§ (1) The period commencing on the beginning of the twenty-fourth day of April, nineteen hundred and sixteen, and ending at the end of the 8th day of May, nineteen hundred and sixteen, shall not be reckoned, and shall be deemed never to have been reckoned, in computing the times limited for the doing of any act or the taking of any proceeding in any Court in Ireland, and where any such act or proceeding is directed or allowed to be done on a certain day, if that day was a day within the period aforesaid, the act or proceeding 2199 shall be considered as done or taken in due time if it was done or taken before the end of the ninth day of May, nineteen hundred and sixteen.
§ (2) Where the Court is satisfied on an application made within the prescribed time and in the prescribed manner that by reason of the recent disturbances in Ireland any person has been or is unable to do an act or take a proceeding within the time limited in that behalf by any statute, order, regulation, deed, or agreement, the Court may grant such extension? of time and such further or other relief, upon such terms and in such manner as Appears to the Court to be equitable.
§ (3) Where any original document required to be filed, enrolled or lodged in any public office has been lost or destroyed in the course of the recent disturbances in Ireland, the High Court or a judge of that Court may on the application of any person interested by order authorise the filing, enrolment or lodgment of a properly authenticated copy of the document in lieu of the original within such time as may be fixed by the order, and that copy shall thereupon be deemed to be the original for all purposes and to be duly filed, enrolled or lodged if filed, enrolled or lodged within the time so fixed.
§ (4) Subject to rules made under this Act the powers and jurisdiction of the High Court with respect to the perpetuation of testimony shall extend to and may be exercised for the perpetuation of the testimony afforded by any muniment of title or other document which has been lost, destroyed or damaged in the course of the recent disturbances in Ireland whether the right or claim of the person instituting proceedings is a present right or claim or depends upon the happening of some future event.
§ (5) Sub-sections (2) and (3) of Section one of the Courts (Emergency Powers) Act, 1914, shall be amended by the insertion of the words "or to the recent disturbances in Ireland" after the words "present war" wherever the latter words occur in those Sub-sections.
§ (6) No claim for compensation under any of the enactments relative to compensation for criminal or malicious injuries shall lie against a local authority in respect of any injury to person or property sustained in the course of the recent disturbances in Ireland.2200
§ (7) In any action or proceeding for the recovery of a deed or other document, or for damages for its loss or non-production, it shall be a sufficient defence if it is proved that the deed or other document, being at the time of the commencement of the recent disturbances in Ireland in the possession or under the control of a person entitled to have the possession or control thereof, was lost or destroyed in the course and as a result of those disturbances.
§ (8) The Lord Chancellor may make such rules and give such directions as he thinks fit for the purpose of giving full effect to the provisions of this Act.
§ (9) This Act shall not apply to criminal matters or proceedings.
§ (10)In this Act, unless the context other wise requires,—
§ the expression "the Court, "as respects matters and proceedings pending in the County Court and as respects matters and proceedings within the jurisdiction of the County Court and not pending in any other Court, means the County Court; as. respects matters and proceedings pending in a Court of Quarter Sessions; means the Court of Quarter Sessions; and as respects all other matters and proceedings, means the High Court or a judge of that Court; and
§ the expression "prescribed" means prescribed by rules under this Section.
§ Mr. TURTON
I rise to move, in Subsection (6), at the end, to insert the words "But all such claims shall stand referred to the Property Losses (Ireland) Committee, 1916, who shall be entitled to make grants therefor from the ex gratiâ fund."
I do not bring forward this Amendment in any spirit of hostility to the Dublin Corporation; indeed, I hope that I shall not be out of order in saying, as one who owns considerable property in the City of Dublin, that it has been a grief to me to hear the suggestions that have been made with regard to the corporation. I am asking the Chief Secretary by my Amendment to accept the suggestion that Sir William Goulding's Committee, should take upon itself the investigation and consideration of all those legal claims which, had it not been for Sub-section (6) would have come before the corporation and for which the corporation would have been liable.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I did not quite comprehend from the hon. Member's Amendment on the Paper what this Committee was—I am afraid it was my ignorance—but if the funds of this Committee come out of the public Exchequer—
§ The CHAIRMAN
Then in that case the hon Member cannot move his Amendment without a Money Resolution.
§ Mr. TURTON
My Amendment is that they should consider these claims and be entitled to make Grants from the ex gratiâfund.
On that point of Order. There is nothing before you to show in any way by any Statute or otherwise that the Goulding Committee is going to make a reward out of the public fund, and you are therefore assuming that of which we have no knowledge and cannot have any knowledge. All that we know is that the Committee is sitting, but the source from which the money is to come has not in any sense been ear-marked.
§ The CHAIRMAN
It is my business to inquire. I am quite sure about that. I have to be very careful that no charge is imposed upon the public funds without the proper procedure in Committee. I am afraid that the Amendment cannot be moved.
On the point of Order. May I submit to you that we have no knowledge that there is such a fund? It is not created by Statute. The Goulding Committee is not sitting under Statute. For all you or I know the money may come from some benevolent source. Surely, that being so, this Amendment does not thereby involve a charge upon the public funds.
§ 10.0 P.M.
§ Mr. TURTON
I can get what I want in another manner. I beg to move to leave out Sub-section (6). This will enable me to get a statement from the Chief Secretary as to what is going to be done with regard to these claims that have to be made. I have not the slightest desire that any liability should be assumed by the corporation. It is only fair and just, 2202 having regard to all the circumstances, that the State should assume the whole of the liability for this very unfortunate rebellion in Ireland. You must, however, be fair, and it is only fair when you are going to make Grants that those who have legal claims should be entitled to put those claims before the Goulding Committee. I would ask the Attorney-General, who is a lawyer, how it is, when the citizens of Dublin have insured against the breakage of plate glass, that the Goulding Committee is not to consider those claims in the same way as all other claims? Surely the right hon. Gentleman is aware, if any plate-glass insurance company has a contract for insurance with an insured person that it is entitled to stand in the shoes of that insured person. Why is it, therefore, that this Committee, as Sir William Goulding himself told me last Friday in Dublin, is to be excluded by the minute—
§ The CHAIRMAN
I do not think that he is entitled to discuss the merits, but I do think that he is entitled on moving to leave out Sub-section (6), which refers to certain compensation, to ask a question.
§ Mr. TURTON
I am in an unfortunate position. I have been stopped, and I have got to do it by a roundabout way. I have not the slightest intention of asking the Committee not to accept Sub-section (6), but this is the only way I can bring before the Chief Secretary the injustice of not allowing this Committee to consider this question of plate glass. I had the opportunity last Friday in Dublin, and again this morning, of placing my views before the Chief Secretary, and I can only thank him for the very courteous reception that he gave me. He is fully acquainted with the facts, and I need not say any more. In 1886, when the riots took place in Trafalgar Square and legislation was passed, the principal of subrogation was included in the Bill and was accepted by this House. The same principle, should equally apply to the case of the rebellion in Dublin. It is only a question of including it in the minute that was submitted by the Under-Secretary at Dublin Gastle to-the Goulding Committee.
§ Mr. DUKE
The hon. Member is quite right in saying that he brought this 2203 matter carefully to my attention, and I have heard the details of the grievance of the insurance companies. I do not think the object in view would be obtained by the omission of this Clause. I cannot see how that is going to do any good to the insurance companies. On the other hand, it is true, on the point of law, that if the insured person were left with a remedy against the corporation, and there was rateable value enough in Dublin to pay for the damages, the insurance companies might be subrogated for the insurance person. It is quite true that it may be said that there is in that way an apparent limitation of the rights of the insurance companies. What I would suggest to my hon. Friend is that the Clause should pass as it is, and that as his real object is to see if it is not possible that the claims of the insurers of property should be considered together with those of the insured persons he should—he and those on whose behalf he is speaking—should make a definite representation of that kind to the Government, and I can promise that unless there is some substantial reason to the contrary that representation will be considered in a sympathetic spirit. I cannot say more than that to my hon. Friend. The situation is a very complex situation, but if it is practicable as a matter of business to include the insurer with the insuree, and to give them a right of coming together so that the same treatment may be meted out to them, provided that they do not put forward independent claims and double the amount of compensation, I will undertake to see that that is carefully considered.
§ Leave withheld.
The right hon. Gentleman has accepted the statement of the hon. Gentleman below me (Mr. Turton) of the directions given by Sir Robert Chalmers' instructions to Sir W. Goulding's Committee.
It is a novelty to me. I 'have heard this rumour before, but I have never heard it publicly asserted, and it is a novelty to me to hear that Sir W, Goulding and two assessors from English insurance companies are sitting under the 2204 direction of the Under-Secretary for Ireland. If that is so, he loses all the advantages of an independent Committee, and I respectfully think that if the hon. Gentleman has evidence that Sir Robert Chalmers has intervened in the way in which he suggests, he should bring the matter before the Prime Minister, as it deprives us private citizens entirely of the protection we should have from this Committee. It would really mean this: that this Committee is Sir Robert Chalmers. Therefore, I would respectfully think that the hon. Gentleman has made a most serious statement, though not intended as a charge—and perhaps he does not see it as it strikes the medium of my mind— which goes to the root of the independence of Sir William Goulding's Committee. May I also say that the hon. Gentleman has touched a very tender chord when he speaks of subrogation, because there is a very strong feeling in many quarters in Ireland that the insurance companies should not have the double remedy. I want to ask a question relating to this Sub section. The right hon. Gentleman the senior Member for Trinity College (Sir E. Carson) the other night asked a question on this Sub-section. He asked the Government what steps were being taken to provide compensation to those who had lost their lives, or their limbs, or were wounded, in the rebellion. This Clause takes away all power on their part— whether they have claims or not I do not say—to make an application to the Courts. It would, therefore, seem to me to follow that we should have the promised state ment—I understand it was promised—as to what position the Government are taking up with regard to people who have lost their lives, or have been maimed in the rebellion. It would appear to me as if the Government say: We will pay compensation for a cartload of bricks which has been destroyed, but we will not pay compensation for a coffin—
§ The CHAIRMAN
That does not appear to arise on this Amendment. That is a matter, I understand, of administration.
Certainly it would in one sense, because we are taking away by this Clause the right of application to the Court. Take the case of policemen who 2205 can apply, but for this Clause, for compensation. This is the Clause that takes away their right to apply, and therefore I think I am strictly in order in making my remarks. I will take a particular case, that of Constable Frith, a Protestant constable, who was shot in Store Street Barracks by Sergeant Bannon of the Royal Irish Rifles, and confessedly and admittedly through a blunder, because they had mistaken the barracks for a Sinn Fein arsenal. According to the statement of Constable Frith's brother in the papers, his mother has been deprived of any real effective remedy. This Clause undoubtedly prevents this man's relatives from going to the Court. I am not saying that the Court would necessarily grant compensation—that is not the question. Bit, at any rate, they would have the right to go to the Court otherwise.
Let me take also the case of the police-men killed or wounded at Ashbourne, county Meath. But for this Sub-section, these policemen have a right to apply to the Court. J am not saying that the Government are unwise in drawing up the Clause, and passing it through the House, I approve of their action, but I think there is a concomitant to the action, namely, that they should tell us that these wounded men, or the persons connected with the dead men, shall be duly and adequately compensated. Of course, I am not surprised that you, Mr. Whitley, should suppose that that is a right of application which did not exist. But it does exist, and although the Courts have, recently negatived cases arising out of the rebellion, and have negatived the theory that malice or ill-will should be the immediate malice or ill-will that provoked the rebellion, but that it had reference to past matters; these are references, as I understand, to Courts of first instance, and that right has now been absolutely cleared away. I approve of the action of the Government in taking away that right, but in so doing it surely involves the concomitant necessity that the Government in the case of the relatives of those policemen and others who have been wounded, who are dead, and those injured men generally, the Government should say, "We are not really limiting our means and our remedies to the case of bricks and mortar, and we are applying it in the case of human beings "I would, therefore, respectfully think that before the Debate is over to-night the Government should make a statement on this sub- 2206 ject. This rebellion was like an earthquake. It came down, so far as the general body of the persons was concerned, suddenly on the country. The Government acknowledge a right to compensation for disaster in the case of property, but is not the case of human life and that of wounded men of equal seriousness? I beg that this opportunity should be taken by the Government to make some statement for the relief of large bodies of persons who are sufferers, not, it is true, in property and substance, but from loss of life and limb connected with persons who were often the mainstay of their existence.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
This Sub-Clause 6 takes away a right which exists to apply for compensation for injury to property, among other things, which occurred during the recent disturbances. Before we take away that right, is it not right for the House to know to what extent the Government are going to make up that right? It was discussed here the other evening, and the Government stated that the question was being considered, and we were told, although not very definitely, of some arrangement that the Government were proposing to make. Is it not essential that we should know exactly the extent to which the Government means to go in making up the rights they are taking away? It is a matter of great import to those concerned, and it is an equally important matter to the House of Commons to know before they take away a right of this kind to what extent their credit is being pledged to make up for these injuries. My hon. Friends will understand it is in no grudging spirit that I urge, before we part with any money, that we ought to keep our hands upon the purse. The suggestion was thrown oat the other night that the Vote of Credit might be made available to meet any such payments as this. That may or may not be correct, but we are entitled to know definitely the extent to which the Government mean to pledge the national credit for this purpose, and the proportion which the Corporation of Dublin or the rates is going to contribute. I am sure the Government see the extreme importance of this in regard to the responsibility of the House of Commons over finance. Unless we get a statement of that kind there is nothing to prevent the Government spending any amount they like. I do not suggest that they will do what is not right in the matter.
§ Sir J. HARMOOD - BANNER
The Amendment has been moved in order to secure that the interests of insurance companies should not be prejudicially affected. We are much obliged to the Chief Secretary for saying that he will consider their obtaining the remedy desired. I would call his attention to the fact that he saidIf both parties apply.The effect of both parties applying would be very unfortunate for the insurance companies. They would have paid a man, and would then have to go to him and say, "Now come along with us and ask this Committee to recoup us the amount which we have paid for damages under this claim "I think I know Irishmen quite well enough to know that if you say to one of them, "Come and ask with us jointly for the compensation we have already paid, "he will certainly come along with you, but he will say, "I require a portion of that compensation before I join with you in asking for it. "He will not only have received his money from the insurance company, but he will expect a little blood money before he joins with the company in asking for compensation. The insurance companies will have paid twice over. According to what we are told, the companies will not have the power to ask for the compensation except by getting the party to ask for the money, in which case they will have to pay someone else. I do not know why both parties should come together and why the insurance company should not be the only party to apply for the money they have paid.
§ Mr. DUKE
I do not think the position of the insurance companies and of the insured persons in relation to what is called Sir William Goulding's Committee is quite appreciated. One hon. Member says that the insurance companies, having paid these moneys, have a right to claim them. All they are entitled to at law is the right to be substituted for the insured person who has parted with his legal rights. The insured person has no legal right to come before the Committee—he is there to ask for an ex gratia grant. He has no right to the privilege of going to a Committee set up in favour of the Crown for the purpose of obtaining an ex gratiagrant. What I suggested to my hon Friend (Mr. Turton) was that if the matter could be presented to the Government in such a way as to ensure that the proportion of the demand for compensa- 2208 tion which is to be distributed under the guidance of Sir William Goulding's Committee finds its proper destination—that is, into the hands of those upon whom the loss ultimately falls—a proposal of that kind seems to be consistent with justice, and to be one which ought to receive careful consideration. It is rather a complicated matter when you are dealing, on the one hand, with a legal right, and on the other with the mere privilege of going to a Committee which is set up to make recommendations. If that were a question of legal rights they would be respected. If they make their representation to the Prime Minister or the Treasury I am confident they will receive fair play. In regard to the suggestion of the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Healy) that Sir Robert Chalmers had interfered in some way with Sir William Goulding's Committee I can only say that, having a pretty accurate knowledge of Sir Robert Chalmers views in regard to public administration, I regard it as impossible—
§ Mr. DUKE
I am dealing with the fact. It is not material to me where the statement came from. I believe it is impossible that Sir Robert Chalmers went in any way behind the Minute under which the Committee were appointed. It was appointed by a definite Minute, as such Committees are usually appointed. Their instructions are there and I cannot conceive either that the Committee would have permitted themselves to be deflected from their duty or that any servant of the Crown, much less one of the great experience of Sir Robert Chalmers, would divert the Committee from the duties they had accepted under the Minute by which they were appointed.
I am asked whether if the Government is entertaining applications for Grants out of the Exchequer in respect of loss of property they ought not to the same extent and upon the same principle, to entertain applications in respect of loss of life? Perhaps I may make a practical answer to that question. The cases which have arisen, so far as I am aware, have been collected by the hon. Member (Mr. Nugent). He has laid them before the Government. They are in course of investigation at present, and in those cases where it appears there was a just claim on public grounds properly and fairly to be met out of the 2209 Exchequer that claim will be favourably considered. I cannot say more. These cases are of infinite variety. No one on behalf of the Crown has had any opportunity of investigating them. So far as they require investigation each of them will be investigated.
My hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Raw-linson) asked me to say what is going to be the amount of the Grant. How can I? There is a certain number of cases about which at present those who advise the Crown do not know anything which would lead them to a decision. At this time it is impossible to say whit amount is involved in the question of extending to dependants of killed or wounded persons the same principle which has been applied with regard to property. My own hope is that those cases are not of such a number as to involve what one would call in ordinary times a very serious charge. I can assure my hon. and learned Friend that not only will investigations be carefully made as to the reasonable claims to be compensated from the Exchequer, but the principles upon which the Exchequer usually act will be followed in deciding what is the extent to which the Government will feel warranted in coming to the House of Commons and saying, "Here are the unhappy losses, and as to such a proportion of them the Government advise the House of Commons that in their view it ought to be met by the Exchequer."
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
This applies to property as well as to personal injuries. My first question, which the right hon. Gentleman has answered, was whether before the payment is made it will come before the House of Commons. The second was that so far as property is concerned, is the National Exchequer to bear the whole cost, or is any proportion, and, if so, what, to come from the ratepayers of Dublin who, by the Sub-section we are omitting, are being released from what would have been a very substantial liability?
§ Mr. DUKE
With respect to the point as to what special Vote will provide this money, I would say that these cases will be lawfully provided for, but I have not been long enough in my present office to be familiar with all the details of the financial transactions so as to know precisely upon what Vote they will come. But it must be a Vote which will be sanctioned by this House. The Government has no power of its own to give money—
§ Mr. DUKE
I cannot tell the hon. and learned Gentleman. I would tell him if I could, I assume that the usual financial control of the House will extend to the Vote concerned with this matter. As to the other question, I am able to tell him how the matter stands. The basis upon which the Goulding Commission is dealing with claims and making recommendations is the basis of the assumption of insurance. It proceeds upon the fact of insurance, if it be a fact, and the amount which the insurer must have paid in respect of such insurance. In the case where, unhappily, there was no insurance, it proceeds upon the basis of what would have been the insurance value on a fair view of the premises, and what is the proportion which an insurance company dealing honestly with the matter would have had to meet, assuming the claim to have arisen. The effect of that—there is no mystery about it; it underlay the difficulties about the Bill we were discussing earlier—is that the insurance value and the insurance payments, being decided not by the cost of reinstatement but by other considerations and producing a result which may be considerably below that cost, and the Goulding Commission having made its recommendations on that basis, the inevitable result must be a balance which the unfortunate owners of the property have to provide for. That is why the corporation of Dublin have seen it to be essential in many cases that there should be assistance by way of loan.
§ Mr. P. WHITE
I am afraid that the right hon. Gentleman has given his interpretation of the reference to the Goulding Commission in a way more unfavourable to Ireland than anything yet given. The basis of insurance mentioned in the reference to the Goulding Commission was to be taken as the basis only and not as the limit. I understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that uninsured persons would be paid on the basis of insurance. As we understood it in Dublin it was this: a man may be insured for a certain amount. That may be taken into account as the basis in estimating, but the sum which the Goulding Committee would give him we have interpreted as the actual value of the structure and its contents at the time it was destroyed. That is the way in which it has been regarded in Ireland 2211 up to the present, and I think that that is in consonance with the Home Secretary's view of it, because, if not, let us know where we are. In the statement sent out by Sir William Goulding's Committee they asked for a statement of the value of the stock at the time of the outbreak, and claimants hope to get paid on that basis. I hope that there is not any change in the policy of the Government.
There is another point with which the right hon. Gentleman has not dealt which was raised by the hon. Member for Cambridge University. It is this: If under this Clause we deprive a man of the right which otherwise he would have had of applying to the local authority for compensation for the losses sustained for malicious injury, as is done in a wholesale way by this Clause, and he is refused any compensation by the Goulding Committee, to what source is he to look? I think that this Clause is too sweeping. You should leave it over, and incorporate it in the Reconstruction Bill. I put it to the House as a matter of fair play: Is it right to deprive a man of the privilege which now he can exercise of substantiating claims against the Dublin Corporation and providing no other means by which he can get redress? I think that that is the point raised by the hon. Member for Cambridge University, and it is essential that that point should be cleared up. We will know a little later on how the Goulding Committee will act in these cases. Meantime, this Clause could be incorporated in the Reconstruction Bill which will come up when Parliament reassembles. Is it fair to pass this Clause at the present moment and absolve the local authority from the responsibility which otherwise they would have to bear? If the House think it right, let them take the responsibility, but I think it my duty to say, on behalf of the sufferers in Dublin, that this Clause would work very unfairly?
§ Mr. CLANCY
After the speech which the hon. Member for Cambridge University has just delivered I would like to recall one or two remarks made by the Attorney-General for Ireland in the Debate on the Wednesday of last week. What Sir William Gouldings' Committee will do or will not do has no reference whatever and no relevance to this Clause. If this Clause is rejected the claimants for compensation against the ratepayers 2212 will be thrown back on the law as it now stands. One of the things which are perfectly plain is this, that not one of them could get a penny compensation.
§ Mr. CLANCY
It would be well if the hon. Gentleman could learn to keep his temper even for a moment. There was a complaint that no compensation was to be given for consequential loss for damage to property. It was explained by the Attorney-General for Ireland and also by myself that, under the law as it stands, no claim for consequential damages could possibly be sustained. That has been decided so often in the Irish Courts that it may be taken to be the settled law of that country. Then it was said that there was no compensation offered for the loss of life, and again it was answered by the Attorney-General for Ireland that no claim for compensation could lie for loss of life unless the person claiming the compensation could prove that the loss of life was due to previous efforts on the part of the person killed or injured in preserving the peace, and he added, what everybody knows, that no appreciable number of claims could be sustained by reason of that fact. The special question was tried at Cork Assizes a week before the right hon. and learned Gentleman spoke, and the law was so decided, namely, that however a man was killed or injured he could not get compensation, because no evidence was given of his previous efforts to maintain or preserve the peace in his district or anywhere else. Therefore, if you reestablish or if you take away the Sub-section and say the law has to stand you do not give a single bit of advantage to any persons for whom the hon. Members for Cork and Meath speak now. What is the fact? These payments may be made, and it would necessitate the corporation going into Court, and the result would be that although no money can be recovered on these claims hundreds and thousands of pounds of expense would be incurred by the corporation in resisting them. There is in Dublin now an instance in which is concerned the owner of a considerable property there, which has been destroyed. He has been insured, not only in the ordinary way, but against loss by war or insurrection. He could not get compensation from Sir William Goulding's Commission, 2213 because he had already got it from the insurance company, and without this Clause the result will be that the insurance company will force that man to go against the ratepayers in the County Court. Would that not be a monstrous state of things? Such intolerable nonsense as has been talked on this subject for the last half-hour ought not to be listened to by the Government for one moment. If this Sub-section is not stuck to by the Government, a distinct and serious breach of faith will be committed. In a letter to myself Sir Robert Chalmers, speaking on behalf of the Government, promised this Clause, and not only promised it but he thanked me for supporting it. The letter was published, and no answer has ever been given to it; and I now say that if the Government should give way in the slightest degree to the demand for the exclusion of this Clause, they will add one more to the list, I think already too long a list, of broken pledges to the Irish public.
§ Mr. J. H. CAMPBELL
It is quite true that the Government have given a distinct and unqualified pledge to the corporation that a Clause of this kind would appear in the Kill, and therefore they cannot even consider the suggestion of the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. P. White). There is this much to be said, that this Clause would be more in harmony with the other Bill, but not with the fulfilment of the Government pledge, and so far as the Government's pledge is concerned, there it must remain, and we cannot be any party to any alteration of it, or to any transfer of it from this Bill to any other Bill, There is ^. e other matter I want to make quite clear, especially so that there may be no confusion in tie mind of the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. Healy), who raised the question with regard to the insurance companies. The reason why the Government intervened and consented to make this ex gratiâ Grant was this: It was found in the majority of cases that the insurance policies which were taken out upon the buildings which have unfortunately been destroyed, did not render the insurance companies liable where the loss occurred by reason of civil commotion or military operations. Therefore, if the Government had not come to the rescue, the owners of property would have had no remedy against the insurance companies, since the policies did not cover a case where the property was destroyed or injured as the 2214 result of civil commotion or military operation. But it is not to be understood, and my right hon. and learned Friend the Chief Secretary never intended to convey to the hon. Gentleman who put the question that in cases where, on the face of the policy, this risk was covered—and in some cases the policy covered the risk of civil commotion, rebellion, or military operations—that there should be any grant of any sort or kind. The Government never contemplated, and do not now contemplate, that there should be any grant of any sort or kind to the insurance companies in such cases, and for the obvious reason that the insurance companies have got their premiums on the faith of that policy, and now that they have become liable there is no reason why they should be indemnified by anybody when they are fulfilling contracts and carrying out obligations. I was anxious that there should be no confusion in the mind of anybody in the Committee on that point, and that the position might be clearly understood. With regard to the point of the hon. Member for North Meath (Mr. White) that it might be that the amount awarded by the Goulding Committee might in some cases not amount to the sum the applicant would have recovered had he been left his ordinary Statute remedy under the Malicious Injuries Acts. That is true if I could conceive any case that could possibly arise which is not covered by the reference to the Goulding Committee, and if that were so I would be personally inclined to say there was something in the point. But so far as injury to the person is concerned, there is certainly no such case. There is no machinery and no law in Ireland to-day existing that I know of that enables any person merely because he has been injured in civil commotion or any action of the military to recover damages for that from any local authority and so far as injury to a person is concerned this Clause, in my opinion, deprives nobody of any benefit. As to injury to property, I cannot conceive how a claim could possibly lie under the Malicious Injuries Act, whether it was caused by the rebels themselves or whether it was caused by the military operations. It would be very difficult. The phraseology of the Act is precise, the decisions have defined the subject matter and scope of the various sections, and under these decisions I cannot conceive of any case resulting from the recent outbreak that could be made the subject matter of a claim under the Malicious Injuries Acts, 2215 as regards either person or property. Therefore I do not think the Committee need be anxious under the idea that any existing right has been taken from anyone. I think it was a wise precaution to insert the provision, for this reason—that many people would bring claims on the off-chance. If a man thinks he may win £3,000 by investing in a solicitor and counsel to the extent of £50, he will have a gamble and take his chance. But that exposes the local authority to the necessity of expensive litigation, it causes delay and involves much expense for witnesses and professional men. Therefore, I think it was wise to put the provision in the Bill.
§ Mr. TURTON
Before I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment, I should like to explain. I was referring only to plate glass insurance. Where it is entirely for the convenience of the insured person to get his money, or to get his plate glass restored at the earliest possible moment there is a Clause by which he can transfer his rights to the insurance company. I will not debate the matter further, as I understand we are entitled to place our views before the Chief Secretary. Some words which I used with regard to Sir Robert Chalmers have been twisted by the hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. Healy) in a way in which they certainly have no right to be twisted. The hon. and learned Member is on the war-path tonight, but I regret that he should have made this attack upon a public official in Ireland. Every Irish paper on the 16th June had an official communication with regard to Sir William Goulding's Committee. It is obvious on the face of it that there is not the slightest atom of a suggestion that can be twisted in the way attempted by the hon. and learned Member. So far as I am concerned, I say distinctly that I wish not the smallest impression to be left on the Committee that Sir R. Chalmers has acted in any other way than we should expect a right-spirited public servant to do.
The hon. Member below me (Mr. Turton) made a statement upon which I placed my interpretation. If that interpretation is incorrect, I gladly accept the hon. Member's correction. I have no desire whatever to attack Sir R. Chalmers. But the statement has been made to-night by one of the Members for Dublin that the effect of the decision of 2216 the Goulding Committee is that they may give far less, or, at any rate, something less than was expected, and that statement is borne out by the Chief Secretary. When I heard the right hon. Gentleman make the statement I thought it was in consequence of some direct intervention of Sir R. Chalmers. I am glad to hear that the Goulding Committee are to be allowed an unfettered discretion. If that is so, I hope there is no foundation for the suggestion that they will not give the very fullest amount of compensation to which the loss entitles the sufferers. I humbly concur in the law as laid down by the learned Attorney-General. At the same time, in past cases when the Government have taken away the right, they accompanied that subtraction of right with the correlative duty of supplying it in other ways. Take the case of the Trafalgar Square Riots in February, 1886., Immediately Mr. Gladstone announced, as those sufferers had no means of getting an adequate sum, if at all, that a Bill would be brought in to enable those persons to make their claims, and they were duly met. This relieved all those persons from responsibility of what had occurred in a civil commotion. I have said that in the main I concur in the action of the Government, but that action carries with it the correlative duty on the part of the Government, seeing they admit their duty to provide the loss that that loss should be provided for in the Vote. My hon. Friend the Member for Meath has made the suggestion that where the loss has not been met by insurance the Government ought to provide for such cases.
The prevailing impression is that the Goulding Committee will not provide adequate or full compensation, or compensation at all in certain cases. The hon. Member gave an instance of a man whose horses were injured in the rebellion, and after the rebellion had to be shot. The Goulding Committee negatived the theory that it was under an obligation to compensate for such loss. My hon. Friend suggested that if there was a laeuva in their proceedings, either these parties ought to be allowed to make good their claim in a Court of law or the Government should itself do as he suggested. The less Sir Robert Chalmers is seen by Irish Members the better. The arrangement did not turn out so happily in regard to Sir M. Nathan, when the telephone was going the whole time from 2217 Dublin Castle to the house of a certain Nationalist Member during the Dublin rebellion. I find it difficult to understand the extraordinary amount of zeal shown by the hon. Member to whom reference has been made. It may leave an injurious effect upon his fellow citizens. Though this Clause may only confer a very nebulous right, yet at the same time there are cases unprovided for, and I think that this Clause should be postponed. What harm would postponement do? The cases are hung up. There is no idea of persevering with them. I cannot for my part see what the bargain is between the Government and the Member for Dublin. I construe it this way: Last week there appeared on the Paper a series of objections to the Time (Ireland) Bill. All those very patriotic speeches were made in reference to that Bill, and Members swore they would die on the floor of the House before they allowed English time to be applied to Ireland. To-night I find all those notices have disappeared. Therefore, when I hear all these threats I do not attach any importance to them. Their threats are now useless. They are a discredited party. Everyone knows it. Their power is gone. They are mere automatons. Their very leader has deserted them. [An Hon. MEMBER: "Where is your leader?"] I am my own leader.
I have not been elected by bribery and corruption, and I have not become a bankrupt in consequence. I do not speak here as a bankrupt at all, but as a man who has honestly paid his debts, and I am speaking in favour of those who are striving to assert their rights. The Government are taking away the right of correlative remedy, and I strongly suggest to the Government it is most expedient in a case of this kind to let the law stand until we know what the Report of Sir William Goulding's Committee will be.
§ Mr. WHITE
The Attorney-General has not answered my question. I would like him to take this question seriously. I have a letter from the owner of the two horses which were shot, about which a question has been put in this House asking what he shall do, having been refused compensation by Sir William Goulding's 2218 Committee. If he has no right of claim against the corporation or the local authority, what redress has that individual if you pass the Clause in this Bill Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman advise me?
§ Mr. J. H. CAMPBELL
I think the obvious answer would be that if his right is taken away under this Bill, and Sir William Goulding's Committee does not consider his claim good, then he has no redress. That would seem necessarily to follow. But the hon. Member must really be under a mistake as to the facts about these two horses which he has quoted more than once. [An HON. MEMBER: "One of them was a donkey!"] Wherever the hon. Member has got his facts, I think a little further investigation will convince him he has not got the full facts.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
If you had, I do not think you would be able to put the case, because I think the Committee would have given compensation. If the facts are as the hon. Member puts them I can hardly conceive that a sensible business man like Sir William Goulding would not have entertained the claim. Therefore, my own impression is that probably the hon. Member has been misinformed, but, assuming he has not, then it is one of those cases in which some inconvenience and some loss have been sustained by the inhabitants of Dublin. I know as a result of the rebellion serious inconvenience and loss, and, in many cases, pecuniary damage have been sustained, and it could not in any shape or form come under malicious injury or ex gratia claims.
§ 11.0 P.M
§ Mr. SCANLAN
It appears to me that the hon. Member has been well advised in asking leave to withdraw his Amendment. This Clause takes away no right, and it is a very useful one because it prevents a number of persons from perpetuating what would be a most manifest wrong. Unless this Clause is inserted you will leave the door open to a number of people to prefer bogus claims against the Corporation of Dublin and other public bodies in Ireland, and there is no one in this Committee who wishes to encourage bogus claims of that kind. After what has been said by the hon. Member for Thirsk (Mr. Turton), who dissociated himself from the attack of the hon. and learned Member for East Cork, 2219 it is not necessary to say anything. The hon. and learned Member has thought fit now, without any relevancy to the subject under discussion, to make an attack on one of my colleagues. He spoke of people in a position of bankruptcy, and he has the indecency to throw about his own money bags and wealth. At any rate he cannot boast of his political wealth or standing in any constituency in Ireland. The hon. and learned Member talks of a readiness to go to the constituencies, but the last time he went he got an opportunity of cooling his heels, until his leader, the hon. Member for Cork City (Mr. W. O'Brien), got a Tory friend to vacate a seat, and it is by the resignation of that Tory that my hon. Friend sits here and seeks to misrepresent the Nationalist cause.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."
§ Mr. P. WHITE
I oppose the Third Beading of this Bill because it is bad in principle and it is a measure that might very well be left until next week or until after the Adjournment. It is a very serious matter for some poor people in Dublin who may have lost their means of livelihood. For these reasons I object to the Third Reading.
§ Mr. BRADY
I wish to ask the Attorney-General whether the Government are prepared to make any provision for the costs incurred in applications in connection with the law of documents and perpetuating testimony. It was my intention to move an Amendment in Committee but I had the privilege of a discussion with the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. J. H. Campbell), and as the result I did not move. It would, however, be very satisfactory if the right hon. and learned Gentleman would tell us exactly how the matter stands.
§ Mr. J. H. CAMPBELL
I have been in communication with the Incorporated Law Society as well as with the hon. Member for St. Stephen's Green, Dublin (Mr. Brady), on this very point. I must remind the House that this Bill has done a great 2220 deal for these unfortunate members of the solicitors' profession whose premises have been destroyed. In the first place, they have been allowed and encouraged to apply to this Goulding Committee with regard to any of their property, including deeds.
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
Yes. In addition to that, we have inserted a Clause protecting them from any liability in any suit or proceedings in connection with any loss of any deed. We have also given power to them to perpetuate testimony in regard to these documents. We have gone very great lengths, but, notwithstanding the good standing and eminence of these gentlemen, all of whom are personally known to myself, human nature being what it is, I should not like to be responsible for a Bill which contained a Clause in it that solicitors could be paid out of public funds the costs of applications which they might choose—
§ Mr. CAMPBELL
The litigant's interests are being well looked after, because he has the privilege, which he did not have before, of having a copy of these deeds treated as the original. He has also the privilege of perpetuating testimony with regard to the law of documents. It is not too much, if he is going to enjoy these privileges, that he should pay for them.
I hope that my hon. Friend (Mr. P. White) will not persist in his opposition to the Third Reading of this Bill. It contains only one objectionable Clause, and we know now from the hon. Member for North Dublin (Mr. Clancy) that Clause was the subject of a special bargain between himself and Sir Robert Chalmers, and, of course, that being so, it will be enthusiastically received by all Irish Members. I myself think that it is an unfortunate one and that at this stage it is premature, but the Bill, as a. whole, being a necessary Bill and one which the Government were well advised and entitled to introduce, the fact that there is one bad Clause in it I do not think should induce any of us to vote against the Third Reading.
There is only one other remark I would like to make, and it is this. I am sorry 2221 this Clause should have formed the subject of a bargain on the Time Bill. The Time Bill may be a good or a bad Bill, but I regret that the long list of patriotic names in opposition to the Time Bill should have disappeared from the Notice Paper, as the result of the Government having agreed to this Clause.
§ Sir E. CARSON
I myself have looked into this Bill with some care, and upon the whole I think the Bill was a necessary outcome of the unfortunate things that happened in Dublin. But I am bound to say that I regret exceedingly that this particular Clause as to the abolition of the right to seek compensation has been put in the form in which it is in this Bill. I cannot see myself, if there is any right to obtain compensation in the circumstances, that occurred to individuals in Dublin or elsewhere, by what right the Government have to take the right of action away without providing compensation in lieu thereof Were it not that I approve the Bill generally, as the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Healy) just said he did, I certainly would have offered opposition to the Bill. For my own part, I cannot understand also why the Government have drawn such a broad distinction between injury to property and injury to individuals as they have done. It is a very cruel distinction. I have had case after case submitted to me arising out of this unfortunate rebellion in Dublin in which individuals have received injuries of the most horrible character, have been debarred from earning their livelihood, have had to pay their medical expenses, and have had to incur expenses which may probably lead them into great difficulties. The Government have cared nothing about these things at all. All they have thought of is the rebuilding of the City, and giving the provisions of relief to property owners, or owners of title-deeds, and other matters of that kind, contained in this Bill. I would say to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, the Chief Secretary, that I hope we have not heard the last of compensation in relation to the personal loss of individuals. The hon. and learned Member for North-East Cork (Mr. Healy) has said that there was some bargain over the Time Bill. All I can say is that I am anxious that the Time Bill should pass, but that is not a matter on which I shall spend a sleepless night if it does not pass. I made no bargain, and I heard of no bargain in relation to the Time Bill. I do hope, and I do press upon the Govern- 2222 ment in all fairness, that they should consider the claims of these men who from want of proper protection on the part of the Government, at all events the Coalition Government, have not received that protection, that ordinary police protection, which is the elementary right of every citizen. They have suffered loss in consequence of the criminal negligence of the Government, and the Government should reconsider the question and consider whether these people should not be just as much entitled to compensation as owners of property.
§ Mr. DUKE
I can inform the hon. Member for Meath (Mr. White) that all these cases of loss by death, of loss by wounds, and of loss to relatives which has been collected and forwarded to the Government are at the present moment receiving consideration as to whether it would be proper and consistent with the ordinary rules as to the expenditure of public money that the principle which has been applied with regard to losses of material property should be extended to loss of life and loss by injury.