§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £10, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 1439 on the 31st day of March, 1914, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of Agriculture and other Industries and Technical Instruction for Ireland, and of the services administered by that Department."
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Mr. T. W. RUSSELL (Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture, Ireland)
I think it is only courteous to the Committee, that I should at the commencement, in order to enable hon. Members who follow to take part in this Debate, make a short statement covering all the facts. First, as regards the amount of the Vote; the amount is the nominal sum of £10, but of course that is merely a nominal sum. The total sum required is £8,000, but the Department has been able to save upon the Grant received from the Treasury a large sum in respect of bovine tuberculosis. Then, as regards policy; by the rules of the Committee we are wholly precluded from touching upon questions of policy. That is not allowable on a Supplementary Estimate, and even if it were allowable the absence of my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Agriculture (Mr. Runciman) would be a sufficient reason for avoiding the question of policy, and also avoiding all questions relating to England, so far as it is possible to do so. I will now give a succinct narrative of what has happened, and will comment upon that narrative as I proceed. From the 7th of November, 1912, when the last of the outbreaks of that year occurred, Ireland remained unvisited by the disease until the end of January of the present year, when the Department was summoned late at night to deal with an outbreak which was said to have occurred at Naas, in the county of Kildare. The chief officer of the Department proceeded to Naas. He confirmed the existence of the disease on a farm owned by John Carroll, the actual site of the outbreak being in the centre of the town. Steps were at once taken to deal with the matter. The farm was isolated at night, and police were brought into action in the two counties of Kildare and Wicklow to prevent the movement of live stock next morning. The Order could not be issued that night, to be effective, as it was too late, but by eight o'clock next morning the police of the three counties, Kildare, Wicklow, and Dublin, were notified that all movement was prohibited and they proceeded at once to execute and 1440 enforce the Order. Two days afterwards an outbreak nine miles distant from Naas, at Ballysax, was also reported. The first outbreak was confined to cattle and to milch cows, and the second extended to swine. It is a curious thing that the outbreak at Ballysax was in the same place as the outbreak of 1912–13, and on the same spot. From that day to this nothing has been heard of the disease in the county Kildare; it has been effectively stamped out, and I have been able to-day to lessen the area of prohibition and to reduce the circle from fifteen miles to nine miles, and if the same progress continues, I hope to be able to clear Kildare altogether of any difficulty in the matter. These are the facts concerning the outbreak in Kildare.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
The end of January. I would like to mention another fact connected with this disease in Kildare. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Agriculture in England, on learning of the outbreak at once closed the English ports, and he did more. He authorised his inspectors to proceed on a mission to endeavour to find out the cattle that had crossed from Dublin to Birkenhead for a week or ten days before the outbreak had occurred. He informs me that all these cattle have been traced and that no disease has been found.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
Wallassey was certainly the first, and I think that there was a second. On 31st January, the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries made an Order prohibiting the movement out of the Irish landing places of animals landing thereat, and animals landing were to be slaughtered within four days within the landing place, and he prohibited the landing of any animals whatever from the port of Dublin. Owing to the contiguity of the port of Dublin to Kildare all movements were prohibited, and animals were not allowed to land from Dublin either for slaughter or for any other purpose. On the same day the Department, with a view to further safeguard against the spread of infection, made an Order regulating the movement of hay and straw and oats within an area of five miles around the infected places. On the following day an extension of the disease 1441 was confirmed at Ballysax, and the same steps were taken there. By the 3rd of February all the stock on the infected farms at Naas and Ballysax had been slaughtered, and between the 4th and the 6th or 7th all the animals who were known or suspected to have been in contact with the animals at Naas were slaughtered. None of these animals were found to be infected. In the Ballysax case there were no in-contacts. Here is the bill of costs for that operation, giving the number and kind of animals slaughtered and the amount paid as compensation, for which this Vote is necessary: There were slaughtered at Naas 65 cattle, 132 sheep, 13 swine, and one goat, and the compensation amounted to £1,400. At Ballysax there were slaughtered 37 cattle, 44 sheep, 18 swine, and compensation amounting to £685 12s. was paid. The total amount of compensation between the two places was £2,085 12s. That finishes what I have to say about Kildare. I do not think, and certainly my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Agriculture does not think, that anything was left undone to stamp out the disease, and he has stated so. There has been constant daily communication between the two Boards, and I do not think that anyone, either in Ireland or out of it, has anything to say regarding the steps taken by the Department in stamping out the disease.
I come now to a much more interesting question, that is in reference to the animals landed at Birkenhead. At this point we Were informed, very much to our surprise, by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries that foot-and-mouth disease had broken out at Birkenhead landing stage. We at once sent an Inspector to be present, and telegrams continued to arrive for over five or six days, giving the results of examinations made. In all fourteen cargoes from different Irish ports were declared to be infected, and the Inspector of the Department of Agriculture in Ireland agreed in the diagnosis of the disease. It was a very astonishing thing for us. I would like to tell the Committee now just exactly what the Department did in view of these alarming facts. From the 7th to the 15th instant inclusive, twenty-six cargoes of live stock, comprising 2,966 cattle, 1,594 sheep, and 2,146 swine, were shipped from the various Irish ports to Birkenhead. According to the statement from the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries the disease among the animals in the fourteen cargoes at Birken- 1442 head was confined to cattle and swine; sheep were not affected at all. Here is a matter of great importance both to Irish and British Members. During the same period, that is to say, from the 7th to the 15th of the present month, twenty-eight vessels landed from Ireland 1,316 cattle, 343 sheep, and 440 swine at the remaining six British ports. It is remarkable that at no other landing place except Birkenhead was any disease of the kind discovered. Notwithstanding that, Birkenhead cargoes were drawn from almost every port of Ireland. That is a very remarkable fact, and in any inquiry that is about to take place, that fact must be taken into account, and must bulk largely in my opinion. We have the disease at Birkenhead in fourteen cargoes; we have no disease at the other six ports of Great Britain, though the animals came from the same ports as the animals which came to Birkenhead. All the animals shipped from Ireland were carefully examined, and the examination included the mouth: that is to say, the examination of an animal in Ireland now is not a mere perfunctory thing. It is not a look at the animal passing alone. Every head of cattle, every pig and every sheep, has its mouth opened, which is a very difficult operation in many cases, and the animal is strictly examined on the Irish side. In regard to Birkenhead, the animals were inspected as they left the vessel, and were afterwards kept under close observation, without anything in the form of foot-and-mouth disease at all being discovered for forty-eight hours subsequently. We know that the period of incubation is much less. The time was too short in any circumstances to allow of the animals becoming infected at Birkenhead. In the case of at least three consignments in which disease was discovered at Birkenhead there remains the curious fact that among the animals which had been in contact no symptom of the disease was discovered. In a number of other instances where animals had been located in Ireland and had been in contact, notwithstanding the most careful inspection, no disease whatever has been found.
I wish to refer to one fact of enormous interest, namely, that in these ten days our inspectors examined 37,000 animals in different parts of Ireland. Their examination was of a most critical and close character, and in not a single instance did they find any animal affected with disease of any kind. These were the animals which had been in contact on the farms.
1443 There has been no case of foot-and-mouth disease since the Ballysax outbreak of January, and all cattle have been slaughtered in connection with the Kildare outbreak. The heads of both the English and Irish Departments are to meet this week to make a searching and critical examination into the state of matters. I have no business to say anything in regard to the subject of that inquiry, more especially in relation to British officials, but I think the whole question of what kind of cattle have been landed at Birkenhead for some time back requires attention.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman does not quite act up to the maxim he laid down at the beginning of his observations, that he would not enter upon questions of policy.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I am quite aware of the difficulty, and I will not pursue that part of the subject. It is necessary, however, that the inquiry should include the question of the Birkenhead landing-stage; but my business is not to convict Birkenhead, it is to clear Ireland.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I have stopped it in Ireland; let him stop it in England. There is no trace of disease in Ireland at the present moment. Let me deal with one or two other points. Take the case mentioned at Question Time. There have been five or six outbreaks in which Irish cattle have been involved—I am endeavouring to keep very close to the line—but there have been five outbreaks in Great Britain during the last four or five months. There were two cases in the South of England of imported Irish cattle on a farm. An inquiry was instituted, and it was found that no cattle had. been moved since August, so that if the Irish cattle had been there they could not have been imported. I wish to impress the Committee with the fact that the real circumstances did not come out in answer to the question put to my hon. Friend last night. Those cattle left Ireland on the 30th January, and they had eight or nine days at Birkenhead. The disease was discovered on Saturday, so that twenty-one days had elapsed from their leaving Dublin—a period which has never been heard of in the history of the disease for incubation. The hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London said it was my business to put disease down in Ireland; I 1444 accept the responsibility. We took a very strong step indeed at Dundalk. Six butchers left Birkenhead for Dundalk, where they were inspected, though the facilities for inspection at that place are not so great as they are at Dublin. In Dublin the corporation have the means of dealing with cases of this kind, and they undertake the work at the request of the Department. Forty-one butchers went to that place from Birkenhead, and they were thoroughly disinfected. The corporation have all the necessary resources for that purpose, and the work is thoroughly and efficiently done.
In the case of the six butchers who landed at Dundalk, they were all inspected and their clothes thoroughly disinfected, but on opening their bags it was found that the implements of their butchering trade were covered with blood and hair, and, never touched, they had been brought to Ireland in that condition. I took a lesson from another part of the world, and I sent those men back to Birkenhead—deported them—and I know if I were brought before a jury in regard to my action what the result would be. We returned those six men to Birkenhead, and I submit that they had no right to be sent to Dundalk with their implements in that condition. Let me deal with the question of hay and straw, a very serious question indeed. We have had great difficulty in Kildare in that matter. The animals had been mouthing the hay and straw, and we had to get it and destroy it. It was hay and straw coming from foreign ports and from England and Scotland. I had no option but to issue an Order prohibiting the entry of hay and straw from any port outside the country. It was a very regrettable thing that one had to do, but one had no other option, if one was to save the country from an outbreak. We have done our best; we-have detached a large staff, badly wanted for other business, to trace and follow up animals throughout the country. We have examined them most carefully; their mouths and teeth have been examined; and yet after all these careful investigations we have not found a single trace of foot-and-mouth disease throughout the whole of Ireland, and those cargoes came from every part of Ireland. In face of that statement, which I make on my responsibility, it is up to us to be able to find out where the disease came from. The Order in regard to ships is perfectly clear, and we see that it is carried out by the inspectors 1445 on each side. A ship is thoroughly disinfected, and every precaution is taken in that direction. It will be the bounden duty of the two Departments to leave no stone unturned to find out where the seat of the disease lies and stamp it out.
§ Mr. KILBRIDE
I think the statement made by the right hon. Gentlemen will give every satisfaction to everybody concerned in the cattle trade of Ireland, and I think everybody interested in that trade will admit that the Department over which the right hon. Gentleman presides acted with great promptness and rapidity, and that they left no stone unturned to stamp out the disease before it had got any large hold upon the country. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that in conjunction with the English Department an endeavour will be made to ascertain what is the cause of the outbreak in Birkenhead. It is, however, of just as great interest to the people of Ireland to ascertain what was the cause of the outbreak in the middle of the town of Naas. We do not know whether the cattle had been imported from this country or not. And we are still in the dark as to what might have been the cause of the outbreak at Ballysax in 1912–whether it was caused by the use of refuse of packing stuff. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, at that time they were importing fruit direct from France, and the packing was used as bedding. Offal was used for feeding pigs by the lady who owns the farm at Ballysax. She had a great number of pigs at the time, and they were largely fed on the offal which came from the camp at Curragh. I think the right hon. Gentleman satisfied himself at the time that the only outbreak amongst pigs in Ireland was the outbreak in Ballysax, and that that outbreak was due to the fact that the bedding of the pigs was the refuse that came from goods imported from France. I should like to know from the right hon. Gentleman whether there is any indication, or whether his inquiries have led him to hold the suspicion, that the outbreak in Naas was due to the use as bedding of any of this foreign packing stuff, and how it comes into the country?
§ Mr. KILBRIDE
Either the Curragh or any other part of the country. I think the right hon. Gentleman was satisfied that the Ballysax outbreak was due to the use as bedding of the packing stuff in the boxes that came from France. Some time 1446 ago I asked the right hon. Gentleman whether representations had been made to him by large stock owners in Ireland, and, as well, by people holding very high Government positions, as to whether he thought it advisable to offer a monetary reward in order to discover the origin and the cause of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman, in replying, said that he never harboured those suspicions, and that he did not intend to do so. The right hon. Gentleman is aware that those suspicions are held very largely in Ireland. He knows that one of the best known men engaged in the handling of cattle in Ireland holds those suspicions. He knows that a very prominent Government official, a large stockowner himself, also holds those suspicions, and I think I am not going too far when I say that the Royal Dublin Society holds those suspicions, and the suspicion is that foot-and-mouth disease has been planted in Ireland maliciously, and that it has been planted maliciously by interested persons. We all know who the interested persons are.
§ Mr. KILBRIDE
I will tell you in a minute. For about six months all the beef that comes from Ireland probably is not in many instances so completely finished as a good deal of the meat in this country. It comes into competition not with the real high-class beef produced in England, but comes into competition with the second-class beef produced here, and comes into direct competition with the foreign beef landed in this country. It is easy for the hon. Gentleman to know who the interested parties are. The interested parties in this instance are those who import largely foreign beef, and with whom we come into competition, and it is held by the largest men in the cattle trade, by the largest stock owners in Ireland, and by the Royal Dublin Society, and not by small farmers, but by people of responsibility in Ireland, people who do not talk lightly of matters of this kind, that foot-and-mouth disease has been planted in Ireland purely in the trade interest of those with whom we compete—
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is going into a wider matter than is proper to a Supplementary Estimate. The matter is one which might have been raised on the main Vote for the Department of Agriculture, but it is rather a wide question for a Supplementary Estimate.
§ Mr. KILBRIDE
As there is going to be an inquiry into the cause and origin of the outbreak in Birkenhead, perhaps on a future occasion, if that inquiry does not elucidate the matter, we will put some further qestions to the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the numbers of pigs that have been detained in Ireland and that had not been shipped, although in the same consignment for Birkenhead, for want of room, and that those pigs so detained have all been found free of disease. In mentioning that matter he forgot to tell the House that amongst those pigs was one in Waterford which had not been shipped, not because of want of room, but because it was so exhausted, through having come from Roscommon, and by Athenry, and by having been driven from the fair to the railway station, by the journey, and, again, by having been driven from the train to the lairages at Waterford. As everybody knows, if there is foot-and-mouth disease about at all, it is an animal such as that exhausted pig in Waterford that would be most susceptible, and if the disease were about in Waterford, in Roscommon, or in Athenry, where those pigs were bought, or in almost any part of the air of Ireland, that exhausted pig that had to be kept back would have undoubtedly contracted the disease. I had a letter to-day to say that although that pig is still under observation in Waterford, it is in a healthy condition. I was glad to find from the right hon. Gentleman that he has made it quite clear that in the case of the outbreak reported yesterday or to-day from Worcestershire those cattle had been detained for several days in Birkenhead before they went to Worcestershire, and that they were there for several days before there was any outbreak, and that an interval of twenty-one days elapsed between the time they left Dublin and the date on which the outbreak was discovered in Worcestershire. That clearly proves that when those animals left Dublin they were in a sound and healthy condition.
All I have further to say is that, as far as I know, all those ensaged in, or interested in, the Irish cattle trade are very much indebted for the promptness and decision of the right hon. Gentleman and his Department in the action they took in stamping out the disease. Everybody will admit that in dealing with this disease there are only two policies, either the policy of stamping it out or the policy of doing nothing and allowing every beast 1448 in the country to become infected, and to let it work itself out by process of exhaustion. The latter is not the policy that is adopted in this country, and that is not the policy that is adopted by the Department in Ireland, and it is a policy that undoubtedly does not appeal to me, and I do not believe it appeals to any intelligent man, either in the cattle trade or in the stock-raising business. I hope that after a short time the right hon. Gentleman will find himself able, as he indicated to-day, to reduce the restricted area in South Kildare. He has already reduced that area from fifteen miles to nine, and I hope he will be able to reduce it further, because I may point out to him that there is no area in Ireland of the same extent that produces the same amount of beef during the six winter months of the year as South Kildare does. It is a purely agricultural district, and the beef produced there is house-fed. At this time of the year the farmers in that district are hardly hit by these restrictions. I am not going to press the right hon. Gentleman to do anything that would jeopardise the safety of the health of the herds and flocks in Ireland, but I hope, now that such a lenghty time has elapsed since the outbreak at Ballysax, and with no indication whatever of any trace of disease either in South Kildare or any other part of Ireland for more than three weeks, that he will see his way to reduce still further the area, if he does not, indeed, find himself able to do away altogether with any restriction in that part of the country, and that in a very short time will be able to tell us that all restrictions are removed.
§ Sir COURTENAY WARNER
I do not intend to trespass on your ruling by touching the question of the English Board of Agriculture in any way. The right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President of the Department in Ireland told us that in Ireland he has carried out such strict regulations that practically the disease has been stamped out there. He also told us that he had control of the vessels in which the animals were shipped, and that very careful inspection had been made of those vessels. If the disease did not break out in Ireland and did not start from Ireland, it must have either started on board the vessels or at Birkenhead. Only one point remains as to the vessels, since they have been thoroughly inspected, and that is, the food given to the cattle on board those vessels. The right hon. Gentleman told 1449 us that he has prohibited the importation of foreign foodstuffs into Ireland.
§ Sir COURTENAY WARNER
My point is that the disease may have come on board those vessels from improper food in the shape of foreign hay or straw. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will remember this point, and go into it for the sake of clearing his Department of any responsibility for the outbreak. It seems rather a small question, but it might be the origin of this very serious outbreak.
§ Mr. PATRICK WHITE
I desire to say a few words in criticism of the action and administration of the Board of Agriculture with regard to Ireland, With regard to its work in Ireland in stamping out foot-and-mouth disease, I have nothing whatever except words of praise. The right hon. Gentleman administered the law severely, but, in my opinion, it could not be administered too severely. I would like to ask him with regard to the disease of scab in sheep. Several cases have been detected on this side of the channel, and that has been used as an argument by the President of the Board of Agriculture and his officials here in detaining cattle shipped from Ireland. I desire to know, has the right hon. Gentleman the President of the English Board of Agriculture power to enforce the Detention Order? If he has not, then he should seek for the Parliamentary powers. With regard to the action of the Vice-President and that of the nominal head of the Department, the Chief Secretary, I must say their actions have been deplorably weak in connection with this question of the transit of cattle. I am glad the Chief Secretary is here. I consider he is primarily responsible. He is a Cabinet Minister, equal in rank to the President of the English Board of Agriculture, and it is very unfair to blame the Vice-President for what the President ought to look after. There has been no law passed in this House since the year 1878 dealing with the transit of cattle between Great Britain and Ireland, and in those days—
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member must observe the purpose for which this money is asked. It is solely to deal with the recent outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland. The wider debate must be reserved until we come to the main Vote of the Department later on.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Certainly not, unless it is in regard to the specific instances for which this money is asked, and the way in which this money has been spent. The hon. Member cannot make a general criticism of the policy of the Board. That must be done on another occasion, when the Estimates for the year are before us.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Only if it arises specifically out of the recent events for which this money is required. So far as the hon. Member has gone, his criticism is clearly not within those limits.
§ Mr. WHITE
In my opinion it does arise out of the recent events, because the ports of England are closed against Irish cattle, and those ports are closed in consequence of right hon. Gentlemen opposite not taking full advantage of the powers at their disposal. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite are guilty of grave dereliction of duty in allowing English ports to be closed against Irish cattle recently. They are the custodians of the cattle trade between Ireland and Great Britain, and it is their duty to see that Irish cattle have fair play. In my opinion, it was their duty, having regard to recent events, to see that the President of the English Board did not exceed his powers. I will quote the opinion of an eminent legal gentleman in Ireland, whose name will command respect in every quarter of the House. I refer to Serjeant Matheson. The question was submitted to him whether, having regard to recent events, the Board of Agriculture in England acted legally or illegally, and his opinion was as follows:—Sub-sections (17) and (37) are the portions of the Act relied on as justifying the Orders of the Board prohibiting the landing of Irish cattle, and as these Sub-sections do not, in my opinion, support that contention, and there is no other provision of the Act which can be relied on as giving power to make the prohibiting Orders, I am of opinion that the Order of the 28th June, 1912, and all subsequent Orders prohibiting the landing of cattle from Ireland, were ultra vires and void—save as regards animals coming from a port in Ireland which was within an area which had been declared to be an infected or prescribed area by the Irish Board.1451 That is the opinion of an eminent Irish lawyer. But, lest it should not have sufficient weight with English Members, I will confirm it by reading—
§ The CHAIRMAN
That, again, is travelling outside the scope of the Vote now before the Committee. We must confine ourselves simply to the cause of the expenditure of this £8,000. The hon. Member is dealing with a question which, first of all, affects the English rather than the Irish Boards; and which, secondly, is in any case a matter for the main Estimates, and not for a Supplementary Estimate.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member is dealing with the policy of stamping out disease in Ireland. That is quite a proper matter to discuss when the main Vote comes up, but this is not the occasion.
§ Mr. C. BATHURST
This Debate must demonstrate how exceedingly difficult it is to deal with these serious contagious diseases of animals in Ireland and Great Britain respectively in the absence of a unified administration for that purpose. It must also demonstrate how exceedingly difficult it is to carry on a discussion in this House in reference to this subject, owing to the fact that although only one Department is represented two Departments are necessarily concerned in all these questions of foot-and-mouth disease, because the cattle trade is common to the two countries, and both Departments have control over the exportation or importation, as the case may be, of the animals suspected of being infected. I got into some little trouble two years ago at the hands of the right hon. Gentleman opposite and his Irish friends because I took upon myself to criticise, perhaps somewhat severely, the then administration of the Board. I think the position is totally different now. The House will remember that two years ago the right hon. Gentleman had to confess that there had been no outbreak of this disease in Ireland for over twenty-eight years—a considerably longer period than either the Irish or the English 1452 Department had been in existence. At that time, as I think the right hon. Gentleman himself must admit, there was no precise knowledge of the disease in Ireland, and a good deal had to be learnt by the officials of the Board and their veterinary experts before the disease could be properly and efficiently dealt with. That is not the case to-day. After having carefully studied the Irish administration of the Diseases of Animals Acts during the last twelve months, I am quite prepared to say that the administration of those Acts is at least as good on the other side of St. George's Channel as it is on this side.
It must appear to this House very unsatisfactory and most unedifying to find the Parliamentary heads of the two Departments at issue one with the other as to which Department is mainly responsible for the present trouble. The matter is rendered more difficult to deal with by the absence, which I am sure we all regret, of the President of the English Board owing to ill-health, because we are bound on this Vote, or on the Vote to be taken subsequently, especially in view of what the Vice-President of the Irish Department has stated, to ask for some very precise explanation from the English Board in answer to the charges—because they amount to charges—
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I have simply stated the facts. I made no charges or insinuations whatever against the English Board.
§ Mr. BATHURST
If we accept the right hon. Gentleman's statements as facts, we are entitled to make the natural deduction that the other authority as open to some criticism. Only to-day at Question Time we had a statement made by a Junior Lord of the Treasury, as representing the President of the English Board, that the somewhat alarming recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Worcestershire is traceable to two animals which came across from Ireland. The Vice-President of the Irish Department has told us that that is not a fair way of stating the case—that the animals had been to Birkenhead, which he clearly regards, I think with some reason, as the source and seat of the infection, and that the disease could not be traced to Ireland at all. It is very important, and it will be deemed very important outside the House by pur- 1453 chasers of Irish stock, that this difference of opinion should be cleared up as soon as possible. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that the two Departments are now conferring on the matter. It is very unfortunte that the House should be asked to debate this matter while the question is still sub judice as between the two Departments, and before any precise information can be given to the House by either Department. The hon. Member for South Kildare (Mr. Kilbride) expressed the hope that the existing restrictions in that county might foe removed. Whether that is or is not desirable from the Irish standpoint, I would remind my Irish Friends that, from the English standpoint, it would be not merely most inadvisable, but most detrimental to their own trade in live stock, to create any suspicion at the present moment in the minds of potential English purchasers that proper precautions are not being taken in Ireland to prevent the spread of disease. If these recent outbreaks are really traceable to Birkenhead, all I can say is that the gravity of the charge which will come eventually to be made against the head of the English Board is more serious than in any case that has come before this House during the last ten years.
I should be treading on dangerous ground if I criticised the English Department at the present time, but, if I am allowed, I shall have something to say on the subsequent Vote on this question. Whether in Ireland or in England, it is common knowledge that, in the case of all animals landing at the ports of either country, the first duty resting upon the Department of Agriculture in that country, as represented by their inspectors, is most carefully to examine all the animals, and not allow any of them, either having the appearance of disease or even suspected of being infected, to pass out of their hands and be spread about the country. If the right hon. Gentleman is right, it is clear that in this case these precautions have not been adequately taken.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
Is that quite fair to the inspectors at Birkenhead? The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that animals might leave Ireland, land at Birkenhead, and undergo close examination, and yet the disease might break out subsequently. I say that in defence of inspectors who are not hear to speak for themselves.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. BATHURST
I should be the last man to attack in this House those who 1454 are not properly represented and cannot speak for themselves; but the right hon. Gentleman must bear in mind that he has represented to the House that, in his opinion, Birkenhead, and not Ireland, is the source of these numerous outbreaks of disease. It is not as if we were confined to one case. There have been several cases, and cases, which, according to the statement of the President of the English Board, were traceable to almost every part of Ireland. Surely, if my suggestion is correct, the gravity of the offence is much greater than if a single animal, or even a cargo of animals had passed through the hands of the inspectors. I will not labour that point further. We shall have something more to say on the matter hereafter. The right hon. Gentleman has not been able to suggest to us what was the source of these original outbreaks in county Kildare, and what, in his opinion—which is a more serious matter—is the source of the outbreaks at the port of Birkenhead. This is a matter largely of speculation; but surely the time has come when the researches, not merely of the English Department, but also of the Irish Department, which, I believe, are being continuously carried on, should result in some more precise knowledge as to what is the origin of this disease. The hon. Gentleman the Member for South Kildare suggests that in this case packing material from France was the cause. If the right hon. Gentleman considers that that is a possible and likely cause of the disease—and if he thinks that, I, for my part, would be entirely in accord with him—then, surely, it is possible, and it would be wise, to prevent the importation of that kind of packing material from all countries like France, which are known to be infected, and seriously infected. It is more serious in Holland than in any other country. [An HON. MEMBEB: "Belgium!"] Belgium is almost as bad, but from Holland there comes an enormous amount of packing material in which various merchandise is packed, not only to England, but to Ireland also. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will issue an Order similar to what, I believe, has been issued in this country, advising all stock owners to burn all packing material that they may get upon their premises.
§ Mr. BATHURST
I am sure the House will be relieved to hear that those precautions have been taken. If the right hon. Gentleman can go further and prevent that material, some of it of a very filthy character, entering the country at all, it would be well. It has often been suggested in this House that the lapse of the period of incubation, which in the case of a live animal does not exceed ten days, is a sufficient indication that if the disease breaks out in any animal after the lapse of that period it cannot be traceable to any source of infection, into contact with which it may have been brought at a greater distance of time. That applies to animals; it does not apply to inanimate material. The right hon. Gentleman will know, as at any rate the British Department knows, that there is no source of infection, and there is nothing which has been suspected as a source of infection to such an extent as the hooves, hides, and other offal of animals; particularly hides, which come into this country not merely for the manfacture of leather, but also for their transference to manure factories for conversion into artificial fertilisers. Many of these articles come to Birkenhead. In those articles the disease may remain latent not for ten days, but conceivably for three or four months. May I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that it would be worth further research on the part of his Department into materials such as those indicated in which the disease may be latent, and from which it may be transferred to animals at the port of landing. The hon. Gentleman the Member for South Kildare, raised a question which has often been raised before in this House as to whether some malicious person or persons may not be introducing the disease into this country. That particular question was most carefully investigated by the Departmental Committee on Foot-and-Mouth Disease, on which my hon. Friend the Member for the St. Patrick's Division of Dublin, as well as myself, was a member, and which sat the year before last. We came to the conclusion that there was no basis whatever for such a suggestion.
I, for my part, venture to hope that if the two Departments, in view of the gravity of this question, which will always, I am afraid, be recurring in the future, cannot, so far as the contagious diseases of animals are concerned, be rolled into one and issue joint Orders—that, at any 1456 rate, they will agree upon the statements which will be presented in this House as representing the true condition of affairs in the two countries with reference to this disease. Because, otherwise, it not only is unsatisfactory for this House, but it gives rise to suspicion and alarm amongst stock breeders in the two countries. Surely the right hon. Gentleman may be able, as a result of the conference which is now taking place, to agree with the other Department upon the matter, and to speak with one voice, so that there may not be the suggestion abroad in the country that there is a conflict between the two Departments from which the stock breeders of both countries may suffer! Before the right hon. Gentleman addresses the House, may I ask him why he has taken away money which was intended to be applied for the suppression of bovine tuberculosis, and is applying it in the way suggested in his Supplementary Estimates? In England, and I presume also in Ireland, tuberculosis is not being eliminated at a very rapid rate in consequence of that Treasury Grant. If that is so, surely the Tuberculosis Order as it applies to Irish stock breeders ought to be modified, and the money available to be paid by way of compensation to them under such provisions as will encourage them to report these cases of tuberculosis to the authorities, so that the Department and the stock owners may act in accord and sympathy one with the other, and tuberculosis thereby be eradicated. The mere process of applying the money intended for this purpose to a different purpose is not likely to stamp out tuberculosis, nor afford much satisfaction to those who are being rated in the various Irish counties in order to make good the lack of sufficient funds standing to the credit of the Pleuro-Pneumonia Account.
§ Mr. FIELD
I do not propose to go over ground which has already been covered. But I regret the absence of the President of the Board of Agriculture, because I entirely agree with what has been said by the last speaker that the two Departments ought to take a mutual interest in this question. This is a question which ought to interest both sides of the House. As a matter of fact, I have communications from Members on both sides of the House. The House will agree, in view of the practical agreement that has been come to, that the fact that so few Members are in the House at present would make it 1457 appear that this is not a serious matter. It really is a most serious matter, because these Orders hold up for the time being the live-stock trade of Ireland. No less than 2,800,000 animals were imported from Ireland into England last year. This represents a volume of trade that certainly is worthy of attention on both sides of the channel. It represents an enormous amount of money; in addition it represents a large amount of food and also of raw material. I doubt if any other trade in the three Kingdoms would be so lightly interfered with under similar conditions. I doubt if an embargo would be placed on the cotton trade or any other trade representing millions of money under the same conditions. Last year we had very drastic regulations with regard to the importation of cattle from Ireland; in fact, there was a cattle boycott such as at the present time there is a Cunard boycott. It seems to be very mysterious how this disease came into Ireland, if we accept the various expert opinions in relation to how the disease comes about at all. I think last year that the disease came from the importation of packing, or foreign material. It is wished to prove that at the present time all this disease came, from Ireland. Irishmen are supposed to have double dose of original sin. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] Yes, that was once said in this House, and apparently the same thing applies to Irish cattle. What happens? In England Irish cattle are generally debited with the disease, whereas, as a matter of fact, there were, during these years, more outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in England than in Ireland—far more. You recently had one in Durham (at Gateshead), and the other day there was one in Worcestershire. With regard to the present outbreak, the position of things, and the condition of Birkenhead lairage. I asked a question on Friday. It appears in the OFFICIAL REPORT—Mr. Field asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether the recent outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease originated and were confined to the Wallasey lairs; whether inquiry has been made if foreign produce was supplied to live stock; and whether the Birkenhead lairs generally are being disinfected?Mr. Runciman: The first cases of foot-and-mouth disease in the recent outbreak at Birkenhead occurred in the Wallasey lairage, but on the following day a number of cases were discovered in the Woodside lairage. The Board hare ascertained by inquiry that at Woodside foreign hay and meal were supplied to cattle, but at Wallasey only Irish hay was supplied to cattle and English meal to swine. The whole of the landing place at Birkenhead is being thoroughly cleansed and disinfected."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th February, 1914, col. 1287.]1458 In my opinion, the root origin of this whole outbreak is the giving of foreign fodder to live stock. I had the opportunity of seeing the cattle fed with the foreign fodder, and my opinion as to this having infected them with the disease is the opinion of most people in Ireland. I do not go quite so far as my hon. Friend the Member for South Kildare, but there is a very strong feeling in Ireland at the present time that by some means or other there has been an endeavour to bring-about a state of feeling in England to the effect that Irish live stock is infected with-foot-and-mouth disease. This is doing harm to Ireland in England. As a matter of fact, I think what we have to complain of is that the disease has been imported from England into Ireland. It is adding insult to injury in the present condition of affairs. I understand that the right hon. Baronet below me, and others, in consequence of the outbreak, are getting very good prices for their cattle. Let me quote the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, which is not composed of a body of men whose interests lie exactly in the cattle trade, nor are they by any means a body of Irish agitators. The Dublin Chamber of Commerce is perhaps one of the most sensible and level-headed public bodies in Ireland, and this resolution was adopted at a special meeting of its council held on the 20th February, 1914:—That, as it is now certain that fodder imported from outside the United Kingdom has been used to feed Irish live stock, detention Iairages at Birkeuhcad, and, as it is known that this live stock certified healthy, both on embarkation and arrival at Birkenhead, were fed on the 10th February on this imported food, and developed a virulent type of foot-and-mouth disease within fortyight hours; this council demands the immediate, intervention of the Government to prevent this poisoning of Irish live stock and the consequent ruinous restrictions on the trade.That is a very strong resolution coming from the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, and, although both the Chief Secretary, who has, of course, a share of responsibility in this matter, although I dare say he knows more about the classics than he does about cattle, and the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture in Ireland have done their best in the circumstances, this resolution should appeal, not only to the Vice-President, but also to the President of the Department of the Board of Agriculture in England. The Port and Docks Board, which is also a non-political body, and of which I happen to be a member, are interested in this matter, and they passed the following resolution:—From the reports made by the officials of the English and Irish Boards of Agriculture, it is perfectly evident 1459 that as Birkenhead is the only English port affected by foot-and-mouth disease, and, in view of this, the Dublin Port and Docks Board urgently request that all other English, Scotch and Welsh ports be at once opened for the accommodation of Irish live stock and thereby minimise the very serious loss already unjustly imposed upon Irish farmers, cattle traders and business men generally.I will not read the whole report of the meeting, but the resolution was supported by several members of the Board and was carried unanimously. I have also protests from my own association, the Irish Cattle Traders' and Stock Owners' Associations, and I received a copy of a resolution from the Liverpool abattoir tenants and the wholesale meat traders' association, and that is even more important because it conies from Liverpool, from the very place in which there is this infection. It was passed on the 20th February, and sent on to me, and is as follows:—That as soon as the Birkenhead lairs are cleaned and disinfected we respectfully request the President of the Board of Agriculture and fisheries of Great Britain to cause same to be immediately opened for the reception of Irish stock for slaughter.I ask the attention of the President of the Board of Agriculture specially to this clause, and also of the Vice-President of the Department in Ireland:—That we hereby express our opinion that last week's outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease at Birkenhead originated there and not in Ireland.What stronger testimony could we have from such men than that? And I hold, under these circumstances, it is obviously the duty of the President of the Board to immediately open the ports for Irish live stock. Why do I say that? Because, as was pointed out by the Vice-President, all the rest of the Irish cattle were found to be free from the disease; because the Veterinary Department cannot find any disease in Ireland; and because the Vice-President invited the President of the Board of Agriculture in England to send him over some of his best experts to find out if that were the truth, and he refused to do so. That being so, I want the Committee to understand that the demand which I make here and now is sound, and is founded upon reason and justice, and is absolutely in the interest of the two countries. We want the Department in Ireland, if possible, to represent more strongly to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries in England to remove this embargo at once.
§ The CHAIRMAN
That is a matter for the main Estimates, and not for a Supplementary Estimate. I have already given 1460 that ruling upon two or three occasions, and perhaps the hon. Member will observe it.
§ Mr. FIELD
I would be very sorry to disobey your ruling, but I really thought I was quite within my rights because the embargo is a thing in existence which I want to challenge, and, of course, it is more or less connected with the circumstances under discussion. However, I will content myself by making one or two suggestions to the Vice-President. I understand that the disinfection of the vessels was carried out perfectly both on this side and on the other. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that he should issue Regulations as to the destruction of the packing stuffs. He has no mandatory power to do it, but I am sure if he asked through his officials, and made suggestions to everyone using packing stuffs in Ireland, it would undoubtedly be most useful. I am not going to deal with the correspondence. I hope the result of this Debate will be that we will have the co-operation of the two Departments so as to safeguard not alone the Irish cattle trade, but everyone connected with the live-stock trade in England. This is a matter not confined to Ireland. The English and Scotch feeders are as much interested as we are. Surely because Birkenhead, in peculiar circumstances, has been allowed to become the centre of infection, that is no reason why an enormous trade like the live-stock trade, which interests so many people on both sides, should be injured by having an embargo put upon the whole trade! I trust that the result of this Debate will be to show English Members, and perhaps some Irish Members who do not fully understand the question, that Ireland has performed her functions so well that this embargo may now be removed.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I do not want to follow the hon. Member into a discussion as to whether the disease was introduced from Ireland into England or from England into Ireland, but I would point out that the Irish ports were closed to English cattle, and therefore it would be difficult to introduce the disease from England to Ireland. I only rose in reference to an interruption I made while the hon. Gentleman opposite was speaking.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I do not think it would be in order to continue this discussion, and, therefore, I will not do it. I only rose in consequence of an interruption I made when the right hon. Gentleman was speaking. Perhaps I was in error, but it seemed to me that the right hon. Gentleman was more concerned to prove that there was no disease in Ireland, and that the disease occurred at Birkenhead, than to discuss whether or not we were voting this money in a manner which would enable the right hon. Gentleman to suppress the disease, which undoubtedly exists in Ireland. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] Well, I listened to the hon. Member for South Kildare, and he said in his speech only a few moments ago that the disease existed in Ireland. He said that, not only once, but later in his speech, that there was a disease in some places in Ireland. There is evidence that the disease existed up to three weeks ago in Ireland. Unless I am wrong it is nearly two years ago—a year and nine months—since the disease broke out in Ireland, and during all that time—I do not make any accusation against the right hon. Gentleman opposite or his Department—but the fact remains that, although the right hon. Gentleman told us on more occasions than one that the disease did not exist in Ireland, it broke out there again. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] Did it not break out three weeks ago there?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
But it broke out. After we were told that the disease had stopped it broke out again, and therefore in voting this sum of money we ought to have an assurance from the right hon. Gentleman that he would take strong measures to stop the disease, which undoubtedly has been in Ireland for a considerable time.
§ Mr. J. P. FARRELL
The case which the hon. Baronet has made is the sort of a case that riles us in Ireland, because he seems to think that we have indeed a double dose of original sin. No matter what occurs or what steps the Department takes, they will not satisfy the hon. Baronet. There is going on constantly a kind of fishing inquiry, an example of which we 1462 had at Question Time to-day, to try and fix upon Ireland responsibility for foot-and-mouth disease. The hon. Member for Wilton (Mr. C. Bathurst) seemed to apologise for the attitude he took up last year. The hon. Gentleman admitted he was now of opinion that the Department was doing its best.
§ Mr. BATHURST
I should like to make my position quite clear. I said eighteen months ago that I thought the administration of the Department was not satisfactory with regard to foot-and-mouth disease. I have not altered my opinion from what it was then, but my opinion is that the attitude of the Department is now satisfactory.
§ Mr. FARRELL
I am glad that the hon. Gentleman is not of the same opinion now that he was eighteen months ago.
§ Mr. BATHURST
The hon. Gentleman suggests I changed my opinion now as to the administration of the Department eighteen months ago. What I pointed out was that the administration of the Department now is better than it was eighteen months ago.
§ Mr. FARRELL
My view is that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Russell) is, if anything, too strict in the administration of the Department. The moment an outbreak is reported to him he draws a 15-mile circuit round the spot. He refuses to allow an animal to be removed from one field to another. The whole police force of the country is called to his assistance. I am not eomplaining of the right hon. Gentleman. The view in Ireland is that the right hon. Gentleman is far too strict and much too slow to give relief. Even when it has been proved satisfactorily that the disease has disappeared, he still retains these restrictions. The hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London is apparently not aware that this disease broke out in the spot where this French packing-stuff was unloaded, and there is no concealment of that fact. The moment that one case occurred at Birkenhead all the English ports were locked up against us, and all the Irish ports were put under the same bann. I think that is carrying the law too far. Of course, we are satisfied that the right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President believes these regulations to be right and for the good of the Irish cattle trade, but I think he is rather inclined to be panic-stricken over one case, for that is the very thing which brought about the 1463 state of things which occurred last year. I am not speaking for the big cattle graziers, but for the small farmers and producers of the animals, who are hit just as hard as the big grazier. [An HON. MEMBER: "Worse!"] Yes, some of them are hit worse, because they cannot afford the loss which is involved. The sales recently at the local fairs in my part of the county fell 50 per cent., and the prices fell as well; in fact, we were afraid of a recrudescence of the state of things which occurred last year. Whilst I am satisfied with the action of the right hon. Gentleman, still there is a danger in these cases of him becoming panic-stricken the moment a case occurs. I hope one result of this Debate will be to put more backbone into him in fighting these cases with the English Board. The hon. Member said fourteen cargoes arrived at Birkenhead in which cases of this disease had occurred. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to leave the House and the Committee under the impression that this occurred on the arrival of the cargoes.
§ Mr. FARRELL
That point was not cleared up. These beasts were detained at the port of Birkenhead, which is now admitted to be an infected area. We also know that the disease has broken out in Worcestershire, and this matter of Birkenhead must be cleared up so far as Irish cattle are concerned. The infected port must be closed until it has been fully disinfected, but the other ports might be opened to Irish cattle at such places as Glasgow, Bristol and London. Why should those ports be closed against Irish cattle because one port has been found to be infected? The general trend of this Debate has been rather narrowed by the ruling which has been given. As to the inquiry between the two Departments, of course we cannot logically blame the English Department for being very strict in this matter. After all, the English buyers purchase our cattle, and we want to sell them under favourable conditions and obtain good prices for them, but I fear in these matters—and I state this quite openly and frankly—in the case of agricultural constituences in this country, there has been a prejudice in this matter of Irish cattle in the interests of the English producers. [An HON. MEMBER: "No!"] It is a statistical fact which can be proved that the price of home- 1464 fed English cattle has gone up since you found this means of picking up the Irish cattle trade. That is only following out the policy adopted for many generations in your dealings with England and Ireland. I do not know whether in the forthcoming inquiry witnesses will be examined or whether it will be an Interdepartmental inquiry. In any case, I hope there will be a thorough investigation of the state of affairs in Birkenhead. The Irish Cattle Traders' Associations and the Farmers' Associations are not averse to a thorough inquiry into the origin of this disease so far as we are concerned. I have received to-day a telegram from a meeting of farmers in Meath, in which they state that—In view of the frequent outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in Great Britain and Ireland during the last three years, and the great inconvenience caused thereby to owners of live stock in consequence of the present regulations, an immediate Parliamentary inquiry is necessary, and a new set of regulations are urgently needed.I urged the right hon. Gentlemen to press for a most searching inquiry into this matter, and, so far as we are concerned, the assistance of those who are interested in Ireland in this matter will be placed at the disposal of the right hon. Gentlemen. We insist that the Irish case shall be most thoroughly probed and examined.
§ Mr. DILLON
I would like to say a few words with reference to the statement made by the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury). He said, that while the Committee and the public in this country had been assured that Ireland was free from disease during last year, it now turns out that the disease had been frequently breaking out in Ireland. That is a very misleading statement, and it would be a very serious matter if it were allowed to go forth unchallenged. There is nothing of the kind in Ireland, and the statement is very wide of the truth. Eighteen months ago an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease occurred in Ireland for the first time for twenty-nine years. For some months the Irish Department struggled with the outbreak, and they completely wiped it out, and for the last fifteen months Ireland has been as free from that disease as any country ever was. It is true that the Irish Department; is extraordinarily severe in its regulations, but at any rate they declared the country free fifteen months ago.
§ Mr. DILLON
The hon. Baronet said the country had been declared free, but the disease kept breaking out.
§ Mr. DILLON
About five weeks ago one case broke out at Naas and another at Ballysax. Those cases have been isolated, and the usual area has been put under a ban, and for a fortnight no further trace of the disease has been found in Ireland. Therefore it is quite misleading for the hon. Baronet to state that there was anything like a chronic recurrence of the disease in Ireland. While it is very natural that the hon. Member for North Longford (Mr. Farrell) should complain of the strictness of the Department regulations, I am afraid I cannot share altogether that criticism, because, after all, such regulations are in the interests of the Irish cattle trade. I am prepared to support the Department in Ireland in its operations, and even in the extreme severity of those regulations, and I will tell the House why. It is essential to the interests of the Irish cattle that we should satisfy the public in this country, and even the most critical hon. Members of this House, that we are determined to spare no precaution or exertion to deal with cases of cattle disease in Ireland, that we are determined to discover them and publish them, and notify the Department the moment they are discovered. I think the Department in this country is thoroughly satisfied with our action. I do not complain of the criticism of the Irish Department which has been made from time to time by the hon. Member for Wilton (Mr. C. Bathurst). I was gratified to hear that the hon. Member was himself satisfied as to the action of the Irish Department, because I may take him as the high-water mark of expert criticism in this House of the Irish Department, and he has stated that the Irish Department may now be relied upon to do all that efficiency can do to control and stamp out this disease. I agree with the hon. Member for North Longford that there ought to be an inquiry. These regulations are undoubtedly an awful hardship upon a country so dependent upon the cattle trade as Ireland is.
It is very hard because a case breaks out in Kildare that the entire country should be dealt with, and all the poor and rich farmers many miles away should find their stocks held up. I want to point out that it is ridiculous to say that we are to 1466 close the ports of Ireland absolutely against England when a case breaks out in England or Scotland. There must be reciprocity in this matter. The English suffer very little loss when the Irish ports are closed, but when the English ports are closed against us, our vast trade is paralysed, and hundreds and thousands of pounds are lost to the people of Ireland while the English ports remain closed, while it is not possible for us to insist on the opening of the English ports so long as we close the Irish ports. I think there is a case for inquiry as to whether any regulations could be devised which would spare Ireland these terrible losses. We are now being asked to vote money for the suppression of the disease in Ireland. As a matter of fact, this disease has been suppressed in Ireland for the last fortnight, and in six, eight, or ten days Ireland will be perfectly free. We must insist upon having the whole of this question of Birkenhead cleared up, because it is perfectly germane to this question. What is the use of squandering money upon suppressing disease in Ireland if there is no disease to suppress, and if our cattle are to be infected at the port of Birkenhead? I think money should be voted to deal with the Port of Birkenhead. Before the right hon. Gentleman answers, I would like to ask him one or two other questions which have not been raised by previous speakers. Is it not a fact, if my memory serves me rightly, that Irish cattle used to be landed in Liverpool on the other side of the river, and that it was only in consequence of the troubles with foot-and-mouth disease two years ago that they were compelled to be landed at Birkenhead, where, as I understand, foreign cattle were always landed? Are any foreign cattle landed there now?
§ Mr. DILLON
Still, it was the port at which any foreign cattle would be landed if they came. The Irish cattle have been driven across the river to Birkenhead, because the great lairages at Birkenhead were being emptied and the trade was falling off.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
The animals had to be slaughtered for a time, and the arrangements for slaughtering at Birkenhead were very much better than anywhere else.
§ Mr. DILLON
Of course, after Ireland was declared free of disease the necessity 1467 for slaughtering the cattle at the port of Liverpool or Birkenhead passed away, and the great majority of the Irish cattle, landed whilst Ireland was free from disease, would naturally be scattered all over England. Yet the Irish cattle were driven over to Birkenhead as if they were all to be slaughtered like foreign cattle. Why does this system obtain, and are Irish cattle still driven to be landed at the port where foreign cattle would be landed? I am told that no foreign cattle are now landed. Is that a fact? And is it not a fact that if any foreign cattle come they would come to Birkenhead, and to these very lairages where the Irish cattle are now landed? I want to ask, further, whether at Birkenhead the Irish cattle have as a matter of fact been fed on foreign fodder, and whether any foreign bedding of any sort or kind is used at the Birkenhead landing stage? I understand that the right hon. Gentleman has already answered one question by the hon. Member for Longford (Mr. Farrell) as to the way in which this disease broke out.
I followed the right hon. Gentleman very clearly, and I understood him to say that in no case was any beast in any one of these fourteen cargoes found diseased when they passed the inspector on landing at Birkenhead. They were carefully examined when coming from the ships from Ireland and they were found to be perfectly sound, and no beast developed any disease within forty-eight hours after being put on shore at Birkenhead. Of course, if any beast had shown the slightest sign of disease when they came off the ship, that would have traced the disease to Ireland, but, if a period of forty-eight hours elapsed before any sign of disease were found in any one of these fourteen cargoes, then the presumption is that the disease was contracted in the lairages at Birkenhead, and not in Ireland at all. So far as this discussion has gone, it seems clear at all events that Ireland has not in any one of these cases imported cattle into England with any sign of disease, but that the disease has been contracted by the Irish cattle in the lairages at Birkenhead. I think that English Members will admit that if that is the case we do suffer a very great hardship, and that we are entitled to ask both the Departments to spare no exertion to find out at the earliest possible moment the real truth of the case, and, if it should be proved that 1468 Birkenhead is to blame for the whole of this outbreak, then they should give Ireland the benefit of that discovery.
§ Mr. BIGLAND
Speaking on behalf of Birkenhead, I may say that I have listened to the latter portion of this Debate with the greatest interest. I was not able to be present at the initial stage. We in Birkenhead have the most friendly feeling towards the Irish cattle trade and have done everything we possibly could to provide for that trade. Up to now we have taken the greatest pride at Birkenhead on having an unbroken record for landing cattle at these lairages without any spread of disease ever taking place, and on that account I hope that this matter will not be prejudged against Birkenhead without further inquiry. I think that we are all agreed that this is a most mysterious case. I have spoken to the right hon. Gentleman personally about it, and he admits that there is a mystery; and I, representing Birkenhead, shall for one, be only too pleased to have an inquiry as to what is the cause. I admit the great seriousness, of it. We in Birkenhead rejoice in a very large measure of prosperity through this trade coming to Birkenhead. I believe I am right when I say that when this trade was first opened we had two lairages, and all the foreign animals slaughtered were directed to one and all the Irish cattle to the other, so that there was no mingling of foreign animals with the Irish cattle. I believe that the House recognises the urgency of this matter, and, if an immediate inquiry can be held, and scientific evidence given that it was some imported hay that caused this disease, then I stand, with the Irish Members and say I sincerely trust that the English Department will open the other ports until Birkenhead is disinfected.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
This, in my opinion, has been one of the most important Debates, for Ireland held for a very long time. This trade which is affected represented an export of two million head of cattle last year and £14,000,000. We are, therefore, dealing with one of the most serious questions which can affect Ireland, and I do not think that this afternoon has been at all wasted in discussing the thing fully. I should like to clear up one thing at once. The hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) made an interjection, but I do not think he meant anything personal to me, and I certainly did not intend to say anything in the least offensive to him. Let us see 1469 where the case actually stands. Here is the real difficulty of the situation. It was impossible for me, in opening this Debate, to deal minutely, or indeed at all, with the case of Birkenhead. Under this Vote it could not be done. It was impossible for me to deal with the English case at all. My right hon. Friend is absent, and it would have been out of order. Therefore, I had to confine myself, and I told the Committee so perfectly frankly, to proving that Ireland was not guilty. That is really what I attempted to do. There is one thing which has given me considerable pleasure. The speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for the Wilton Division (Mr. C. Bathurst) marks a very great, advance. A couple of years ago he attacked Ireland, I think unjustly; but to-day he has not attacked us, and he admits that in dealing with the outbreak we acted quite as promptly and quite as firmly as the English Department could have done. I am indebted to the hon. Gentleman for his statement to-day. There is no use in going into questions such as those raised by the hon. Member for Kildare (Mr Kilbride) that this is maliciously done. I know, and I admitted in reply to a question the other day that the opinion is held by people of great distinction, both in the cattle trade and in commerce, but all I will say is that I have never heard any evidence of it, and I certainly am not going to offer any reward for information on that head until I see some reason for doing so. I do not believe it, and I make no apology for refusing to do it. With regard to hay and straw, I admit that to be a very serious matter. The foreign hay and straw that was supposed to have done the damage two years ago at Curragh was burnt. The Commander-in-Chief issued an order for it to be burnt, and was not to be allowed to be distributed.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
Yes, that is in Ireland. The Commander-in-Chief, at all events, dealt with that very effectively, and it was not allowed to be distributed among the small farmers. It was burnt. Therefore, nothing could have arisen out of that. I have been asked why an Order has not been issued for the destruction of all packing material. The Departmental Committee, as the hon. Member for the Wilton Division has said, found that it would be almost impossible to enforce an Order of that kind, and they therefore did not recommend it. I discussed it with the Irish 1470 police, and they told mo that they could not enforce an Order compelling the destruction of all packing material in Ireland. I do not think anyone in this House will ask me to issue an Order when those-responsible for the administration of it tell me that they could not enforce it. There may be a good deal in it, and my mind has often reverted to it on the occasion of some outbreak I think it may be possible to recommend everybody concerned to burn this material, but I do not think it is possible at the present time to enforce such an Order in Ireland or anywhere else. Let me come now to the question of the Order issued by the Department. I felt that we were in an impossible position in complaining of England closing the ports when we close our ports whenever an outbreak occurs in England. At the time of the outbreak in the South of England I declined to close the Irish ports against Scottish cattle, but when the outbreak occurred at Gateshead, then I felt it was coining uncomfortably near, and I consequently ordered the Irish ports to be closed against Scottish cattle. I have been rather hardly treated in consequence, but, all I have to say, in my own defence, is that if once the disease got into Ireland I know who would be blamed. I should have no excuse to offer. I should be condemned from end to end of the country. Hon. Members opposite who are interested in the cattle trade must know that these restrictions are absolutely necessary. I was roundly abused the other day by a peer of the realm because I would not allow dogs to run about in the prohibited area. But it is well known that these animals may easily carry the disease on their feet from one place to another. Why, then, should I allow dogs to roam at large when I refuse to allow the removal of cattle? These things may seem unnecessary to some, but in administering these Acts I have to be guided by our experts. It is not necessary that the head of a Department should always give way to the experts, but when it comes to a question like this he would be a very venturesome man who acted directly in the face of the advice of his experts. I, at any rate, am not going to do it. The moment I can remove these restrictions in any shape or form the House may rely upon it it will be done.
The hon. Member for East Mayo asked me some questions about Birkenhead. I had a great deal to say about that, but I had to give it up, and I am not now going, 1471 in the absence of Mr. Chairman, to do that which he refused me permission to do in his presence. Only the other day I said to my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Agriculture—I have been in constant consultation with him, and there has been the most cordial co-operation between us—we are not doing things without consulting each other—I said to my right hon. Friend, "There are only two things to be done." I am convinced the origin of the disease is not in Ireland. I have satisfied myself on that point. I have used every possible effort to discover the disease in Ireland, and I cannot find any. Nobody need tell me that you can have fourteen cargoes of Irish cattle landed in Birkenhead—that you can examine 38,000 animals in Ireland in the places where these cattle came from—no one can tell me that if the disease came from Ireland, it would leave no record in Ireland. All the other six Irish ports take cattle from the same places in Ireland, the animals landed at them are examined, and no trace of the disease is found at any port. I say the conclusion is irresistible. I said to my right hon. Friend, "In my opinion there are only two things to be done. You must send two inspectors over to Ireland to verify the reports of our inspectors as to the state of affairs in that country. We shall be delighted to receive them. We will take them to the places where the cattle come from, and they can give their own report." "No," he said, "I will not do that. Your officers have been perfectly right." Only the other day in this House he admitted that our inspection has greatly improved, and he told me he was prepared to take the word of our officers in this matter as if it were the word of his own officers. "Then," I said, "the only other thing I can suggest is that there should be a thorough, searching investigation into the condition of the Birkenhead landing." My right hon. Friend agreed, and he asked that our chief officer should put himself into communication with their chief officer, and this investigation will, I am glad to say, commence this week. As far as the Irish Department is concerned, nothing that we can do shall be left undone to trace this matter to its origin. I have not attempted to-day to inculpate Birkenhead. My duty was performed when I was convinced that Ireland was not guilty. I believe that it is quite impossible to stand out against the case made for Ireland.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I forgot to deal with that point. The original Order has been in existence for many years. It is one precluding the entry of foreign hay into Ireland, and the object of our recent Order is to prevent the entry of Scottish hay, and to put hay from England and Scotland in the same position as foreign hay.
§ Mr. HEALY
That is hardly the point I was making. I was going to remark on the general order of business here. The second Order on the Paper is a Plumage Bill, a Bill excluding plumage birds of Borneo, New Guinea, Central America, and places on the Equator, because some humanitarian persons, chiefly ladies who wear these things in their hats, are offended at the fact that this foreign plumage is used for decorative purposes. And on the second night of the Session available for Bills the Government give a Plumage Bill second place on the Order Paper! This affects a trade representing about half a million sterling, at the most, a year, while in regard to a trade admitted to represent something like £14,000,000 a year the English Department does not think it worth while to be represented.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary of the Local Government Board is representing the Department.
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. Herbert Lewis)
My right hon. Friend the President is, as I stated just now, unfortunately unavoidably absent through ill-health.
§ Mr. HEALY
What I complain of is that your Department puts down a Plumage Bill as its first contribution to the business, while there is this far vaster question, where not merely a humanitarian question, but the industry of an entire country is at stake. I think we are entitled to claim that the Department should wake up, and should not give precedence to the question of the introduction of plumage birds from the Equator. This infection must come from somewhere. Every year since this thing began we have insisted that, in default of any other source of origin, espe- 1473 cially in view of the fact that in the case of Edinburgh the infection was proved beyond all question to have come from foreign hay, we have insisted that the importation of that hay should be prohibited. Who is it is interested in the importation of foreign hay? I do not know. But we have, at all events, this to say: We have two Ministers—a Cabinet Minister and an Irish Minister—and it is idle for them to tell us we have an whole army of inspectors, both in England and Ireland, and nowhere can they discover any source of origin. Why cannot you discover it? Because of your so-called Free Trade principles. Those principles do not affect you when you are dealing with foreign plumage. Your eyes are weeping for the birds in Borneo. But, in regard to this matter, when we have exhausted every source of origin except one, the Government, as far as I can make out, simply say that they are unable to deal with the question.
With the exception of two industries in the North, the cattle trade is the chief industry in Ireland. Without a word of warning you close not merely the ports of Dublin and Belfast, but every other port in the country. You close them the moment there is a case of infection at Birkenhead. What industry could thrive under such circumstances? If a landlord raises the rent, you can take him into Court. If a man is thrown out of his holding, he has a remedy provided for him by Act of Parliament. The cattle are, practically, over the greater part of Ireland, the only fruit and produce of the land, and yet you stop this trade. It is hopeless to expect that agriculture can be conducted with success when the trade is throttled at the ports as you have throttled it in every port in the Kingdom, because of an outbreak of disease. We have put up, with sorrow and reluctance, for some years with the detention period of ten or twelve hours at the port. We put up with it because we said, ''This is a larger country which has a larger agricultural interest. We bow to it without a murmur." The other day there was a case in Kildare. It is a remarkable fact that all these cases have occurred in propinquity to large camps. The soldier does not draw his nutriment and sustenance from the country which pays his very small wage. The Army is fed from abroad, and one result of this Free Trade policy is that the very packing in which the Army gets its supplies comes from 1474 infected areas. Is there any department in France which is not affected with cattle disease? Why, there is hardly a parish in France which is not affected with the disease. While you have allowed a foreign beast to be landed without being slaughtered, every bit of hay and straw that comes in is coming from farms which everyone knows are reeking with cattle disease. The Government knows this, but, of course, it is not suitable to take action. It would greatly offend France. You must not say a word to France. Your people may be shot down in Mexico, but do not offend the Mexicans! It is ourselves of whom we should be thinking. It is the people of these islands who pay the taxes, and who ought to be thought of, but they appear to be the last set of persons who receive the consideration of His Majesty's Government. If this were an English industry, affected as our industry is, the English Members would be up in arms at once. We cannot expect that now, as your farmers may gain something—there maybe a very small gain in certain parts of England—but there are others of your farmers who are greatly hampered. I mean that those farmers who buy our stores are greatly hampered.
Therefore I hope in this matter that there will be a combined effort by every person interested in agriculture to go into this question, and that we shall, without regard to Free Trade or anything else, lay down this doctrine: that there is one thing in which there shall not be Free Trade, and that is disease. That is really what the matter comes to now. Year after year we have pressed in this matter, but we get no satisfaction. The only result is that the right hon. Gentleman now says that he cannot speak for England, and, as regards Ireland, that she is free. What a comfort! Then he tells us, in addition, that at times when there is infection in England he closes the Irish ports and prevents importation into Ireland. What does he close them against? Mildew on currant bushes? You must not import a currant bush or a gooseberry bush into Ireland? What a tremendous hardship on the English people! I believe a few pedigree cattle do come across, but I suppose the entire number of pedigree cattle coming into Ireland from England would not exceed 100,000 per year. He puts that in the scale on one side and puts the 14,000,000 of Irish cattle in the other scale, and he says, "We are holding the balance 1475 evenly." We have not had, from either Department, this matter radically and seriously dealt with as it should have been. It affects not only the cattle industry; it affects the shipping companies, and, because it affects the shipping companies, it must affect the sailors. Therefore I say that from one end of England and Ireland to the other a protest should go up against what I consider to be nothing less than supineness on the part of the English and Irish Departments.
§ Mr. GINNELL
I wish to make a few remarks in the nature of criticism of the Irish Department to this extent only—that the Department appears to me to have been weak during the last eighteen months in not finding out the source of the disease in county Kildare. Eighteen months ago the Department satisfied itself that the disease which showed itself among cattle in that county at that time originated in material derived from the camp at Curragh. Why has not the Department availed itself of the time since then so as to be able, once the disease appeared again, with its army of experts, to determine the source and origin of the present outbreak? The right hon. Gentleman the Vice-President has been weak in not elucidating that matter. Another particular in which he has been weak is the effort which ought to have been made, but has not been made, to locate the origin of the disease at Birkenhead. lie has admitted too readily the guilt of the fourteen cargoes of Irish cattle, while as a matter of fact not a single beast in those fourteen cargoes was found with the disease on it when on board. Why then speak of the fourteen cargoes at all? If it were true that they had the disease, no matter how many cargoes were at Birkenhead, all the cattle in the lairs would become infected. Consequently he has been weak in admitting anything in a reference to the fourteen cargoes. Another point in which he has been weak is still within his power to remedy—that is, the inquiry to be set up by the two Departments at Birkenhead as to the source and cause of the disease there. The Vice-President said that he is sending the head of his veterinary department to meet a similar expert from the English Department. In my opinion, and in the opinion of most people interested in the Irish cattle trade, that is far too weak a tribunal. Two men are wholly inadequate 1476 for the purpose. Whatever strength this tribunal may have the inquiry should have been set on foot promptly when the disease broke out. Promptness is the essence of remedy and of inquiry in this particular matter. I would therefore ask the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider the number of experts he is sending to this inquiry, and to strengthen it.
I do not think be has satisfied anybody in Ireland, however much he may have satisfied this House, that the restrictions he imposes whenever he finds disease in Ireland are not excessive. I am not aware, and he has not put the Committee in possession of any information to show that any wider distance than five miles is necessary to be prescribed in order to stamp out the disease. If it be that this disease is-carried by other than living animals, as by packing, fodder, and litter, where are his restrictions against the introduction of those articles? He has not told the Committee what action he has taken, or proposes to take, with reference to foreign, matter of this kind, which is believed in Ireland to have introduced the disease there. If he has not got the power at the present time, I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he proposes to seek statutory powers this Session in order to prevent the spread of disease through this material coming from the Continent? This cattle disease is a terrible evil, but the restrictions imposed by the Department are a still greater evil. They are made too extensive—they are maintained needlessly long, having regard to the period of incubation of the disease, and they inflict grievous injury, not only on the feeders of cattle, but on the small farmers who raise store cattle, and the still smaller people who raise, or try to raise, pigs, who are spending their means in bringing those animals to a marketable condition, but are not able to find a market for them. I therefore ask the right hon. Gentleman if it be not too late, to strengthen the representation of his Department on this inquiry at Birkenhead, to find out definitely the source and origin of the disease in Ireland, and to reduce the restrictions there as soon as possible.
§ Mr. O'DOWD
I intervene in this Debate because I have been asked to do so by the county council of my county. The people of my county are totally opposed to the closing of the ports of Ireland owing to the new scare as to the alleged outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in county Kildare. Sligo, a constituency of which I 1477 have the honour to represent in this House, is wholly and solely an agricultural county. Two years ago it suffered terribly owing to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. It must be admitted by all authorities, including the Department of Agriculture, that not a single case of foot-and-mouth disease has occurred in that county, or, for that matter, in any of the five counties of Connaught, for the last fifty years. My county council and all the representative bodies of Sligo protest against the closing of the Sligo port even temporarily, because the port of Sligo is the natural port of North Connaught. Seeing that no case of foot-and-mouth disease can be traced either to the county or to the port or to the province, they think it is terrible that such a wrong should be inflicted on one of the greatest industries of the country. Their only industry, apart from that of agricultural produce, is the cattle industry. Take away the cattle industry from Ireland, and Ireland is nowhere. She lost millions over the recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. My experience of the West of Ireland is rather a wide experience, and I was on deputations and attended meetings held two years ago when the disease was the subject of anxiety to every farmer in the west, as well as in every other part of the country. The steps taken, drastic though they may have been, by the Vice-President of the Board of Agriculture met, on the whole, with the approval of every man, political friends as well as political enemies, with whom I came in contact. We hoped that we had heard the last of these outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, but unfortunately it seems that this is not so, and that a case has turned up now. I heard the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) remark that the Irish ports were closed against English cattle, thereby inferring, I suppose, that it was proper and right that the English ports should be closed against Irish cattle.
§ Mr. O'DOWD
I accept that explanation, but the hon. Baronet must remember that there were three outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in England recently, and there has been no outbreak at all in Ireland with the exception of this isolated case. The three outbreaks in England were at Durham, Gateshead, and Worcester. I would not wish the English ports to be closed against Irish cattle, because, 1478 after all, the Irish cattle trade is the staple industry of our country, and our principal market is Great Britain. It would be ruinous to Ireland if the port of England were shut against Irish cattle, and it would be equally ruinous if the ports of Ireland were shut against the importation of English cattle. As I understand the object of the Debate is to secure an inquiry, I hope the two Departments will put their heads together and arrange some scheme which would be of mutual advantage to the people of Great. Britain and of Ireland, and that these ideas of outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease should be thoroughly investigated lest harm should be done to the trade. In their praiseworthy and zealous efforts to stamp out the disease the danger is that they may not succeed in their object. On the contrary, their action may lead to the ruin of the cattle industry altogether. They should be very cautious. I thoroughly agree that the drastic measures taken two years ago were necessary and reflected on the Department, but at the same time there is no use in raising a scare when perhaps no real danger exists. The thing should be thoroughly and wholly investigated, and expert knowledge brought to bear in all its bearings in this matter, so as to give confidence to the people of Ireland, whose principal industry is the cattle industry. If an inquiry is granted, I hope it will be of such a far-reaching character as will sift the wheat from the chaff and do away with any possibility of a scare, and secure for the future that the cattle interests of Ireland will be protected.
§ Mr. CRUMLEY
It is very satisfactory to hear from the Vice-President that Ireland at present is free from foot-and-mouth disease, and that the seat of the disease has been traced to Birkenhead. Birkenhead is what is called a foreign port. It has in the past sometimes had as many as 4,000 or 5,000 South American cattle slaughtered in a week, and sometimes more. Foreign hay is coming into Birkenhead and cattle are coming in from countries where foot-and-mouth disease is prevalent. At one time last year there were 100,000 head of cattle suffering from this disease in France alone, and South America was equally as bad. It is very difficult to eradicate this disease from a place like Birkenhead, because it lurks in many a hole and corner. Perhaps there is too much disinfectant used in Birkenhead, and if it contains lime it might scald the 1479 feet of the cattle, and to some experts it might look like foot-and-mouth disease. Carbolic acid, if not diluted with water, will sometimes scald, and perhaps this would require to be inquired into also. This is a serious question to the farmers of Ireland. The poor man is shut out from disposing of his stock at present. This is just the season of the year when the exportation of live stock to England is required, and the British farmers are preparing for their summer stock. There is another industry which is called the poor man's friend, and that is the swine industry. On the arrival of one consignment of sixty or sixty-three of these pigs at Dundalk for Birkenhead, they could only ship half of them by the night boat as it was full. The animals were at Birkenhead for three or four days, and it was found that there were two suffering from foot-and-mouth distemper. The rest were delayed for several days, and no disease broke out among them. It shows that there is no disease whatever in Ireland. I do not wish to oppose the opinion of expert evidence, but there were many cases in Ireland even last year, in which, perhaps, if they had been inquired into, it would have been found that there was very slender ground for pronouncing the animals to be suffering from foot-and-mouth distemper. Birkenhead has been found to be the seat of this infection. Why should all Ireland be held up because of Birkenhead being infected? You have the port of Belfast, with six or seven different places to sail to. You have boats going to Liverpool, to Heysham, to Fleetwood, and to Scotland, and then you have Dundalk. Newry, Waterford, Limerick, Cork, and Dublin. Dublin, with all her capacity for carrying live stock to any port in England, and the sailors and others connected with the trade are held up in these ports which are free from disease. Why do you not send them to those ports and allow them to be distributed over the country? I would appeal in all sincerity to the Vice-President of the Board of Agriculture to open these ports immediately, now that there is no disease except in this spot in Kildare, and it is five weeks since that occurred. The Vice-President stated to-day that Ireland is free from this disease, then why continue to keep these ports closed? I appeal to him to have them opened at once, and allow the distribution of live stock to take place in Great Britain.
§ Mr. DUFFY
I should like to ask the Vice-President what attitude the Department intends to take up in reply to the resolution recently passed by the Galway County Council. We have arrived at the period of the year when the farmers of Ireland, particularly in the West, are preparing for the big spring markets. Our people are watching closely for the March and April fairs to dispose of their young-stock, and if anything happens to stop the export of their stock it will mean not alone the destruction of the transport trade, but it will also paralyse every trade and branch of industry in the West of Ireland. The trade in the West of Ireland is largely carried on by means of accommodation, and if our people are unable to dispose of stock at this time of the year, it means that those engaged in all branches of industry, in the towns as well as those directly concerned in the purchase and export of stock, will be involved in the catastrophe which presently threatens the country. The County Council of Galway includes a number of experts in the closest possible association with the cattle, sheep, and pig industries of Ireland, and their minds are full of apprehension as to what is likely to take place in the near future unless some action is taken by the Vice-President, acting in conjunction with his colleagues on this side of the water. The county council has suggested the propriety of establishing a Commission consisting of scientific experts, and particularly experts with a knowledge of agriculture. It is suggested that they should have power to inquire into many things. Has the right, hon. Gentleman considered the matter I If it is his intention to issue such a Commission, may I suggest that there should be representation of the West of Ireland upon it, because I believe people there will be able to supply information of a peculiarly interesting kind indeed. Reference has been made to the possibility that the disease has been brought to Ireland owing to the distribution of packing material. Has consideration been given to the serious danger in Ireland at the present time from that cause? Every town and city throughout the country, owing to the distribution of packing used for wines and brandies, is exposed to this danger. There is scarcely a town in Ireland to-day but is importing wines from 1481 week to week, and the packing material is rather a serious danger. I think it behoves the Board of Agriculture to take immediate steps to save our unfortunate people from the serious calamity which threatens their industry.
§ Mr. FLAVIN
The right hon. Gentleman has stated that the Chief Inspector in Ireland and the principal official of the English Department are holding an inquiry. Can he hold out any hope that that inquiry will be concluded this week, in order that there will be some possibility of making a report this week, or in the early part of next week, so that we may have the situation made much more clear than it is at presents? I would express the hope, also, that when the report is issued, the Irish people will be put in a position to know where the disease exists.
§ Mr. FALCONER
I rise to support the appeal made by the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Flavin) that this inquiry should be brought to a conclusion at the earliest possible moment. I do it mainly in the interest of Scottish farmers who are dependent for a supply of store cattle from Ireland. At the present time that supply has ceased, because there is a suspicion that there may be foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland. If it is the case, as seems to be supposed by the right hon. Gentleman, that there is no foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland at all, then there is no reason why Irish cattle should not be imported at Scottish ports so that the inconvenience both to the people of Ireland and Scotland which is now felt should be brought to a close. I would request the right hon. Gentleman and his Department to press upon the English Board of Agriculture, which regulates these matters in Scotland, unfortunately as I think, the real importance of removing the embargo as between Ireland and Scotland at the earliest possible moment.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
As to the point raised by the hon. Member for Galway earlier in the afternoon, I have to state that I sent direct to the county council, and I find that they asked for the appointment of a Commission to inquire into a great many questions connected with this disease. I am now able to give the hon. Member the answer which I sent. It was that with the exception of one thing we knew all we want to know. The one thing we do not know is the origin of the disease. It is a very long time since that question was 1482 first put. It is quite true, as the hon. Member for Cork says, that we have been inquiring a long time, and that we are not very much farther forward. As to that, let me say that there is sitting now a Royal Commission upon which there are the most eminent scientists of Great Britain, together with representatives of Ireland. They are inquiring into that very thing.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I do not think that the question of Free Trade should be introduced here. The Royal Commission is making inquiry, and it is needless to appoint another Commission while that one is sitting. I quite agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Forfarshire (Mr. Falconer) that it is an absolute necessity that the condition of Birkenhead should be inquired into at once, because my right hon. Friend the President of the English Board of Agriculture will have to satisfy himself as to the origin of this outbreak, and until that is settled we cannot get forward. My Department is ready to commence to-morrow. It may be a day, or at most two days, before the inquiry commences, but I am in a position to say that the investigation—a better word than inquiry—will commence this week. That is my information, and as soon as we are in a position to let the House know the result, the House will be informed. I have no power to open the English ports. What power have I, as an Irish Minister, to do that? [An HON. MEMBER: "You can suggest."] Suggesting is another thing altogether. I will endeavour to have this investigation made without delay, and upon its completion I will point out to my right hon. Friend that it is a most serious matter to have every English port closed against Ireland because there is trouble at Birkenhead.
§ Mr. FLAVIN
Will the right hon. Gentleman say why there should be a delay of two days before commencing to inquire into this serious matter?
§ Mr. CHAPLIN
I am extremely sorry that I was unable to be present here at the commencement of the Debate. Nor, indeed, had I the slightest idea that it was likely to arise. I was not aware until a short period ago that there had been a second outbreak in Worcestershire, and that statements were made in regard to 1483 that outbreak to the effect that a number of the animals found affected there had come from Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman has referred to some Commission of Inquiry which is now proceeding, and, in reference to that, he said that we knew everything that was wanted to be known except one thing, and that was the origin of the disease. But I would remind him that we have always had in this country—at all events, for a vast number of years now—negative knowledge of the subject, and that it is still held that this disease is not indigenous to this country. It has never been known for a vast number of years unless it came to us from abroad. That statement applies both to Ireland and England. I am sorry to say that I have only been able to gather from conversation what is the position at the present moment, but there are some broad facts, at all events, which appear to be quite clear. As I remember, there is no question that there was an outbreak in Ireland some three weeks ago. That, I believe, was established and admitted on all sides. The next statement is, that an outbreak occurred at Gateshead in the North of England. As England had been perfectly free from this disease for a long time, the natural conclusion would be that the disease might possibly have arisen in Ireland, and that it would come to us from that country. In Ireland last year there appeared to be good reason to believe that there had been constant occurrence of this disease long before it was known. I am not so sure about that even now. I understand that during the Debate my right hon. Friend has given an assurance to the House of Commons that so long time has elapsed since the disease was certified in Ireland, that it could not have been brought to England from that country this time—either to Gateshead or more recently to Worcestershire.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
There, had been no outbreak since the month of August last, and there was no movement of cattle to Gateshead.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
What I said about the outbreak in Worcestershire was that it was reported late on Friday night. The important thing to remember is that the 1484 cattle left Ireland on 30th January, and that the disease was discovered on the farm on 21st February. All authorities are agreed that the longest period of incubation known is ten or twelve days. It varies from two days to ten or twelve days. If these Irish animals were responsible for the disease, you must count from the day they left Ireland, and that would make the incubation period twenty-one days—a thing that has never been heard of in the whole history of the disease. I think the right hon. Gentleman will agree with me that it is impossible to trace the outbreak which occurred there back to Ireland.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Mr. CHAPLIN
I should not be prepared to make the broad admission that the period of incubation is never so long as the period stated. I am quite sure that, although the animals them-selves may have been free very often where there has been an outbreak of disease, the germs of the disease lie dormant, either in the manure or something of that kind, for a considerable period. No one can say that a country is absolutely safe from fear of the disease when there has been an outbreak of it unless after a very prolonged period of time. I remember quite early in the course of the outbreak last year that my right hon. Friend, who is of a sanguine disposition, said to me in the Lobby that within three weeks or a month of the disease having appeared in Ireland he would have stamped out the whole thing. I expressed my ardent hope that my right hon. Friend might be right, but, as it happened, it was months afterwards before Ireland was safe, or anything approaching safe. Naturally, therefore, I view the present position with considerable apprehension. Here we have the broad fact that about three weeks or a month ago there was an outbreak in Ireland. Even though in the case of Gateshead, the contagion may not have been carried by the animals themselves, it is perfectly possible that it may have been carried by some other means from Ireland. As regards Worcestershire, there is a clear case, which warrants still more the serious apprehension that I have expressed. I hope that we shall be very fully informed by the right hon. Gentleman of everything that goes on, because as there has been one outbreak in Ireland three weeks or a month ago, and there have been two in England since then, one of which is attributed, so far as one can gather, to animals brought from 1485 Ireland to Worcestershire, our expedience of last year leads us to view the matter with the greatest apprehension.
§ The CHAIRMAN
Before the Debate goes further I desire to point out, as some hon. Members were not here before, that we must not discuss the policy of the English Board of Agriculture under this Vote. Of course, I know that reference to it cannot be avoided in a matter of this kind, but the ruling which I gave two hours ago must be observed.
§ Lord ALEXANDER THYNNE
The right hon. Gentleman referred to a Royal Commission which has gone out to investigate this question. Am I not right in suggesting that it was not a Royal Commission, but a Departmental Committee? I would also like to ask if that Committee has not completed its labours some six months ago? And there is also the important question—when we may expect to get its Report? The matter is of some urgency. The great port of Birkenhead has been placed in a very invidious position, especially this evening, owing to certain statements which the right hon. Gentleman has made; and surely there is an obligation on the right hon. Gentleman, before he casts aspersions upon one of the leading ports of the country, to make himself acquainted with the results of an investigation which, I understand, has been concluded for more than six months!
§ Mr. JAMES HOPE
May I point out that the present Debate is one more example of questions which arouse a great deal of strong feeling in both England and Ireland being calmly and temperately treated under the system of a united Parliament for the two countries? Would it be possible—
§ The CHAIRMAN
Hon. Members sometimes discuss large questions on Supplementary Estimates, but never one quite so large as that.
§ Mr. HOPE
I think that I have succeeded in making my point, but I would like to ask the representative of the Treasury for information on a rather important point of financial policy which does arise directly out of this Vote. I notice on page 8 that a large sum was paid into the Pleuro-Pneumonia Account. That account, it appears, though it is audited by the Comptroller and Auditor-General, is not necessarily subject to the rule about the surrender of balances. That apparently is optional with the Treasury. 1486 What I wish to know is whether in fact they do insist on the surrender of balances. If they do not, but carry them over, does any inconvenience result? This question of the surrender of balances has been one of great interest to some Members of this House for a great many years. I always thought that it was a very unnecessary system.
§ Lord HUGH CECIL
I beg to move, "That the Vote be reduced by the sum of £5."
I hope that we may have some answer about the figures which are included in this Vote. There is an amazing symmetry about the figures which almost suggests the hand of the cook. We are told that the additional sum is required to complete the £8,000, and that there has been a saving on tuberculosis of £7,790. If this £10 is right, it is just enough to make an Estimate, and no more. That seems a very suspicious circumstance. It suggests to my mind that this thing was prepared with a view to having a Parliamentary discussion. In the reply which has been made by the Vice-President I did not understand him to answer the point that has been made by the hon. Member for North-East Cork. The hon. Member's point was, if you are to restrict cattle, why do you not restrict other things by which infection may come? The Vice-President explained that there was no reason to think in the Gateshead case that the infection was due to cattle. In that case would not it be wise to impose a general embargo in the case of Ireland, and the same principle would apply to England, on all agricultural produce which comes from any infected place, if you are to have this system of restriction at all? There are two ways of dealing with cattle disease of this type. You may allow free access to all sorts of produce, including cattle, and you may leave the agriculturist to take the risk of his business suffering from infection. I believe that there are many agriculturists who say that is the right way to deal with the matter, that it is a mistake to have all these restrictions in this important trade, and that it is better to leave the disease to take its own course. But if you adopt a policy of restriction, which is the policy of the Department of Agriculture and of the Board of Agriculture in England alike, then it ought to be thorough-going. There is no advantage in restricting cattle and disturbing the large trade 1487 between Ireland and England, and not restricting everything else that can equally bring in infection. The question is one to which the attention of the Committee should be addressed, and therefore I move that the Vote be reduced by the sum of £5.
§ Mr. RUSSELL
In reference to the question of the last two hon. Members who have spoken, neither of them was in the House when the Debate was in progress, and I have already made the very explanation as to the form of the Vote which I am now asked to give.
§ The CHAIRMAN
With regard to the point raised by the hon. Member for Sheffield, I was going to point out to the Committee that this note on page 8 of the Supplementary Estimate, is the same as it was in the original Estimate on page 149.
§ The CHAIRMAN
It is not fair to ask if there is any variation in the policy laid down when the original Estimate was passed.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Montagu)
The unexpended portion of a Grant-in-Aid is not surrendered. The unexpended portion of a Vote is.
§ Mr. HOPE
I am sorry if I have misunderstood, but the reference here is to the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894; and turning to that I find that the Treasury may do certain things in the case of the Cattle Pleuro-Pneumonia Account (Ireland). It may direct that such balance shall be paid back, and the question which we ask is: If such a balance arises in this particular item, whether they would act according to their discretion one way or the other?
§ Mr. RUSSELL
I could give the explanation as to how the money has been applied. In the original Estimate of the Department for the years 1913–14, the only provision made for this purpose was a total 1488 of £100. When that Estimate was framed over a year ago, it was not possible to say whether any expenditure whatever would be incurred in this work during the year 1913–14, and in such circumstances the-practice of the Treasury is not to call on the taxpayer to provide funds for contingencies until the necessity arises, and until the amount required is ascertained. We have asked for a Supplementary Estimate of £8,000 to meet payments that may have to be made before the 31st March next in connection with compensation for animals slaughtered on account of infection. On the other hand the Treasury have allowed us to apply the savings which have arisen on another Grant for payment to local authorities of the compensations paid for animals slaughtered which have been tubercular, and the amount of the Supplementary Estimate is consequently reduced to the nominal sums of £10.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The right hon. Gentleman has not answered the question of my hon. Friend. What the right hon. Gentleman has told us is that the sum of £1,000 has been spent on the tuberculosis account, and that he is going to spend the balance upon foot-and-mouth disease. That we all knew. What my hon. Friend wants to know is what the Treasury is going to do. My hon. Friend referred to the Statute, which he said clearly shows that the Treasury may direct any balance which may not be required to be paid into the Exchequer. What we want to know is, if there is a balance, whether it is going to be paid into the Exchequer or it is not.
§ Mr. MONTAGU
In answer to the question put by the Noble Lord below the Gangway, I may state that the practice of the Treasury—as the hon. Baronet the Member for the City is well aware—is not to transfer from a saving on an ordinary Vote to a Grant-in-Aid. That is the result of an undertaking given in the House of Commons some years ago, and it is for the purpose of enabling us to apply the surplus on another Vote to the-Grant-in-Aid that this Supplementary Vote of £10 is asked for. I may say that there is no prospect of any saving at all at the end of the financial year.
§ Question put, "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £5, be granted for the said Service."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 108 Noes, 258.1491
|Division No. 11.]||AYES.||[7.17 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Nield, Herbert|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Forster, Henry William||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gardner, Ernest||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington).|
|Barnston, Harry||Gibbs, George Abraham||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Gilmour, Captain John||Peto, Basil Edward|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Goldman, C. S.||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Randles, Sir John S.|
|Bigland, Alfred||Grant, J. A.||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Bird, Alfred||Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Eccleshall)|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Harris, Henry Percy||Royds, Edmund|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Harrison-Broadley, H. B||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Butcher, J. G.||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Campion, W. R.||Hills, John Waller||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Sandys, G. J.|
|Carson. Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Cassel, Felix||Horner, Andrew Long||Stewart, Gershom|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Houston, Robert Paterson||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Cautley, H. S.||Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Cave, George||Hunt, Rowland||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Hunter, Sir C. R.||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Ingleby, Holcombe||Touche, George Alexander|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Lawson, Hon H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Watson, Hon. W.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Macmaster, Donald||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wilson, Captain Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Du Pre, W. Baring||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Wilson, Maj. Sir M. (Bethnal Green S. W.)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M,||Mount, William Arthur||Younger, Sir George|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Neville, Reginald J. N.|
|Fell, Arthur||Newman, John R. P.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Lord|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Hugh Cecil and Mr. Courthope.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Hancock, John George|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Cotton, William Francis||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Cowan, W. H.||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Crooks, William||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Crumley, Patrick||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Alden, Percy||Cullinan, John||Havelock-Allan, Sir Herny|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Hayward, Evan|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Hazleton, Richard|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Delany, William||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Devlin, Joseph||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)|
|Barnes, George N.||Dillon, John||Higham, John Sharp|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Donelan, Captain A.||Hinds, John|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Doris, William||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Duffy, William J.||Hodge, John|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets. St. George)||Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Holmes, Daniel Turner|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon Augustine||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Black, Arthur W.||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)|
|Boland, John Pius||Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Falconer, James||Hudson, Walter|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Farrell, James Patrick||Hughes, Spencer Leigh|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)|
|Brace, William||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Johnson, W.|
|Brady, P. J.||Ffrench, Peter||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D.Brynmor (Swansea)|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Field, William||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Fitzgibbon, John||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)|
|Buckmaster, Sir Stanley O.||Flavin, Michael Joseph||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||France, Gerald Ashburner||Jowett, Frederick William|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Furness, Sir Stephen Wilson||Joyce, Michael|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Gelder, Sir W. A.||Keating, Matthew|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Gill, A. H.||Kellaway, Frederick George|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Ginnell, L.||Kelly, Edward|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Gladstone, W. G. C.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Glanville, Harold James||Kenyon, Barnet|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Kilbride, Denis|
|Clough, William||Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon,S.Molton)|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)|
|Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Lardner, James C. R.|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hackett, John||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rid, Cockerm'th)|
|Leach, Charles||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Snowden, Philip|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Lundon, Thomas||O'Shee, James John||Sutton, John E.|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Swann, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles E.|
|Lynch, A. A.||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|MacCaw, William J. MacGeagh||Parker, James (Halifax)||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Maclean, Donald||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Thomas J. H.|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Pirie, Duncan V.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|M'Kean, John||Pointer, Joseph||Verney, Sir Harry|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lincs, Spalding)||Pratt, J. W.||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Meagher, Michael||Primrose, Hon. Neil James||Wardle, George J.|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Radford, G. H.||Waring, Walter|
|Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Molloy, Michael||Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Reddy, Michael||Watt, Henry A.|
|Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Webb, H.|
|Mooney, John J.||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Morgan, George Hay||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Morrell, Philip||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Morison, Hector||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Robinson, Sidney||Whyte, A. F. (Perth)|
|Muldoon, John||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Wiles, Thomas|
|Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Roche, Augustine (Louth)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Rowlands, James||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Rowntree, Arnold||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Nolan, Joseph||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Scanian, Thomas||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Sheehy, David||Yeo, A. W.|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Sherwell, Arthur James||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|O'Donnell, Thomas||Shortt, Edward||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|O'Dewd, John||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook|
|O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|O'Malley, William||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
§ Lord A. THYNNE
Before the Vote is I put I should like to call the attention of the Committee to the very different measure which is being meted out by the Government to Irish farmers from the I measure meted out to English farmers in precisely similar circumstances. I will call attention to what occurred in precisely similar circumstances in England—
§ The CHAIRMAN
The Noble Lord has not been present during the three and a half hours which the discussion has lasted, or he would know that I ruled that the questions of policy cannot be discussed.
§ Lord A. THYNNE
If I can refer to it I by way of illustration, I may perhaps be able to do so under the Rules of Order, The point is this—that in the English counties they have been called upon to make good the money which has been spent by the Administration in connection with foot-and-mouth disease.
§ Original Question put, and agreed to.