the two countries. With reference to the Advisory Committee I am strongly against it, unless there is prompt action in these cases the whole case is lost. I hope the Board of Agriculture will not yield to the suggestion of an Advisory Committee, but will act upon the responsibility that rests upon them as representing agriculture. There is just this point further, with reference to the importation of hay and straw from abroad. Is the right hon. Gentleman, from the result of his investigations, satisfied that the disease does not come into Ireland or this country from foreign hay and straw? There is more mystery about this visitation than there was about the visitation of thirty years ago I remember that 396 visitation very well. I do hope, and I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will do all he can, through the deputation to India and through investigations at home, to try in the first place to prevent this disease to prevent its introduction, and do the best that can be done to cure it when it unfortunately develops in the country. I can only say with reference to the twelve hours' detention on this side, that I am satisfied it would be better to have a few English inspectors on the other side than subject the animals to the loss and inconvenience of being penned up for twelve hours after they come off the ship. Much has been said of the humanitarian point of view. I yield to no man in my support for kindness to animals, but I venture to say it is no kindness to animals that have come across the water that they should be penned up for twelve hours before they are allowed to go on their journey. The sooner these animals get to their destination, and in the fields, the quicker will their comfort be restored. We all feel strongly about this matter. It is not a question of Irishmen or Englishmen. The cattle trade between the two countries is of mutual advantage, and that is why we want it to continue. I am satisfied that the right hon. Gentleman's policy has been not of a kind calculated to injure, much less destroy the Irish cattle trade, but that vigilance he has shown has done much to preserve Irish cattle trade, and to limit the period of inconvenience between the two countries by so vigorously dealing with the disease as to crush it out. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will remember not only the great loss which has been suffered by the Irish farmers, and the English farmers, but by the Commonwealth, because this interruption of communication has had some effect in increasing the price of beef to the consumer. I admit that the enhanced price is largely due to the deficiency of the dry season of 1911, but the necessary interruption of the communication between the two countries has contributed in that direction. From the point of view of the interests of the consumer. and the interests of the British and Irish farmers I hope the right hon. Gentleman will go on his way vigorously as he has hitherto done, taking steps when the disease appears to deal with it, and availing himself of the first opportunity of withdrawing the restrictions which, on this occasion, have done so much towards stamping out the disease.
I think the fact that we have met here on a Saturday to discuss this question shows the intense anxiety and interest with which the matter is looked upon in Ireland. I do not think that a Saturday could have been better spent than in trying, as far as possible in this crisis, to come to some arrangement between the English and Irish Boards of Agriculture in regard to reestablishing on the one hand complete confidence among the farmers in England and at the same time to ease the burden and the cost which must fall upon the small farmers in Ireland if this twelve hours' detention is insisted upon. The Debate has rather wandered into other channels which do not so much concern Irish cattle dealers and breeders so much as the particular point of the twelve hours' detention. The Vice-President made a long speech with which I do not think anybody on either side can find any fault. He did what I always admire in any Minister—he spoke up strongly and pluckily for all those who had been working with and for him. But there was one very singular omission from his speech. He represents the whole of the agricultural interests of Ireland, but instead of helping us, the representatives of the people in Ireland, who are anxious to have this twelve hours' restriction removed, he put that entirely on one side. He dealt entirely with the cases of foot-and-mouth disease, now happily passed and gone, and refused to touch upon the new regulation, an unnecessary and hampering regulation, made by the English Board. He should have acted with us and brought his influence and knowledge to bear in getting it removed, having proved, as he considers, up to the hilt, that his inspectors are far beyond the English inspectors, and that it is quite unnecessary for English inspectors to re-examine cattle to which his officers have already given a clean sheet.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I am sure the hon. and gallant Member does not desire to misrepresent me. I never objected to inspection on each side. What I objected to was the sending across to Ireland of English inspectors to superintend the work of the Irish inspectors. I approved of the double inspection.
Do we understand that the right hon. Gentleman approves of the twelve hours' detention on this side?
I cannot quite make out the right hon. Gentleman's opinion on that point. Supposing, for the sake of argument, there was only one Board of Agriculture for England and Ireland and that if cattle should be certificated as being free from disease in Ireland, immediately they arrived in Cardiff, Glasgow or Liverpool they were made subject to re-examination, would he approve of that?
§ Mr. RUSSELL
Not in the case of all diseases. We are dealing with foot-and-mouth disease. An animal might be shipped during the period of incubation and it might not be possible to detect the disease on embarkation. There have been numerous cases during the last outbreak where an animal examined on one night seemed perfectly healthy, but the next day its mouth was full of the disease.
I understood from the right hon. Gentleman that this short term of detention would not be sufficient to detect that particular disease.
I know it might; but the time at which you might discover the disease might be immediately after the cattle were freed after the second inspection. If the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues say that inside the twelve hours foot-and-mouth disease would be discovered, a great deal of the case that we have to make would break down, but we hold that inside twelve hours you cannot discover whether foot-and-mouth disease exists among the cattle or not, therefore you are putting a very heavy burden upon the cattle trade in Ireland without really ensuring what you desire to ensure on this side. Surely the right hon. Gentleman does not say that Ireland, which for thirty years has been free from the disease, is going to be for another thirty years subject to suspicion about foot-and-mouth disease and to double inspection. That holds out to me rather an alarming picture of the conditions under which the transport of cattle, which is a staple trade between Ireland and England, is to be carried on in the future. I desire to refer to the way in which the right hon. Gentleman took up my hon. Friend who moved the reduction. He does not seem to have appreciated the suggestion thrown out by my hon. Friend and by the hon. Member for the Tavistock Division (Sir J. Spear). When you come to look at it from a reasonable point of view, why should you not ask 399 the English Board to come over and cooperate with your inspectors in Ireland? There is no question of putting English inspectors over your Irish inspectors, nor is there any intention of superseding them; but if they were over there and got to know the conduct of the Department's servants in Ireland, and established confidence with them, there is no doubt that in time this unjust suspicion would speedily break down, and that you would readjust that confidence between England and Ireland which is so necessary. The hon. Member for Leith Burghs (Mr. Munro-Ferguson) and the hon. Member for the Wells Division (Mr. Sandys) seem to think that we in Ireland are trying in some way to do or bluff England. Could anything be more absurd? Who would be the greatest losers? Ireland and the Irish farmers. We are just as anxious for complete and trustworthy inspection and that every animal should be labelled free from disease and in perfect good health as anybody in England. Every class in Ireland, every Orangeman and every Nationalist, holds exactly the same view on that point. Over and over again at public meetings throughout Ireland this question has been put forward, and in every case the expressed wish was to have complete freedom from any disease and that English buyers on this side should have complete confidence in what was done in Ireland.
Attention called to the fact that forty Members were not present. House counted, and forty Members being found present—
I want to pass from that point and to ask the right hon. Gentleman another question. All of us on this side of the Committee were interested in the Irish problems he mentioned with regard to the detection of these cases of foot-and-mouth disease, and we are all most anxious to see what he stated in black and white, especially the report of the inspectors on both sides and the steps taken to verify whether it was foot-and-mouth disease. I believe that by the Standing Orders of the House, if any Minister quotes from any document, that document must be laid on the Table if a request is made by any Member. Therefore, I think I am right in assuring any hon. Members from Ireland that if they make the request to the right hon. Gentleman he will be obliged by the Standing Orders, as a Minister of the Crown, having 400 quoted several documents in the course of his speech, to lay them whether the other Minister of the Crown objects or not. I think it settles that matter if we can get the whole correspondence that has taken place in regard to the matter, and, if it is necessary by the rules of the House, to give that notice, I give notice now formally that we will ask for that correspondence in order to show in future how these things are carried out departmentally.
I want now to draw my remarks particularly to the Department in England, and to ask the English Minister one or two questions which are really germane to the point we are making. The hon. Member (Mr. Field) suggested that there ought to be a small Commission to enquire into the matter. I myself am very much against any suggestion of a Commission or committee to deal with any case of sudden outbreak or any regulations which have to be made, but the right hon. Gentleman took him up wrongly. The desire in Ireland among a large section is that a responsible Commission or committee should be appointed to see if what is a real difficulty could not be overcome. It is nothing to do with the question of the sudden restrictions which might be necessary in the cause of an outbreak of disease, but a small Commission or committee to put their heads together with a view to trying to get over this very objectionable system of a double inspection of cattle at such enormous expense. I do not see that anyone on either side of the House could possibly object to having a small committee and I hope the hon. Member will be one of the members of it. He has a great knowledge of the cattle trade and he has spoken very fairly to-day, as far as any Nationalist Member is allowed to go. They cannot go very far. Like the hon. Member (Mr. Farrell) they can speak with a loud voice but they cannot go any further because the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. John Redmond) has already sanctioned the attitude of the English Department in this particular restriction which they are taking, and of course his obedient followers must follow. The reason why hon. Members cannot do anything more than simply make a mere protest is that the hon. and learned Gentleman said the other day:—I can assure you on every other item—I cannot go into the other [...]s I have given the leading ones—on every single item of the Liberal programme, apart from Home Rule altogether, you will find just as sincere and just as enthusiastic support from the Irish Nationalists as you will find from the members of your own Party.401 The Nationalist party are giving just as loyal support to the English Department as any Radical who sits behind them. The effect of that is that any protest which is made on this particular occasion is futile because the whole of the Nationalist party will walk into the Lobby with the right hon. Gentleman in support of his policy, which every Board in Ireland thinks is a heavy burden, which the people cannot bear, and which will do great harm to the cattle trade of Ireland.
In support of that contention may I ask one or two questions of the President of the Board? First of all he is establishing very elaborate machinery through the agency, shall I say of the dock companies and of the railway companies, for the erection of new lairages in various parts of the country. In Glasgow, Birkenhead, and in all the other importing towns in England they have, under the new Board's rules, to establish a very large, a very complicated and a very costly system of lairages in order to deal with the cattle which now roust be subject to this twelve hours' detention. These railway companies and harbour companies, these great trusts, will not spend tens of thousands of pounds on erecting new inspecting pens or lairages without getting every shilling of it back again, and the Department will not assist them in the building of these lairages with a penny of a grant from State funds, and therefore private enterprise must supply these buildings, and this is all to be done, not for philanthropic purposes, as some people suggest, but for the right hon. Gentleman to carry out the scheme of a second inspection, which we consider quite unnecessary on this side. Mark what happens. All that enormous cost will be thrown upon the Irish small farmer, who makes his livelihood entirely out of rearing cattle to be sent over to this country. The cattle, after inspection and after being battered about and got on board the steamer and brought across to this country are to be put into these pens, and it is ridiculous to think cattle will settle down and really will get benefit or rest from being put into pens, sometimes very dirty, sometimes herded about with strange cattle, chased round to be caught and inspected and then re-entrained perhaps only to go a few miles, perhaps to a place like Ayr. How far would the cattle have to go? May be ten miles. They have to go through all this machinery in a strange dock, being kept inside these pens and being put into 402 a train and taken perhaps ten miles in the name of humanity. He suggests they should be watered and fed and be knocked about instead of being taken at once to the farms where they will be best treated and where they will be most comfortable in the long run.
Now come to this case. These cattle have not only to be established there, but they have to be fed and watered and new drovers have to be employed in order to take them on to their next destination, and there is not only the interruption of the journey but there is this additional cost, which will come to anything between 2s., 3s., 4s. and 5s. a head, where a few shillings a head means so much to the person over in Ireland on the price on which the stability of the man's contribution or rent to the landlord or instalment to the Government depends. You cannot put even a fraction of the price on the head of cattle in this way. But there is a far more serious thing than that—the most serious thing of all. These railway and dock companies and public trusts are not sure that this particular Order will be kept in perpetuity, and, therefore, their inclination would be not only to charge so much per head of cattle for the use of the docks, but also to charge in respect of a sinking fund, for public trusts and private companies trying to make money out of this trade must make sure before the right hon. Gentleman's system is abandoned that they have not only the interest on their money, but that the whole of the capital will be returned. What would happen? Supposing the right hon. Gentleman were succeeded by a President of the Board who said, "In our opinion foot-and-mouth disease was a matter of three or four years ago; the country is quite clear of it now, we think this is a cruel restriction on the cattle trade of Ireland, and, therefore, we will take it off." They know that perfectly well, and do you think they are going to have these recently erected works left on their hands, thrown over unused, and left perfectly derelict, as we often see land lying derelict, after spending thousands of pounds upon them? Our fear is that they will take, not a fair rate of interest on the money alone, but that they will ask for remuneration with respect to the whole of the capital they have expended on these docks as well. The worst of it is that for the first five or six years the cattle trade will suffer to that extent through the paying back of capital. It will be the interest 403 of the railway, dock, and steamship companies to continue this system of twelve hours' detention, because, having got these docks, they will see in them a fruitful source of income. It will be their interest throughout England and Scotland to press the people to keep up this farce of having double inspection in order to make these docks pay. That is a very grievous part of this particular policy. In answer to a question asked by the hon. Member for Waterford the other day the right hon. Gentleman said:—I courteously acknowledged the resolution sent to me. I do not agree that this twelve hours' detention will be a crushing blow, or any blow whatever, to the Irish cattle trade.I really think that is an astounding statement. It may not be a crushing blow. I am not going to exaggerate the thing at all. I am going to try to get this matter down to a business level and to have a common agreement to settle this serious matter. That the policy of the right hon. Gentleman will be a blow to the cattle trade of Ireland nobody denies. The best experts throughout the country think so. I have here a whole sheaf of evidence from all over Ireland that they look upon this as a great blow to the industry. We have evidence not only of those in Ireland, but also of others who have attended meetings held in Ireland. There were Scotch drovers, buyers and dealers present at these meetings. In a great many instances they spoke even more strongly than those who are on the spot. Take, for instance, a meeting held recently of people from all over Ireland to protest against the recent Order. At that meeting, as reported in the "Irish Times," the Lord Mayor of Dublin said that he had with him that day several people who were entitled to speak, and who were not from the localities in Ireland. A letter was read at the meeting from a Scotchman, the President of the National Federation of the Meat Trade of Great Britain, in which he said that he deeply regretted he was not able to be present. He wrote that he considered the loss would be very great, and that—in the interest of the trade buyers of Irish cattle are determinedly opposed to Mr. Runciman's proposed restrictions, involving cruelty, expense, and delay, in the interest of selfish breeders on this side. We are organising meetings on this side, and meanwhile we wish success to your efforts.In Scotland and in other parts, therefore, we find the greatest objection made to this detention Order. In the "Freeman's Journal" of 28th December there 404 is the report of a meeting on this subject held in county Meath, and the hon. Member below the Gangway, who is more interested in that than anybody else, will be able to tell us what the people have done there.
I will only ask whether it would be possible, first of all, to apply, roughly speaking, the suggestion made by my hon. Friend beside me, than whom no man knows more of the agricultural interests of Ireland. There is no more level-headed man, and he made the suggestion as to carrying out some arrangement agreeable to all parties. Does anyone suggest that my hon. Friend would like to see anything done which would injure the Irish trade in cattle with England? Not at all. His solution, in my opinion, is the right one, and that is to have thorough co-operation between the two Departments, and not to allow the jealousy between the inspectors in England and the inspectors in Ireland to ruin a great trade. Why should this country suffer by petty jealousies? I do not say that there is any jealousy between the heads of the Departments, but why should they submit to the jealousy of those under them? It is all very well to say that there are 1,500,000 cases to be examined, but nobody suggests that English inspectors should be put man for man against Irish inspectors to mark every animal sent across the Channel. I believe my hon. Friend the Member for one of the divisions for Devonshire, an English yeoman farmer of wide experience, agreed that if you send English inspectors over to go with the Irish inspectors and to gain their confidence, you would have gone a long way to eradicate any suspicion which remains in the mind of the English buyer. That disposes entirely, I think, of the case for this detention of cattle. It is desirable, in the interest of both countries, that the restriction should be removed.
As to the suggestion about having a small Committee or Commission of sensible and level-headed men to meet a few representatives of the English Board and the Irish Board, and also representatives of the cattle trade, the grazing interests, and the buyers of store cattle in England and Scotland, I think the idea suggested by the Castlereagh Rural District Council in the county I represent is worthy of attention. The Council suggest that there should be an immediate inquiry to rehabilitate the cattle trade and restore public confidence. Surely it does not 405 indicate the slightest animosity towards England, to say that what is required is to restore confidence. The whole burden of our complaint is that for some unfortunate reason confidence has been broken, and all parties should equally reunite to have it re-established. Feeling throughout the country is unanimous on this point. It is very hard in a country like Ireland to divorce politics from any subject of prominence, but I guarantee that if you could throw a veil for a moment over all the outstanding political feeling in Ireland, there is not a farmer, a dealer, a cattle trader, or a single cattle drover, or anybody interested in the trade, who does not look with the gravest apprehension on adding another burden to what is the greatest trade in Ireland, the cattle industry, which pays the rent or the instalments of the Government, and in which England itself is vastly interested in view of the fact that is has extended so much credit to the small farmers to buy their own farms. You have a trade which is all important on both sides of the Channel, and I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman, if possible even at the last hour, to give us some hope that in a short time at all events, when confidence is re-established, he Will do away with double inspection, and take some means of satisfying himself that across the Channel the right hon. Gentleman's public servants there are able to do their duty not only to the Irish people but to the two countries.
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
I listened with great pleasure to the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President of the Irish Department, and I should suppose there is no Member on this side who would be disposed to differ with him in anything that he says. The right hon. Gentleman referred to some attack made upon his Department, and he mentioned the name of the hon. Member for St. Patrick's Division of Dublin (Mr. Field). I did not hear any attack on the right hon. Gentleman's Department, and there was certainly no attack made by the hon. Member from Dublin. Not only that, but so far as I am aware from beginning to end of this unhappy business there has been neither attack nor criticism on the right hon. Gentleman from any quarter in Ireland as regards the restrictions which he has imposed upon the Irish cattle trade for the necessary purpose of protecting that trade from disease. That is the best answer to one of the English Members opposite who referred to-day to the 406 tendency which he thought existed in some parts of Ireland to evade the laws and regulations made for the purpose of defending the cattle trade. No one who knows anything about Ireland would make such a statement. There has been nothing more remarkable in the whole history of Ireland than the absolute docility with which all agricultural Ireland submitted to every restriction which the right hon. Gentleman imposed, however harsh it seemed to be, in whatever loss it involved the Irish farmer, whatever hardship it caused to the Irish cattle trade. Scan the Irish newspapers; read the leading articles contained in them; read the speeches of Irish Members. So far as I am aware there has been neither complaint nor criticism of anything which the right hon. Gentleman or his Department did for the protection of the Irish cattle trade.
There was some complaint of the right hon. Gentleman and his Department in another direstion. We did probably think he might have done more to restrain the action of his English colleague when we considered that he went too far. There was some criticism of that kind. We thought sometimes it was pretty evident that the right hon. Gentleman did not see eye to eye with his English colleague in this matter and we respected him all the more for it. We knew that we had in the right hon. Gentleman a sturdy defender of the Irish cattle trade and it never entered into our heads that he was not doing his best for Ireland so far as his efforts went, but the thought did come into our heads that sometimes, for reasons which will be obvious to everybody, he let his English colleague, I will not say override him, but at any rate take a line of action which we considered and his Department considered went in advance and in excess of anything that was required for the protection of England and which did a grave and serious injury to the Irish cattle trade. I am not going to investigate the question whether or not we were right in the view we formed on that particular matter, but I do wish to make it quite plain that from no part of Ireland, no matter how sorely these regulations hit us and no matter how fearfully, as we knew, our constituents and all their dearest interests were being imperilled, was there one word of complaint or criticism against anything that the right hon. Gentleman or his Department did in Ireland. But if we are not here to attack the right hon. Gentleman or his Department, I think we are here to attack 407 his English colleague, and there I differ from my hon. Friend the Member for Dublin. He said he was not here to attack the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture. With great respect, I do not know what else we are here for.
We are not, I hope, going to make any unnecessary attack upon him, but we are here to condemn his policy; we are here to say what we think about it; and if that is not an attack upon a Minister, I do not know what an attack it. We are not attacking him for defending English agriculturists; it is the last thing that would enter into our heads. Several English Members have spoken on the basis that there is some conflict of interest between Ireland and England in this matter. I do not believe a word of it; there is no conflict between Ireland and England in this matter. We want to sell our cattle to England and the English people want to buy our cattle. We have a common interest in this matter, and the suggestion that there is a conflict between England and Ireland is, in my opinion, a false and unfounded suggestion. There is a certain section of English agriculture, the breeding interest in England, that has an interest hostile to Ireland in this matter. The more Irish store cattle are prevented from coming into England the higher the price the English breeder will get for his stock. That is a common Free Trade doctrine which I hope no Member from that Bench will venture to disagree with. In whatever way, whether by a protective tax or some regulation which will add to the expense, however you do it, however you make the process of importing Irish cattle into England, more costly and more difficult, in that way you give an advantage to the English compared with the Irish agriculturist and pro tanto impose what is in effect a protective duty, whether it is intended or not, for the benefit of the English breeder. Consequently there is a section of the English agricultural interest which is hostile to Ireland in this matter. Both in this House, in the Press, in speeches throughout the country, and in letters to the "Times"—of course they are entitled to do it—they have fanned the flame of distrust and suspicion against Irish cattle in order to stiffen the back of the right hon. Gentleman—as if it was not sufficiently stiff already—to impose greater obstacles against the importation of Irish stock. They did that in every way which lay within their power, in order to keep 408 up the temporary embargo on the importation of cattle from Ireland into England, thereby to increase the price of the article which they have for sale in the English market. That is quite plain, and we have no kind of quarrel with that at all. They would not be human if they did not act in that way, and the last thing we seek to do is to quarrel with them. But what we do quarrel with is that the outcry which they have made should exercise an influence on the mind of the English Minister who has charge of the interests of English agriculture, and who in our opinion has let himself be carried away by wild panic in this matter of the regulation affecting the import of cattle from Ireland to England. Hon. Members above the Gangway say that we have no cause of complaint. I ask what worse could the right hon. Gentleman have done against Ireland if the cattle plague had been raging there. I read in an early portion of this episode a caution which was sent to the Press by the Irish Department against the use of the phrase "cattle plague" in connection with this disease. But that caution was entirely useless and needless. Every penalty, every restriction which Ireland could have suffered, if the cattle plague had been raging there, she has suffered.
Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us what more he could have done, what extra restrictions he could have imposed upon Ireland, if the most virulent form of cattle plague had existed there? We all know that foot-and-mouth disease is very different from the cattle plague. It is a mild disease of which the animal does not die, and which runs its course, but it is an intensely infectious disease. But what is the course taken with reference to it? The animal was killed, and every animal that came in contact with it was killed. The transit was stopped of cattle not merely from the area where the disease existed to other parts within a certain limited radius around, but front Ireland to England. I ask what more could have been done to harass and hamper the agricultural interests if the most virulent form of cattle disease had been raging? Therefore, when hon. Members above the Gangway tell us that Ireland has not been unfairly treated, I reply with great respect that we have been put in the very same position as if Ireland had been for a quarter of a century the centre of the most virulent and infectious disease. And now, when the whole of the disease is passed, 409 when the right hon. Gentleman gets up and gives us an account most creditable to his Department of the manner in which the disease has been stamped out after six months, we are to have, in consequence of a temporary outbreak, a regulation which will be a cause of permanent injury of the most serious kind to the Irish cattle trade. We complain of the right hon. Gentleman's action in the past, and we complain still more of his action as regards the future. Why do we complain of his action in the past? It is because that while Ireland was still an integral portion of the United Kingdom he has treated her as if she were a foreign country.
I read in the papers some time ago a speech by the bon. Member for Mayo, in which he warned Irish Nationalist politicians as if they were running some grave risk of imperilling the Irish Nationalist position if they resisted the claim which the right hon. Gentleman made to treat Ireland practically as a foreign country. I cannot agree with that, and I was glad when the hon. Member for Longford repudiated any such doctrine. The doctrine apparently is that we are to have all the disadvantages of the Union and none of its advantages. We are to be treated as if we had a Home Rule Parliament before the Home Rule Parliament is established. When cattle disease broke out in England the right hon. Gentleman was content to put a cordon of fifteen miles around the seat of the outbreak. Why has he made a different rule for Ireland? He says that in Ireland the conditions are different. I entirely deny it. He says that when cattle are congregated in steamers which cross the Channel a condition of things is set up in which the propagation of cattle disease becomes much more likely than in normal circumstances. Of course that is so. But do you not in every fair and market and train throughout the length and breadth of England set up the same condition? There is no difference between the conditions in which cattle are carried in trains to different fairs and markets, or congregated in the different fairs and markets, and those under which cattle are carried across the Channel in steamers. The argument that there should be different treatment for Ireland from that which is given to any English county is in my opinion unfounded.
I was delighted when the hon. Member for Longford repudiated the doctrine which has been propounded, that it is no part of the Irish Nationalist position that 410 we are not to claim while the Union exists the full benefits of the Union. I quite agree that the important matter winch we have to deal with is not the past of the Irish cattle trade, not the incidents of the past few months, but the future of the Irish cattle trade. We cannot, however, refrain from expressing our views and passing our criticisms upon what the right hon. Gentleman has done in the past, though the important matter is what is to be the state of things in the future. As regards that, I agree with the hon. Member above the Gangway that we should have liked to hear something from the Vice-President of the Irish Department. I have said that I listened to his speech with great pleasure, but I think it was a speech more relevant to an attack on this Vote than to an attack on his English colleague. We are not attacking it. It was occurring to me as I heard the Vice-President's most able speech, in which he put the Irish case with great skill, that the right, hon. Gentleman might be having a sly dig at his. English colleague; because a more powerful condemnation of the President of the Board of Agriculture than is necessarily involved in the speech of the Vice-President I never listened to. He has made out our case with great self-restraint and great skill, and, though he has not said a word upon the particular topic which we all have in our minds, namely as to the regulations in future, he has demonstrated a state of things which makes that regulation wholly unjustifiable and most unjust. In vindicating those who have so ably worked under him he proved to demonstration that only the cargo, if you could call it so, or some one or more cattle in one English cargo, went across the Irish Channel infected with foot-and-mouth disease. That is the sole ground for the monstrous charge made by a member of the Government that enormous numbers of diseased cattle were sent from Ireland into England. Was there ever a statement so monstrous and unfounded made by an English Minister. I said I do not complain of those Members who represent in this House the interests of the English cattle breeders for doing their best for their clients, if I may call them so. They are quite within their rights. The more they wave this flag of suspicion and distrust against the Irish cattle trade the more they are serving those who sent them here, and the more they are doing for the interests they have at heart. But what about the Under-Secretary to the 411 Board of Agriculture. What defence has he for defaming and defiling the Irish cattle trade? What defence has any Minister who, after all, when he speaks with the responsibility of his office, for this monstrous statement that Ireland has sent across enormous numbers of diseased cattle?
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
Certainly he said it. Is it denied that he said it? His Chief is sitting here and he can deny it, but so far from denying it he is justifying it. He said that enormous numbers of diseased Irish cattle were sent from Ireland into England. That statement was a false statement. I do not say that Lord Lucas was guilty of any deliberate untruth, but the statement was a false and reckless statement and wholly unfounded, and, coming from a person occupying his position, and speaking with the weight and authority which his office gave, was a shocking statement. It is that speech and the policy which that speech indicates which is the sole justification of the regulation Which we are attacking here to-day. Let me say a word as to that regulation. I referred before to the first speech made from the Nationalist Benches by the hon. Member for the St. Patrick's Division of Dublin (Mr. Field). That Gentleman, when he speaks on this subject, speaks with very high authority, and has not only a connection with the cattle trade himself, but is greatly trusted by the members of the trade. He has constantly defended their interests and given expression to their opinions, and there is not a man in Ireland who, when questions relating to the cattle trade are concerned, speaks with more authority or whose words are listened to with greater respect than the hon. Gentleman. That being so, I must say I would have wished that Gentleman spoke to-day more clearly on the subject of this regulation. I have already referred to the fact that he said he did not attempt or was not here to attack the right hon. Gentleman, the head of the Department. If I understood the hon. Member, he went somewhat further. I thought he expressed some approval of a permanent quarantine against Irish cattle.
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
The hon. Member has got up and corrected me, but he has made no correction, because he has only repeated what he said, that he was against twelve hours' detention. I never suggested he had expressed himself in favour of twelve hours' detention. I understood him, I may be wrong, that he did express himself in favour of some period of quarantine in Great Britain. Then I repeat what I said, that I think it is unfortunate that a Member to whose words such great importance is attached, and who does undoubtedly prominently voice the opinion of the cattle trade in Ireland, should have lent the sanction of his authority to this doctrine that a period of quarantine is required on the English side of the Channel. I did not understand any of his colleagues to take that line. Certainly the hon. Member for North Longford (Mr. Farrell) repudiated it, and the hon. Member for North Leitrim (Mr. F. E. Meehan), whose maiden speech we heard with great interest, certainly repudiated it, and I should be greatly surprised if the hon. Member who sits below me (Mr. P. White) lends any countenance to the doctrine that any period of quarantine is necessary on the English side of the Channel after Irish cattle have been subjected to the exhaustive process of examination which the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President of the Department has described here to-day.
§ Mr. FIELD
I am not in favour of a period of quarantine in England. I think that the examination ought to be sufficiently made on the Irish side so that there would be no sort of necessity for it. So far as I can judge from the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture he seems to have made up his mind that he will not give up his point. [An HON. MEMBER: "Make him do it."] I am opposed to it but we cannot make him. I think all this detention ought to be on the Irish side, which ought to be sufficient.
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
No one will be more pleased than I would be if the effect of what I have endeavoured to say has been to rally the hon. Member to the general body and I may almost say the unanimous body of opinion existing in Ireland upon this matter, but I cannot shut my eyes to the fact that in his first speech and in his first interruption, the hon. Member did express, as I understood him, his approval of some period of quarantine, not 413 twelve hours, I agree, as he condemned that, upon the English side of the Channel. Except the hon. Member I am not aware of any body in Ireland who is in favour in anything of the kind. We do not believe that it is necessary. We believe that the inspection in Ireland is ample and sufficient. We further believe that not only is the inspection on this side unnecessary, but it is almost ridiculous, because it cannot effect any good purpose. It is inconceivable that a period of twelve hours can cover the time of incubation of the disease. If it could be shown that the period of incubation was eight or ten hours, or some period which would be fairly covered by the time occupied in crossing the Channel, there would be something to be said in favour of the view that after an exhaustive inspection on the other side you should have another inspection on this side. But nothing of the kind is suggested. It is admitted that the period of incubation is very much longer, and that if the disease exists in an incubatory state when the animal leaves Ireland an inspection on this side will not at all secure the discovery of the disease. What then is to be said in favour of the period of detention? The right hon. Gentleman himself failed to meet the position, because he did not base his defence on any question relating to disease, but imported some considerations of humanity or of the proper treatment of animals. God knows that if you alleviated the suffering of poor dumb beasts by any regulation you could make, I would be the last man to oppose it. Even if it cost money or involved loss I certainly would not raise my voice against it. But it has been demonstrated that, so far from being any alleviation of their trouble, this detention in pens with concrete floors is an addition to the misery of the animals. Consequently we may entirely leave out of consideration any question of humanity.
There is no disease in Ireland. Except this one outbreak, there has been none for thirty-three years. When the disease broke out it resulted in only one transit of diseased animals to England. The quarantine in England admittedly will not stay the disease, as is proved by the fact that when effective quarantine is necessary the right hon. Gentleman imposes, not twelve hours, but three or four days, followed by three weeks' observation. The disease being extinct, the detention being useless and futile, and involving much loss to our chief industry, what is to be said in favour of the restriction? An appeal 414 was made to the right hon. Gentleman to protect Irish agriculture against French straw. It was pointed out that one of the outbreaks undoubtedly resulted from French straw. Question after question was asked in this House with a view to inducing the right hon. Gentleman at any rate to put an end to that possible source of infection. I do not know whether or not the right hon. Gentleman was right in the view he took, but he said that to stop French straw from coming in would cause a fearful dislocation of trade. Whose trade? Is the wine trade to Ireland so important as to make the dislocation of the Irish cattle trade, which amounts to £15,000,000 a year, a matter of no importance? When I read the right hon. Gentleman's reply, I thought it strange irony that dislocation of trade in one case should produce such an extraordinary effect on the right hon. Gentleman's mind, whereas in the other case, where the interest of all Ireland is concerned, it should be regarded as a matter of small importance. This is not a question merely of Irish trade; it is a question affecting all Ireland. It is not the farmer alone, or the drover, or the cattle jobber, who is concerned. The railway company, the steamship company, the banking company, the merchant, the shopkeeper, every class in Ireland is hit and hurt by the restriction. That being the case, I trust that, although we have had to come here on a Saturday at the close of a long Session to discuss this matter, our labours will not be thrown away, and that we may even at the eleventh hour claim to have made some impression on the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
The speech to which we have just listened, representing, I presume, the views of the county of Cork as well as those of the city of Cork which the hon. Member so ably represents, is based entirely on the assumption that this is an England versus Ireland question.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I am glad to hear that, because it relieves me from the necessity of dealing further with that point of the subject. But if that is the view of the hon. Member, a great deal of his speech was beside the point, because it was entirely based on the theory, as far as I could follow him, that whatever was done over here was done with the deliberate object of preventing Irish cattle from coming to this 415 country, and of putting such obstacles in the way that some favoured interest in Great Britain would gain a market advantage which it would not otherwise secure.
§ Mr. MAURICE HEALY
I did not say that. I should be sorry if the right hon. Gentleman thought that I charged him or his Department with any such object. I said that suspicion against Ireland had been fanned from other sources.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
No, Sir. What the hon. and learned Gentleman did say was that my regulations were the outcome of influence brought to bear upon me in England. I would point out to the hon. and learned Gentleman, and the Committee, that the regulations, such as they are at the present moment, have not been made at the dictates of any one section of British agriculturists. They have been framed in the interests of English agriculture as a whole, and in the interests of the Irish cattle trade as well.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
Perhaps I may be allowed to state my case. If the hon. and learned Gentleman does not like it I am afraid he will have to take it quietly. There is no doubt that upon this question from the very first the British Board of Agriculture has been the centre of conflicting interests. There are not only those who wish to sell, but there are those who wish to buy. There are not only breeders, but feeders. There are also the people, whose case was stated by the hon. Member who opened the Debate this afternoon, who are solely interested in the carrying trade. Their interests are not identical with those of agriculturists on either side of St. George's Channel. They are solely for making as much as they can by the carriage of cattle, and it is no direct concern of theirs, although they may take a general interest in the subject as to whether the animals are good, bad, or indifferent; diseased or healthy. Their interest is to get as many over as possible and as rapidly; their interest lies in large freights. In the midst of all this conflict and of all these difficulties, not only outside but inside the House of Commons as well, the Board of Agriculture has had to form its own opinion and take its own course.
416 I found myself at one time in conflict with the great local authorities of Great Britain. The county councils were much more alarmed about the position of the Irish cattle trade than probably any other section in England. They were alarmed at the steps we were taking in the removal of restrictions. Immediately large numbers of them put on regulations—which have not been removed in a large number of counties yet—over and above the other restrictions of the Board of Agriculture, because they thought we were going too far in the Irish interest. These difficulties have not been lessened with time. What has disappeared—and disappeared I hope not to return—is the presence of disease in either Ireland or in England. I began my remarks this afternoon by the statement, which I have made elsewhere, that I believe at the present time the United Kingdom—that is to say, Great Britain and Ireland—is freer from any form of cattle disease than any other country in the world. If that had not been the case, it would have been impossible for my right hon. Friend or myself to have relaxed the restrictions so rapidly. But we must go back, as so many hon. Members have done, to the earlier dangers from which we suffered. It is true that we had some cases of foot-and-mouth disease in Great Britain in 1911—that was in England only, for there was none, I am glad to say, in Scotland. Then we had a case at Penrith in 1912. Almost immediately on the top of that there came the cases which were traced directly to the outbreak at Swords. The hon. and learned Member who has just sat down objected to some words which are attributed to my Noble Friend Lord Lucas. I have not the exact words by me, but their general purport was this:—When we had our worst outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in July, the origin was tracked to animals that came from Ireland.It is no use disputing—
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I am not going to give way to my hon. and learned Friend. He has made his speech. There is not the very least doubt that the disease did come over from Ireland.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
Nothing is gained by denying the truth. A bad impression—I will talk quite frankly to the hon Member—is created in England by anyone wishing to belittle the outbreak at Swords. My Noble Friend did not belittle the outbreak at Swords. He said from the first that the Swords outbreak was a great calamity, not only to Ireland but to England. Since the Swords outbreak, the Department of my right hon. Friend has worked with such skill, assiduity and activity, that there has not been a repetition of anything like the same risks to British agriculture. It is no use belittling the dangers that came from the Swords outbreaks. It is very easy to exaggerate the dangers, just as it is now easy to exaggerate whatever effect may have accrued from the restrictions still in force. We know nothing about the origin of the Swords outbreak, but then, that is not the only outbreak of which we do not know the origin. There have been outbreaks in England of which we know nothing. When Sir Ailwyn Fellowes' Committee sat two years ago they examined into every case that had occurred in Great Britain during the previous year. I believe that in not one single case were they able to track down the origin of the disease. What one knew, however, in this case was that the infection, however it might have got there, was in Swords, and was conveyed to Great Britain largely owing to the action of some thoroughly careless people in Swords. It was necessary at that time and until we knew something more about the infected area, which the Irish Department was unfortunately unable to inform us about, to put a complete stop to the traffic, and until we knew where was the seat of the disease.
As soon as that was discovered I immediately authorised the opening of the ports for fat cattle. The most pressing need at that time in Ireland and in England was that fat cattle should come over to our markets. I opened the ports immediately for the fat cattle which were to be slaughtered at the landing place. We had over on this side a number of lairages, mainly for foreign animals, which could be used for slaughtering the fat cattle from Ireland. If I had taken the view taken by my right hon. Friend in the year 1911 I would never have thought of opening the ports to Irish fat cattle. What he did in 1911 was not to open the Irish ports, even after an interval of three months, but to close them absolutely. I did not do that. I opened the ports and the fat cattle came over in 418 such large numbers that a record importation of fat cattle into Great Britain from Ireland was made. The last six months of 1912 beating all records. Not only the needs of consumers at home have been met and relieved, but this course has relieved the pressure in the fattening districts of Ireland to such an extent as to allow of the ordinary rotation of trade. At a period when the disease was apparently well under control I took the step of opening the ports to store as well as to fat cattle. I did it under somewhat severe restrictions. I gave notice of the fact that I was going to do it. What was the result of that? Such was the feeling in England about it that immediately on the reassembling of Parliament one of the most important and formidable agricultural deputations that has ever met a Minister came, and protested against, me giving way to Irish pressure, in allowing these animals into our ports. That deputation, I hope I reassured, though I do not know, but I remember the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wimbledon, who has occupied my office, declared that from his experience the readmission of Irish stores so soon was taking a risk which in his judgment ought not to be incurred. The representative of the Royal Agricultural Society said there was a feeling of general alarm throughout the country. Lord Northbrook said that the modification was viewed with the greatest apprehension, and so on. These representatives of agriculture represented England and Scotland.
I did not see my way to give way, for I felt, having arrived slowly and deliberately at the conviction that it was a safe thing to undertake, that we must abide by our decision. Four days, I agreed, was not the full period of incubation, but I never put it forward as being the period during which you could get the disease in process of incubation. What I always said was it was a sufficiently long time to enable us to turn off the tap of the flow of Irish animals into this country if the disease established itself in Ireland. I think that in what we undertook to do we were thoroughly justified by the result, and the result I am glad to say was that we prevented a single case of foot-and-mouth disease in England after that being attributable directly or indirectly to the Irish cattle trade. The only case of any kind that occurred since was down in Kent, and there was not the least doubt but that disease did not come from Ire- 419 land. How it reached Kent nobody knows. I can assure the hon. Member for Wells who spoke about foreign cake, that it did not reach Kent by means of foreign cake, for the proprietor of that farm is one of the most careful of men, and while he was alarmed about the importation of the disease, he had no connection with Ireland, and he did not import any foreign cake and no foreign material had been in touch with his farm. The only case that occurred in England after we started with the four days' detention was not attributable in any way to Ireland, and Noble Lords and right hon. and hon. Gentlemen who saw me last October will feel that events justified the landing of Irish cattle at British ports at that time.
We come now to the next stage. There were a number of suspicious cases which have been already referred to this afternoon. Immediately that these suspicious cases were reported to me, and that I felt that there was good ground for the suspicion—I do not say absolute ground—I immediately turned off the tap, as it was the only thing to do. If any hon. Member of this House had been in my position he would know perfectly well that directly a case of suspicion arises you must act. You cannot wait. There is not a great deal of time for a full diagnosis and for dissection in the laboratory. You must act upon the case of suspicion. You may relax after your suspicions are found to be groundless. I acted and set the machinery in operation, and prevented animals coining in for ten days. We put a stop to the store cattle trade, and some of the counties in Ireland were help up, and the movement of cattle was almost entirely stopped. I am glad to say that on fuller investigation these suspicious cases turned out not to be cases of foot-and-mouth disease but stomatitis. What was reported to us was that five heads were found containing lesions indistinguishable from foot-and-mouth disease. If I had not acted upon that I should have been blamed by English agriculturalists and by all those interested in the cattle trade. These cases were indistinguishable from cases of foot-and-mouth disease. That was the view held not only in England but in Ireland, and Professor Mettan, as my right hon. Friend (Mr. Russell) has told us, was doubtful for a while. It was only after a time that the conclusion was come to that there was no danger, and the restrictions were taken off and the trade 420 proceeded. The hon. and learned Member for north-east Cork has pressed me more than once to publish our reports. The reason I declined to do that was that a great deal of the reports had been by word of mouth. If I published only the written communications I should give a totally incomplete description of the situation. But I intend at the earliest possible moment to issue a publication by the Board giving a full account of the whole of the cases, including those of suspicion and those that were in doubt, so that the House and the country may have a full chance of knowing what the dangers were that had to be avoided, and where the suspicions were groundless, and how far we were justified in taking the action we did.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Why should the right hon. Gentleman be the one Member of the House to possess information that is not available for the House of Commons as a whole?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
What the hon. and learned Gentleman asks for is a reprint of the papers. I have told him that I can not reprint conversations which were most important.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I will give the hon. and learned Gentleman the fullest information, and it will be much more than anything he can get out of one or two separate reports which form but a very small part of the discussion upon these cases. The next stage in the difficult administration was the giving of full notice to the country in Ireland, England and Scotland, that we were going to reduce the period of four days to twelve hours, and that shortly we were going to get rid of the whole of the inspection after animals had come to their destination, and, what is even of greater importance to the Irish vendor, that the English markets were going to be thrown open to Irish cattle. I gave full and long notice. I sketched in outline what was our intention. I was under no obligation to give such notice. It was not done by any of my predecessors. They acted promptly. I did that in order that we might collect the views of those interested in the various parts of the United Kingdom. I communicated with the big railway companies. I saw men engaged in the shipping traffic between Ireland and England, and I met 421 feeders over here both in Scotland and England. I saw the English dealers, and I need hardly say that I had numberless communications from every quarter in Ireland. Irish opinion was not quite unanimous. There were some men in Ireland who deliberately stated that the twelve hours detention over here was no good. They did not stick to twelve hours—it was a sacrosanct figure—but they believed that detention over here would be good. I was told by buyers in Scotland and England that they thought that detention would be good, and I was told everywhere in England that without inspection here confidence could not be restored in the Irish cattle. I thought we must modify our proposals in one or two particulars, and I was anxious to do that, so on the 28th January I published the Order which is now in force. It is suggested that there was no necessity for that, and that twelve hours was superfluous.
The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, and I think one or two others who have spoken previously—certainly the hon. Member for Wells—drew attention to the fact that twelve hours by no means represented the incubation period of foot-and-mouth disease. I am aware of that, and he rightly said that as a rule foot-and-mouth disease incubation has been known to be one of five days. There have been cases in the last summer and autumn where it took fourteen days. I do not put forward twelve hours as by any means covering the period of incubation. The hon. Gentleman who spoke last said that as that did not cover the period of incubation it was therefore superflous, but I understand he has great respect for inspection on the Irish side. He must be quite aware that inspection upon the Irish side cannot cover the period of incubation. Is he going to say that inspection on the Irish side should be abandoned because it is not long enough? The only thing you can say is that if you want to cover the whole period you will put a stop to all importation which would be a calamity to England and Scotland as well as to Ireland. The best we can do is to take such approximate precautions as will prevent the disease coming in. What are these precautions? Every case of disease ought to be reported in Ireland. There are men all over the country who look out for it. If they fail to detect cases then you have inspection at the Irish port. If the inspector there fails I hope the inspector here will not fail, and so we should 422 put up an approximate barrier between the possibilitly of infection being spread in Great Britain. I cannot say that it will be absolutely complete, but it is the best we can do if the trade is to go forward smoothly and promptly. Personally, I prefer the system of inspection with a short period of detention to the long quarantine system. There is another advantage about inspection, and it is that it enables us to detect not only foot-and-mouth disease but other diseases. We have now had some experience of the twelve hours' detention system, and the result has been that we have not come across a single case of foot-and-mouth disease, although we have detected other diseases and animals have been discovered here with other diseases. Sheep-scab has been found in sheep landed on this side. It is agreed that foot-and-mouth disease is a very serious thing to all stock owners, but sheep-scab is a disease which we cannot afford to run the risk of having in this country from anywhere. By our system at the English ports we have stopped 140 cases of sheep-scab already under this twelve hours' detention, and under the same kind of inspection that will be applied in the future. Only two days ago three new cases of sheep-scab were found at Birkenhead, and that is a justification for the inspection which I have applied to the port of arrival on this side.
Some hon. Members have jeered at me giving humanitarianism as one of the reasons for allowing these animals to be rested and watered here, but I do not think that view is shared by a large number of people interested in this trade. I know that more than one hon. Member in this Debate has said that anything we can do to alleviate the sufferings of these animals we certainly ought to do, and, if I thought the detention of these animals would cause them pain and injury, I should adopt some other way of dealing with them. What happened in some of the cases up till July this last year? I think hon. Members from Ireland will bear me out when I say that the rapidity with which the animals were shipped from Ireland to their destination in England left nothing to be desired. They were put in the trucks, carried down to the wharf at Dublin, where I saw them myself, they were hurried on to the ships with the greatest rapidity; there was a cursory inspection, and everybody thought that was sufficient. They went on board the ship crowded together, and if there is any 423 chance of injury by horning they had every chance of doing it, and some of them did it. [An HON. MEMBER: "That is not so."] I have reports before me showing that horning did happen. Many of the cattle on this side were hustled into trucks, and others went, not for twelve, but even for twenty-four hours, without being fed or watered, and that injured the cattle. The information I have received from many officials shows that in some of the ports arrangements were made for watering the animals, and the necessity for this was largely pressed upon the Department.
I have here an extract from the report of the Departmental Committee which sat in 1894 to consider the injury to Irish animals in transit. and in that report reference was made to the complaint of butchers and salesmen at Liverpool to the fact that animals deteriorated in transit ten shillings per head, and among the causes assigned for this were hunger, thirst, and fatigue. I have quoted humanitarianism as one of the reasons for giving this time for the cattle to be watered and fed, and I think I was justified in doing it, but my main reason was to keep the disease completely under control, and if at the same time I could do a kindness to the poor animals I am only too glad to have the opportunity. Now it is suggested that I have adopted an entirely new procedure, and that I am imposing upon the cattle trade something which they have never suffered from before, and that for the first time I am providing for detention in lairages where the animals lose quality, and where their feet are damaged and other injuries take place. I do not agree with that view. In Liverpool for very many years past there have been private lairages, and I do not think anyone will suggest that they were put up for the fun of the thing. They were put up deliberately, and the animals which have passed through them have not deteriorated in quality through being enclosed in them. Not only in Liverpool but in many English towns lairages have been adopted. The animals go in together and they have not horned each other or done any damage, and I am told that these lairages are a necessary part of the trade. During the last six months ten of thousands of cattle have passed through Birkenhead since July last, and during that time only one case of horning has been reported. Therefore, there is exaggeration about what has 424 been said in regard to the damage likely to be done in lairages. It is suggested that the use of these lairages is going to lead to a downright block in the trade. What is the case in regard to the Dublin market, which I think is held in a Thursday. The animals travel to Liverpool on the Saturday night—I am talking now about the old days—they arrive at Liverpool on a Sunday morning, unless they are delayed by fog or something of that kind, and they used to be detained from the Sunday morning until the Monday morning for the market.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
Up to the first of July last that was the regular custom of the cattle trade between Ireland and England. If it is suggested that delay is prolonged by my Order I reply that it will make no change whatever. The animals leave on Saturday night and they will be cleared by my inspectors on Sunday, and they will be ready for sale on the Monday just as they used to be in the old days when they came forward without inspection and without any detention being imposed. There used to be detention and lairages, but the change I have made is to make that system more uniform, and I was bound to make it uniform if we wished to have a complete inspection of all the animals that came over from Ireland. One complaint is that this lairage accommodation is not complete, and that it places a great obstacle in the way of the trade. The hon. Member who opened this discussion laid stress upon that part and described it as a crushing blow upon the Irish cattle trade. The hon. and gallant Gentleman laid great stress on the expense to which the Port Authorities and these companies were to be put, but in a number of ports lairage accommodation already exists, and there will be no extra capital expenditure required. At Birkenhead there is already lairage accommodation for 6,000 cattle and 16,000 sheep and swine per day.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
No, there will be no extra expense at all to those who have put up the lairages. At Birkenhead they will not have to spend a single penny on their lairages.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
That is not the point. The point of the hon. and gallant Gentleman was that there would be extra capital expenditure. I will come to the daily charge afterwards. Let me dispose of this point first. At Birkenhead, the principal port, there is accommodation now without any capital expenditure for 6,000 cattle and 16,000 sheep and swine per day.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will allow me to proceed in my own way. I have not shirked a single point. I take next the case of Bristol. At Avonmouth Dock there is accommodation for 2,500 cattle per day, and in Cumberland Basin for 600 cattle per day.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
The fact remains, whatever the hon. Member says, that cattle have been there. At Cardiff there is accommodation for 400 cattle, 300 sheep, and 250 swine. At Glasgow there is accommodation at Merklands for 3,000 cattle, 800 sheep, and 800 swine. I am sorry to say there is at Holyhead accommodation only for a very small number, I think about 270, but I have made arrangements for that number to be immediately increased to 500. At Deptford, if it is used, and it has been used occasionally and I hope it will continue to be used, there is accommodation for 2,500 cattle per day. At Manchester there is accommodation for 1,920 cattle per day and 900 sheep. That is a total of over 15,000 cattle per day, or, if you take all animals, of 34,940 cattle per day. Everyone who knows the figures of this trade knows the number of animals represented as passing from Ireland to England works out at between 30,000 and 35,000 per week. I therefore suggest there is ample accommodation within these ports to carry the whole of that trade. Now I come to some of the other ports. At Fishguard, where there has been no accommodation, I am informed officially the work may be finished in a fortnight or so. At Heysham general plans have been approved by our Board and are now before the Railway Board. At Barrow 426 general plans have been approved by our Board and progress has already been made with some of the work. At Silloth plans have been prepared by the Railway Board for the approval of our Board, and in the event of our authorising them it is estimated that it will take about six months to erect the buildings. At Stranraer plans have not yet been approved by the directors of the railway company, but the Secretary writes that he is doing all he can to expedite a decision. At Greenock no decision has been given by the railway company, and the matter is still under consideration. Lord Inverclyde controls at Ardrossan.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I cannot state the actual cost because the figures have not been given to me in every case, but the capital expenditure is not heavy except at Ardrossan and Heysham. There has been a good deal of opposition to providing extra capital expenditure at Ardrossan, and Lord Inverclyde has, like any other business man, quite rightly been doing his level best to avoid any expenditure.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
There is already accommodation for 34,000 per day and the Irish cattle trade works out from 30,000 to 35,000 per week, so that not only is there ample accommodation but there is an enormous margin of accommodation. The hon. and gallant Gentleman asked me with regard to the actual cost of detention. I have not before me the whole of the figures, but the actual cost of detention and lairage charges will work out at from 1s. to 2s. per head.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
No, it is not 3s. at Merklands. It is now under consideration. The authorities have asked me to sanction 2s. 6d., but. I have not yet sanctioned it. I am giving the hon. Gentleman the result of communications which came from official sources. These are the actual facts. It is not a question of pounds per head but a question of 1s. or 2s. per head. If the hon. Gentleman has any other information perhaps he will be good enough to send it me. I have made it one of the important parts of the Order that there shall be no charges at any of these landing 427 places not sanctioned by the Board of Agriculture, and that Port authorities and the railway and shipping companies shall not have the use of these landing places unless they keep their charges down, and they have all agreed except Merklands, and I hope Merklands will agree before long. The only other commercial and trade point put by the hon. and gallant Gentleman was that shipping, owing to this delay, would be impossible. The hon. Gentleman knows a good deal about hay and straw and some portions of the cattle trade, but I can assure him I have had a little more experience of shipping companies than he has had, and I have never yet known a shipowner in any part of the world who could not adapt himself to circumstances if he wanted to do it. I believe the noble friend of the hon. Gentleman, Lord Inverclyde, can adapt himself just as rapidly as other people. He is a shrewd business man, and immediately he gets rid of the idea that this twelve hours' detention and inspection on this side has been done for the fun we can get out of it and is merely a temporary precaution, he will set to work to recapture a large portion of the cattle trade between Ireland and Scotland he has already held.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman has forgotten that the trade is worked by what is called the Conference. There is a pool among the shipping companies, and one of the important members in that pool happens to be the Ayr Shipping Company. They have not only shown their readiness to undertake and carry out the conditions, but have actually embarked on the expenditure and are carrying ship loads of cattle every day as hard as they can. Lord Inverclyde can do identically the same thing if he likes. There is nothing impossible in the shipping arrangements. It may possibly be that Lord Inverclyde will have to make a rearrangement of some of his sailing or arrival hours, but that has been done before in the history of shipping and may be done again. I believe Lord Inverclyde can perfectly well comply with the regulations and keep up the necessary amount of tonnage for this trade to any port to which he cares to run without inconvenience to himself. At Merklands I can point to this fact: no complaint of congestion has been received within the last few days; that is to say, within a couple of days of the Order coming into operation. I should also like to add that there have been no complaints recently 428 as to dealing with the cattle trade there at all. The keeping of cattle there for some days to be slaughtered on the spot under the Four Days' Order did cause the greatest congestion at Merklands. That no doubt has been brought about by reason of the fact that some animals which were intended for the East of Scotland were taken viâ the port of Dundee. That has passed away. Now Merkland is freer from congestion than it has been for many months past. I have been asked how I justify the issue of the Order allowing Irish hay and straw to be imported into this country.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I will make some reference to that before I close. Referring to the introduction of Irish hay and straw I might say that the hon. Member who opened this discussion by moving the rejection of the Vote to my Department could have replied with full details, and with much greater knowledge of the hay and straw question than I can. He has canvassed during the last few weeks with the greatest assiduity on this question and I hope he will be satisfied now that the restrictions have been removed and that trade has been fully restored.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
At any rate the hon. Gentleman took the greatest possible care to say everything he could against the English Board of Agriculture and nothing in its favour. I do not, however, make any complaint. My justification for opening the ports to Irish hay and straw was this. There has aways been a certain amount of doubt, and it has been a debatable question as to the length of time that infection may hang about hay and straw. The only case that I know of in recent years of foreign hay and straw having brought disease into this country was the famous Leith case, where undoubtedly the disease was spread by foreign hay, only the farms where the cargo of foreign hay had been consumed were centres of foot-and-mouth disease. I was informed by those whose authority I respect and whose knowledge I have 429 taken the fullest advantage of, that if I opened the English ports to Irish hay and straw we should run very little or practically no risk. But I was not prepared to act purely on that advice. I made the fullest inquiries as to the districts where hay and straw from Ireland were likely to come from, and the conclusion I came to was that very little straw comes over. There has been very little straw sent over in the past few years. The total amount of hay sent over is not very large, and I found that the hay that did come over did not come from any area threatened with infection. Those were really the grounds on which I felt safe in issuing the order to admit Irish hay and straw. If hay or straw came from the Swords district, or from, in and around Mullingar, I should have required a longer time to elapse before reopening British ports to Irish hay and straw.
So far as I can gather Irish hay and straw does not come to this country from any of these infected areas. Therefore, I think I can reassure British agriculturists that little or no risk is being taken by the importation of these two commodities into this country. The result has been to a great extent to relieve the pressure upon the hay and straw market, and especially, in South Wales I believe, it has helped the users of horses and ponies to a great degree. My last point relates to research. Throughout the last six months I have felt that we were not fulfilling our duty as an efficient and up-to-date Board if we did not at the same time that we were closing the markets, interfering with traffic with the idea of isolating disease, and slaughtering animals in order to exterminate the disease, we should not be doing our duty if we did not have a pathological inquiry. Acting on that belief I suggested that the best place where we could make inquiries was India. There were many reasons for that. I sent out to India as early as I possibly could three excellent representatives; three of the best experts we could find in England. They have been joined there by three scientific authorities in India, and the six of them have been at work now for, I think, five months in India where foot-and-mouth disease, I am sorry to say, is very prevalent. I have not received any report from them up to the present time, except that they are prosecuting their inquiries with great rapidity. They can tell me nothing definite yet, but I trust as a result of their inquiries that we shall be able to have some better guide in 430 future as to the control, and possibly the cure as well as the nature of this disease. At present we know nothing of it. The microbes are ultra-microscopic. We can only work experimentally. We have no means of solving the problem at the present moment, but having during the last few years made so much progress with regard to other diseases, I cannot be altogether hopeless about finding some cure for foot-and-mouth disease, and, possibly, obtaining some knowledge with regard to its nature that will enable us to prevent it spreading, without having to resort to the present drastic methods of interfering with trade and commerce.
§ Mr. FLAVIN
When the right hon. Gentleman receives that report, will he consider the advisability of laying it as a Parliamentary Paper?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I should like to see the report first. It will be in the interests of agriculturists both in Ireland and in England that we should have it as widely published as we possibly can.
§ Mr. MUNRO-FERGUSON
The right hon. Gentleman referred to 150 cases of sheep-scab having been detected by his officials in this country at the ports of landing. May I ask him whether those 150 cases escaped the examination of the officials of the Department of Agriculture in Ireland?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
Yes, Sir, I am afraid they did, but I must say this, in excuse for the representatives of the Irish Department, that they were working under tremendous pressure at that time. It was during the time they were suffering from great strain—even until recently their veterinary staff has suffered from this strain, and I believe some of them have broken down in health. I am afraid they did pass the cordon of inspection at the Irish ports. That is one reason which justifies us in having double inspection. In conclusion, let me suggest to Irish Members, in whatever quarter of the House they may sit, that the first interest of the Irish cattle trade is that they should have abundant purchasers. It is no use breeding cattle, and no use fattening them if you do not have abundant purchasing markets. Far and away the largest purchasing markets for Irish cattle have been in England, Scotland and Wales. One reason why there has been a diminution in the purchases of Irish stores in England during the last few months, even under such restrictions as we have had, has been that 431 all over the country English feeders have been thoroughly suspicious—I have no charge to make against any representative of the Irish Department's veterinary staff, they have done their work extraordinarily well. Still, one has to take the facts as they stand. The suspicion does exist, and so strong is that suspicion, that at the present time there is a large number of counties in England which even now will not admit Irish cattle under any condition whatever into their markets or on to their farms.
I maintain that it is the first interest of the Irish agriculturists as well as of the English agriculturists that confidence should be restored. Let me assure them—while they know Ireland, they must give us credit of knowing something about agriculture in England—that you could not restore confidence in England if you were to do away with British inspection on this side. If I were to suggest doing away with it at the present moment I venture to say that the reputation of Irish cattle would be so seriously injured and the view held by agriculturists in England and Scotland would be so seriously affected that it would show itself once more in a diminution of the demand for Irish stock, and it might lead to the putting on of Orders against them. My object is to get rid of these restrictions, whether local or national. The one regulation I have provided for will do no harm to the trade. I am informed on many hands that it will do no harm whatever, but rather good to the animals. However that may be it would tend to restore confidence to England, Scotland and Wales and that would be doing the very best service one could do to the Irish producer.
§ Mr. SANDERS
I do not flatter myself that I shall be able to convince the hon. Member, Mr. Maurice Healy, that he really is doing injustice to the breeders of English stores in suggesting that the pressure which was put by agricultural societies upon the Minister of Agriculture to keep out Irish stores came from those breeders. I do not think there is any doubt whatever that it pays the English farmer much better that store should be cheap than that it should be dear. If you take any of the great agricultural societies you will find that the graziers are a more important class, represent more money and greater interests than the breeders of stores. I do not know if the learned Gentleman was speaking merely on suspicion, 432 or whether he had any evidence for what he said, but one knows a great many English farmers pretty intimately and one knows that the pressure which was undoubtedly put by English agricultural societies on the President of the Board, came not from any feeling of rivalry but from a feeling of caution. I do not think there is any feeling of jealously or rivalry between English and Irish farmers. English farmers think they owe a debt of gratitude to Irish farmers. A great many of them feel that the Irish farmers ought to be encouraged in every possible way. It is not only the trade in stores but in horses as well. Many is the English farmer who has turned a good round sum by selling for a large profit the horses that he has bought in an Irish drove which has come over to this country. Therefore I do not believe that this pressure that English farmers have undoubtedly brought to bear upon the Board has been brought for any feeling of rivalry, and I say the feeling of caution is to a large extent justified. It is not only the grazing and the dairy interests. Some of the most influential farmers who are on these big agricultural societies are very largely interested in pedigree stock, and that is a movement that is extending. Fatal as an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease would be to the dairyman or to the grazier it is fatal to a very much larger extent to the breeder of pedigree stock and it is not only a matter of material interest because although the breeding and selling of pedigree stock undoubtedly is a lucrative form of industry here is also the sentimental pride that a farmer takes in having the very best stock of a particular description. A man who wins a prize with a bullock at the Royal is just as proud of himself as a man who wins the Derby. It is really the pride that farmers take in this pedigree stock that, I believe, has a great deal to do with what I have no doubt hon Gentlemen below the Gangway think is an excess of caution in this matter.
I do not want to deny for a moment that among English farmers there was, I will not say how far it is because I have seen very little of farmers in the last couple of months, but undoubtedly there was a feeling of suspicion that all was not right in Ireland. The outbreak at Swords, no doubt was largely responsible for it. It was felt—I have heard it stated by farmers over and over again—that if that had occurred in England it would have been notified long before. I dare say the explana- 433 tion which was given by the Vice-President is a perfectly fair and good one. The non-notification of the outbreak may be quite excusable on the ground that no one in Ireland had ever seen foot-and-mouth disease before, or had not seen it for thirty years. No doubt that was a perfectly good excuse, but it does not make it any better for the English farmer. It does not make the state of things any safer. Then I do think that suspicion has rather been caused by speeches such as we have heard from the hon. Member for North Longford (Mr. Farrell) to-day. He said that he was very doubtful whether there had been any foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland at all. When that is reported in the papers, you cannot expect it to allay the suspicion of the English farmer. He says there are people in Ireland who think that they have never had foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland at all. Surely that is not the way to allay the suspicion of the English farmer. It is bad for England and bad for Ireland too. We wish to get that suspicion lulled over and done with. The fact is, as the President of the Board of Agriculture has said, we have several County Councils imposing restrictions upon Irish cattle coming into their counties. I believe they are perfectly right in what they are doing, and I am not sure that the President of the Board of Agriculture can force them to take the restrictions off. It is to the interest of all concerned in this question, which is a big question, to allay the suspicion which may be right or wrong, but I do think, in the first place, it will do good if the right hon. Gentleman will publish as soon as he possibly can the report he has promised us to-day as to the Birkenhead cases. I think it would have a good effect on the English farmers if they were shown a case in which the English Board was wrong and the officials of the Irish Board were right. I do not think it throws a slur on the English Board, because they only said it was a case of suspicion to be inquired into.
§ Mr. SANDERS
That makes the case all the stronger. Irksome, disagreeable, and costly as the twelve hours' detention may be, I do think it will have an enormous effect in restoring confidence. The English farmer undoubtedly has confidence at the present time in the officials of the English Board. The only complaint he 434 makes of them in England, and undoubtedly it may be said in Ireland also, is that their restrictions are sometimes too irksome. I have heard that complaint made, but I have never heard that the restrictions are not stringent enough. Therefore, the fact that the English farmer knows that no cattle can come to this country until they are inspected by inspectors of the English Board will do a great deal to restore confidence. I would point out to hon. Members from Ireland that it will have this further advantage to them. Supposing any disease does come, then they can say quite clearly "that is the fault of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. It is not our fault in any way. He had his inspectors there, and if any disease creeps by, it is the fault of the English Board, and not the fault of the Irish farmer, or the Irish Board." I cannot help saying that, as far as I have been able to learn, the policy of the right hon. Gentleman has been firmly backed up by the agricultural body. There has been no party feeling about the matter, but there has been the general feeling that we owe him a debt of gratitude for the manner in which he has performed a very difficult task.
§ Mr. P. WHITE
In his opening remarks the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture asked the House not to place any stigma upon his Department. I think that whatever the House is inclined to do the Irish people will preserve his Department free from English control and influence in order that it may in future as it did this year prevent the country from being held up for a longer period on account of a wrong diagnosis by the English Department. The Irish people as a whole never complained of any restrictions imposed by him as being too severe. We invited the severest and most vigorous restrictions that his Department can put on or that the English Department put on in England. But we do object to this that the restrictions with regard to area in Ireland are greater than in England. If a fifteen miles radius from an infected centre is considered sufficient in England the same radius ought to be considered sufficient in Ireland and there should not be four counties scheduled as was done this year in Ireland. One of the hon. Members from Ulster above the Gangway referred to the resolution passed by the Meath Farmers' Association and the Meath County Council this year. I am deputed by both those bodies to press for the acceptance of 435 that resolution. That is that a committee of independent Members of this House or agriculturists from outside the House should be appointed to inquire into the origin of the disease in Ireland and into the best methods of preventing its recurrence, and for laying down general regulations for the future transit of cattle between the two countries. It is not an unreasonable demand. When there was an outbreak in this country in the year 1911 an inquiry was asked for and granted. Why should not a similar inquiry be granted in regard to Ireland?
The cattle trade was held up for six months last year in Ireland. Farmers who had cattle could not cash them and could not meet their bankers' demand. Are we to enter upon this year with the same uncertainty with regard to the main industry of the country? It is unfair to ask us to do so. An inquiry such as I have suggested would educate Members of this House who stood up here to-day to say that the impression through England is that the Irish Department was not sufficiently vigilant. Their action should be deprecated. They make these innuendoes here, and when they are called upon to give one specific case they cannot do it, and an impression goes abroad upon their unfounded statements which does a lot of harm. The right hon. Member for Leith (Mr. Munro-Ferguson) said that twenty-nine years ago he was in Ireland, and on that occasion saw cattle infected with foot-and-mouth disease shipped at Kingstown for England. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that cattle have never been exported from Kingstown? Yet it is upon such unfounded statements as these that the reputation of Ireland is to he badly flavoured in this House. The hon. Member for Wilton (Mr. Bathurst) has put snore questions to Ministers in regard to this subject, thus creating a wrong impression in this country, than any other Member of this Assembly. I submit that it is only by complete and frank inquiry that these bad impressions can be removed. Mention has been made of Deptford, and the accommodation it affords for the cattle trade. I am aware that there is a large amount of accommodation at Deptford for Irish cattle, but the transit of Irish cattle from Dublin to Deptford, with twelve hours' detention at Holyhead made compulsory, is impossible. The only route from Dublin to Deptford is viâ Holyhead and thence 436 to Deptford; there is no other feasible route. It was tried this year to ship cattle from Dublin to Deptford, and I was a party to the attempt. There was only one boat available at Dublin, and it made three trips. The sea trip from Dublin to Deptford is forty-eight hours, and it sometimes extends to fifty-four hours, and if their be delay in the river by fog as an occasion arises, twelve hours may be added to the passage. There are no boats suitable for the trade in Dublin, so that it is impossible to get Irish cattle carried from that port to Deptford by sea. Besides, the charge made is 30s. per head, which is prohibitive. The lairage charge last summer was 4s. a day, apart from light and water. If twelve hours detention be made compulsory when the cattle are landed at Holyhead it will render the use of Deptford impossible, whereas, if there were no such delay, the cattle could be taken right through from Holyhead to Deptford. I come to a more important matter; I ask the right hon. Gentleman to put before himself the great loss which has been inflicted upon the Irish cattle trade during the past year. Millions of money have been lost to the Irish people.
§ Mr. J. M. HENDERSON
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put"; but the Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Maclean) withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Mr. PATRICK WHITE
The hon. Gentleman should not be so impatient on a matter which is vital to Ireland.
§ Mr. P. WHITE
I now ask the right hon. Gentleman what is his authority for the action he took this year. I take it that the Act of 1894 was a Consolidating Act, and gave him no new power, so that he was driven back on the Acts of 1878 and 1884 as the charter on which to issue any orders with regard to Ireland. The Act of 1884 refers to foreign cattle, and the Act of 1878 is the only charter the right hon. Gentleman has for issuing quarantine regulations with regard to Ireland, and for shutting out the whole of the cattle of Ireland because of an isolated case. I assert that that Act gives him no such power for the instructions and Orders which emanated from Whitehall last year, and that they were issued without legal authority, and were entitled to no 437 respect. The Act of 1878, which the right hon. Gentleman admits is his only authority, was introduced by a Tory Government in the House of Lords. Hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway will accept the authority of the late Lord Salisbury, who in referring to this Act said: There was no occasion to take precautions against Ireland. She could only be placed in this Bill as part of the United Kingdom, not as tantamount to some foreign country. The Bill came down to this House, and definition of the word foreign was that it denotes a country out of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and, applied to animals and things, means brought to the United Kingdom. I ask was it the intention of the promoters of the Act that it should be used in the way in which the right hon. Gentleman has used it this year? Not only did they never intend that it should be so used, but they stated absolutely and definitely it could not be used in that way. The hon. Gentleman tried to make capital out of the fact that I was against the quarantine. Yes, but the whole Irish party were against it, and went on a deputation to the President of the Board. In 1878 the Minister who introduced the Act made the statement that—With regard to Ireland the Bill placed the sister country in exactly the same position as England itself, and he believed that farmers in Ireland, supposing that severe restrictions against the introduction of disease were necessary, would admit that this provision was justified. The opposition to the Bill came really from certain importers of foreign animals.Sir Michael Hicks Beach stated thatthe Bill proposed, in the first place, to consolidate the law in England, Scotland and Ireland, relating to the contagious diseases of animals, which in itself was no light work. This meant a consolidation of eight Irish and two British Acts.So that it consolidated the Acts up to that date, and we may take it as the authoritative Act. Immediately before the Bill was introduced there was appointed a Committee of Enquiry, consisting of twenty-five Members. There were five Irish Members of this House on the Committee, and at that time the representation of Ireland was chiefly in the hands of the landlords. The five Irish Members of the Committee voted in favour of the Bill. Why? I will quote the words of a then Member of this House, Mr. Charley:—That Committee was composed of twenty-seven Members. Five of these were Irish Members, ten represented English and Scotch counties, two represented small English boroughs, and ten represented large boroughs. First, the five Irish Members voted unanimously in favour of a compulsory slaughter of foreign cattle at the outports. What motive induced them to do so? … The Irish Members voted in favour of 438 this proposition for the most prosaic of all reasons—because they thought it would enhance the price of Irish cattle £5 10s. per head. On that occasion Ireland was not treated as a foreign country, but if she had been these hon. Gentlemen would have opposed it.An hon. Member who represented the landlord party in this House, Mr. Kavanagh, Member for Carlow, stated thathe liked the Bill because it adopted the principle of dealing with England and Ireland in the same way. It was for the interest of Ireland as well as of England that this Bill should become law, and that its provisions should be uniformly carried into effect throughout the Kingdom. He hoped, therefore, that the Government would not shut their ears to all the suggestions which hon. Members might make with a view to the improvement of the measure.The then leader of the Opposition made this statement:—These gentlemen (the Irish Members) said that there was too much restriction in the Bill already, and that if the Government attempted to introduce any more they would have nothing to do with it. In his opinion if anything were done to make the Bill more efficient in respect to restrictions. the Secretary to the Treasury would have a good deal of trouble with the Irish. Members. Did anyone representing English agriculture maintain that Irish cattle were less infected than Spanish? If not why did they not apply the same rules to cattle coming from Ireland, and say that they must be stopped at Liverpool? Simply because they dare not make such a proposal.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Mr. Maclean)
I think the hon. Member is going rather into ancient history. In dealing with a Supplementary Estimate of this kind we have to confine ourselves to the specific object with which it deals.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Is not the hon. Member entitled to show that the action of the Minister and of the Department, whose salaries we are criticising, has been illegal? His argument is that Ireland has been caused a loss of several millions of money by an illegal act. Is that out of order?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I thought the hon. Member was going into ancient history, and that his remarks were not in order on this Supplementary Estimate.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Is not the hon. Gentleman entitled to show by the exposition of the Statute, by those who passed it, by Lord Salisbury and Sir W. Harcourt, that certain action is illegal? That is his suggestion.
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
On a point of Order. If you grant this to be in order in accordance with the wishes of the hon. and learned Gentleman, will it be open to this Committee to discuss every Statute that constituted the Board of Agriculture?
§ Mr. P. WHITE
I only raise this matter because I think the right hon. Gentleman has acted illegally: that the only power he had to act was under this Statute. I am quoting it simply to show that.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member, I am sure, will not wish to pursue the matter that I have ruled out of Order.
§ Mr. P. WHITE
No, but I think the right hon. Gentleman has acted illegally, and I will only give one quotation to prove it. Mr. Assheton - Cross, speaking in his absence, on behalf of the Leader of the House, said:—The hon. and learned Member for the City of Oxford (L. W. Harcourt) for his part seemed to fall into a misapprehension with regard to Ireland. His remarks seemed to have been prompted by his disappointment at finding so many Irish Members in favour of the Second Reading, and he was now trying to prevent them supporting the Motion to go into Committee, by warning them that the Bill contained regulations prejudicial to Ireland. Surely for the purposes of this Bill, the United Kingdom might be treated as the country? Why should Ireland mid Scotland be treated differently any more than that one country should be treated differently from another?That was the doctrine laid down by the men who passed the Bill. Does the right hon. Gentleman mean to tell me that this House ever would have given him a Bill to be used with the powers that he himself has exercised? Does he think for a moment that if he came to this House and asked for powers which meant the practical ruin of the Irish cattle trade, that ever such a Bill would have been granted? Does he imagine that even if he had asked for such extraordinary powers as he has used this year, he would have ever had a chance of getting such a Bill? There is nothing in the Bill from beginning to end authorising or giving power to any Minister in England to put the Irish cattle trade into quarantine. There is not a single Clause in it to enable them to shift the cattle from a nonscheduled district in Ireland! The Bill was passed upon the understanding that the two countries should be treated as one. The right hon. Gentleman adheres to his ignoring of that, and has set up a court of 440 his own, from which he issues ukases in relation to this matter. I tell him that he has acted in an illegal manner, without legal statute or sanction, and has ruined the Irish cattle trade.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
Hitherto this question has been discussed as if it was merely an Irish question, and as if only Irish Members were interested in the subject. I should like to point out that although there are certain constituencies represented in this House where cattle are bred, there are many more constituencies in which cattle are eaten. As my constituency eat these cattle they are interested in getting their staple food as cheaply as possible. I am really thankful we have still a united Parliament, in order that we may have on this occasion the voice of the Irish representatives raised in favour of Free Trade. It is almost a piece of poetic justice that the Irish Members who have been the opponents of the importation of Canadian cattle are now supporting the cheapest possible food for the British consuming public. I congratulate the President of the Board of Agriculture upon the attitude he has maintained upon this matter. No one knows better than I do the pressure that can be brought to bear upon the President of the English Board by hon. Members who represent agricultural land in this Parliament. They have behind them not only all the forces of the Conservative party, but all the traditions of the Board of Agriculture. When a deputation comes to the Board led by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Chaplin) and the Duke of Devonshire, and half a dozen big landlords, asking that an enormous competitor—the Irish cattle trade—should be shut out from the English market, I am thankful to find that, in spite of the pressure, the right hon. Gentleman has kept my Constituency from being subjected to a greater tax than about three shillings per head of the Irish cattle, or about 1 per cent. on the meat imported from Ireland. Hon. Members on the Unionist benches opposite ask for 5 per cent or 10 per cent. I am satisfied that those hon. Members demand the exclusion of Irish cattle not because of the fear of infection but because they desire to secure their herds against outside competitors. We know they want a tax, but there are many other ways of securing the same results such as special advantages for English agriculture against competition. I am thankful that the Irish Members should 441 not demand any more protection than is possible, because they have a vested interest in selling their stock to us.
There is one other point in the Supplementary Estimates to which I desire to call attention, and that is the sum of £7,500 spent by the Board of Agriculture in encouraging agricultural co-operation. I think it is about time that those people who represent the boroughs in this country and who submit to a tax for the benefit of agriculture, should have a word to say about these doles to landlords that are continually passed in these Supplementary Estimates. This is not a case of a single tax. It is a case of the landlords opening their mouths and a Liberal Government taxing my Constituency in order to feed them. This £7,500 is spent in order to encourage tenant farmers to combine together to get their goods more cheaply to market. I suggest that until you give your tenant farmers security of tenure and secure to them the advantages of co-operation and see that the landlords are not able to take it out of them in increased rent, this expenditure on agricultural co-operation is so much money thrown away. I say to the Board of Agriculture: "Spend your £7,500 on co-operation, but spend it in Ireland where the small farmer will get the benefit of it, and spend it in Scotland where they have security of tenure. Do not spend it in England where every penny you spend in this way on the farmer will be taken by the landlord and spent in Monte Carlo or elsewhere." The sum of £7,500 is being spent on teaching the farmer to produce his goods more cheaply for the benefit of the landlords, and this is only a sample of what is going on and increasing in this country year by year. It is easy to press the Board of Agriculture to give these grants, but I ask the right hon. Gentleman to see that money is not wasted in this way. Until we obtain for the tenant farmers of this country and the small holders of Scotland and Ireland a security of tenure that means that those who work on the land shall get the benefit of what they produce and make sure that it no longer goes into the pockets of the landlords this form of expenditure should not be undertaken.
§ Mr. CRUMLEY
May I point out to the right hon. Gentleman that there has been no report of any case of infection amongst pigs in the three Provinces of Ireland where there is a large business done in 442 shipping them alive into England. Nevertheless they have been put down in the same category as store cattle, and they have to be detained for twelve hours. In Dublin for the last fortnight there have been a large number detained. If the right hon. Gentleman had withdrawn the twelve hours' detention against fat cattle and fat pigs it would have enabled the L. and N.W. Railway Company at Holyhead to have received a larger number of cattle than they are able to receive at the present time. There is no necessity for detaining fat cattle or fat pigs because they are on the way to be slaughtered. I thought the right hon. Gentleman would have been pleased when he heard the Vice-President of the Board of Agriculture explain the Report of Professor Mettam. I have great respect for the President of the Veterinary Department as an authority on foot-and-mouth distemper. I came to the conclusion, and if I had known about the Report of Professor Mettam, issued with regard to these heads that went under such an ordeal to find out what actually was the disease, I should have been confirmed in my conclusion that it was not foot-and-mouth disease; and I think if Professor Mettam had been called in to diagnose every case represented as foot-and-mouth disease, we should have heard very little of the distemper in Ireland. Thirty years ago I was quite conversant with foot-and-mouth distemper and quite accustomed to seeing it. During the past year there have only been two or three cases where the disease has first appeared on the foot. In 1884 the disease always appeared first on the foot. When it was reported that the disease had broken out in South Fermanagh, I, as representing the constituency, asked the veterinary surgeon in charge to permit me to go out with him to see whether it was foot-and-mouth disease or not. I do not like to say anything about a professional gentleman, but he knew very little about it. I was refused permission and told that the police would arrest me if I went into the field. Here are three provinces that have been free from disease of any sort, and here are small farmers engaged in rearing pigs to enable them to pay their rent, or instalments under the Land Acts, suffering severe loss. I think some encouragement should be given to people in the trade and that this embargo should be removed from fat cattle and pigs, so that they may be allowed to go freely into the market. The expense entailed by this twelve hours' 443 detention would be saved and the small farmer would at any rate be that much better off. The right hon. Gentleman seems to have made up his mind to retain the detention so far as store cattle are concerned, but I hope he will see his way to remove it with regard to fat cattle and pigs.
|Division No. 585.]||AYES.||[5.0 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Harcourt. Robert V. (Montrose)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||O'Brien, Patrick|
|A[...]den, Percy||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Hayward, Evan||O'Dowd, John|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Hazleton, Richard||O'Grady James|
|Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo)||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||O'Malley, William|
|Brady, P. J.||Hinds, John||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Hogg, David C.||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Parry, Thomas H.|
|Cawley, H. T. (Heywood)||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Jones, Leif Stratton (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Radford, G. H.|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J,||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Rea, Rt. Han. Russell (South Shields)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Joyce, Michael||Reddy, M.|
|Crumley, Patrick||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Cullinan, John||Kilbride, Denis||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardiganshire)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Lewis, John Herbert||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Delany, William||Lundon, T.||Rowlands, James|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lynch, A. A.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Doris, William||MacGhee, Richard||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Duffy, William J.||Maclean, Donald||Scott, A. MacCailum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Sheehy, David|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Esslemont, George Birnle||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Ffrerich. Peter||Meagher, Michael||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Field, William||Mechan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Millar. James Duncan||Watt, Henry Anderson|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Molloy, Michael||Webb, H.|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Mooney, J. J.||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Glanville, H. J.||Morgan, George Hay||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Morison, Hector||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Williams. Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Muldoon, John||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||Munro, R.||Young, W. (Perthshire)|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Hackett, J.||Neilson, Francis||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)||Nolan, Joseph|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Guinness, Hon. W.E. (Bury S.Edmunds)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Barrie, H. T.||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, N.E.)||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Crean, Eugene||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Colonel Chaloner and Mr. Mitchell-Thomson.|
|Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Hunt, Rowland|
|Goldsmith, Frank||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
§ Question put accordingly, "That a sum not exceeding £63,472, be granted for the said Service."444
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 132; Noes, 18.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 7; Noes, 142.
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Harcourt, Robert V (Montrose)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Alden, Percy||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Hayward, Evan||O'Dowd, John|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Hazleton, Richard||O'Grady, James|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.)||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||O'Malley, William|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Brady, P. J.||Hinds, John||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Burke, E. Haviland.||Hogg, David C.||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Parry, Thomas H.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothlan)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Cawley, H. T. (Heywood)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Hunt, Rowland||Radford, G. H.|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Clancy, John J.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Reddy, M.|
|Cotton, William Francis||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Crumley, Patrick||Joyce, Michael||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Cullinan, John||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Kilbride, Denis||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Rowlands, James|
|Dawes, J. A.||Law. Hugh A. (Donegal West)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Deiany, William||Lewis, John Herbert||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lundon, T.||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Lynch, A. A.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Doris, William||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Sheehy, David|
|Duffy, William J.||MacGhee, Richard||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Maclean, Donald||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Esslemont, George Birnle||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Farrell, James Patrick||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Ffrench, Peter||Meagher, Michael||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Field, William||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Watt,Henry Anderson|
|Fitzgibbon, John||Millar, James Duncan||Webb, H.|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Molloy, Michael||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Mooney, J. J.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Glanville, H. J.||Morgan, George Hay||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Goldsmith, Frank||Morison, Hector||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Goldstone, Frank||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Wood. Rt. Han. T. M'Kinnon (Glas.)|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Muldoon, John||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Munro, R.||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Neilson, Francis||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Hackett, J.||Nolan, Joseph|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)|
|Division No. 587.]||AYES.||[5.20 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Fitzgibbon, John|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Crumley, Patrick||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Alden, Percy||Cullinan, John||Gladstone, W. G. C.|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Glanville, H. J.|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardiganshire)||Goldsmith, Frank|
|Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, S. Geo.)||Dawes, J. A.||Goldstone, Frank|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Delany, William||Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)|
|Brady, P. J.||Denman, Hen. R. D.||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Donelan, Captain A.||Griffith, Ellis Jones|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Doris, William||Guinness, Hon. W.E. (Bury S.Edmunds)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Duffy, William J.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)|
|Cawley, H. T. (Heywood)||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Hackett, J.|
|Chaloner, Col. R. G. W.||Edwards. Sir Francis (Radnor)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Esslemont, George Blrnie||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Farrell, James Patrick||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Ffrench, Peter||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Cotton, William||Francis Field, William||Hayward, Evan|
§ Original Question put.
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 141; Noes, 6.
|Hazleton, Richard||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Reddy, M.|
|Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Meagher, Michael||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Millar, James Duncan||Roberts, Charles H. Lincoln)|
|Hinds, John||Molloy, Michael||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Hogg, David C.||Morgan, George Hay||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||Morison, Hector||Rowlands, James|
|Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Runclman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Muldoon, John||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Munro, R.||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Hunt, Rowland||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Neilson, Francis||Sheehy, David|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Nolan, Joseph||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Smyth, Thomas F.(Leitrim)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||O'Doherty, Philip||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Dowd, John||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||O'Grady, James||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Kilbride. Denis||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Watt, Henry Anderson|
|Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||O'Malley, William||Webb, H.|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||White, J. Dundas (Glas., Tradeston)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||O'Sullivan, Timothy||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|London, T.||Outhwaite, R. L.||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Lynch, A. A.||Parry, Thomas H.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|McGhee, Richard||Price. C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Yate, Colonel, C. E.|
|Maclean, Donald||Pringle, William M. R.||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Radford, G. H.|
|MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Rea. Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Barrie, H. T.||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Maurice Healy and Mr. Crean.|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, N.E.);||Walsh, J. (Cork, South)|