(resuming): In reference to what the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Duke) said, that the provision to come 2119 to Parliament was suggested as coming from property owners, I beg him to remember that that was on the understanding that this Bill was likely to pass as a whole, and if the Bill was to pass as a whole that would be a very proper safeguard. What I am limiting myself to is the suggestion of a scheme dealing with the beautification of the city, and that alone, minus this provision of borrowing from the rates. If this provision disappears, then there will be very little fear that anyone will have to resort either to Parliament or anywhere else by way of appeal from the corporation. I have practically dealt with most of the points that arise. I regard this Bill as a snare held out by the Treasury to induce the citizens of Dublin to shoulder a burden which should fall upon the Treasury itself. I regard the fact that there is not some mention in the Bill of the manner in which the ratepayers of Dublin are to be burdened as a very grave matter. I regard this Bill being introduced in defiance of the Standing Orders without the usual notices as deplorable. Four months have elapsed since the rebellion. In that four months, if the Corporation of Dublin had any general scheme for the beautification of the city or the widening of the streets, there was ample time for them to have prepared the plans. Ordinarily, when you are taking the property of the subject, you must lodge the plans of the land you propose to take. No suggestion has been thrown out by the corporation as to whose property or whose houses it is proposed should be taken. There has been nothing in the shape of a plan drawn up, yet this Bill has been introduced by the Government. Furthermore, whereas if, in the ordinary course, a corporation is about to spend money on a particular scheme or even to come to Parliament for a Bill it has to comply with the Borough Funds Act, and the citizens have to be assembled and have to approve of the Bill under that Act. Here all those protections which the ratepayer has against his property being burdened have disappeared, because the Government have introduced this as a public Bill when upon its face and in every lineament it is, in fact, a Bill of a private character. Ought the Government, therefore, at a time when no register exists, when the body itself is stale and there is even no chance of holding a ward election to test the feeling of the public, to have stepped in with this proposal and to have 2120 thrown a burden of £750,000 upon the citizens of Dublin which, in fact, ought to be borne by the Treasury itself?
I can only say that of recent years we have had good ground of suspicion in regard to those who have been appointed as Under-Secretaries from the financial point of view. The late Under-Secretary clearly was sent over in order to swindle Ireland over the details of the Home Rule Bill. That was the mission he had, and it was in that light that he was regarded. He has disappeared. If the Sinn Fein revolt did nothing else but get rid of him, I would not say it was a revolt in vain. It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good, and the wind that blew him back across the Channel was certainly not an ill wind so far as Ireland is concerned. This Bill is the Bill of his successor, Sir Robert Chalmers, one of the keenest Treasury officials as far as concerns trying to exact money from the Irish people and to relieve the Treasury of its obligations. In this year Ireland's taxes have been increased from £10,000,000 to £22,000,000 for the purposes of the War, but whereas in England the thousands of millions being spent are very largely going to the pockets of Englishmen, of the £22,000,000 of Irish taxes 1 doubt if £1,000,000, or at the most £2,000,000, will be spent in that country. Whatever is necessary under this Bill, as this revolt arose out of the state of war and was an additional infliction upon us of the War condition and as our taxes have been more than doubled, I suggest it would be only reasonable that the pledge given by the Prime Minister should be implemented solely by a Grant. If that is done, then the King's High Planner, of whom we have heard, will be able to come over to Dublin and give us Royal views upon architecture and adornment, and he or his substitute will be cheerfully welcomed, because if the Government is going to provide the money it is only right that they should, to some extent, be allowed to call the tune. I protest in the strongest way I can against the £750,000 being flung upon the ratepayers of Dublin by a body which has not had the opportunity of going to its constituents, in regard to which there is no register to enable an election to take place, and against imposing upon the property owners a delay in dealing with their affairs and businesses which is wholly unnecessary and which can be avoided if they are allowed to do as they ought to do, namely, get about their business in the quickest way open to them.
§ Mr. CLANCY
The hon. and learned Member for North-East Cork (Mr. T. M. Healy) has made an attaek, not only upon this Bill, but also upon the Dublin Corporation. I do not intend to allude to every point in that attack, but perhaps I may be allowed to correct one statement which I venture to say is untrue and another statement which was intended to prejudice the cause of this Bill by damaging the name of the corporation. The hon. and learned Gentleman stated—I do not know why he stated it except for the purpose of throwing dirt upon the corporation—that five members of that body were connected with the recent insurrection. There are eighty members of the corporation, and, so far as I can discover, only five concerned were taken notice of by the Government as taking part in any way in the insurrection. As regards those who formed the committee to deal with this matter, one member is one of the most prominent Unionists in Dublin, namely, Alderman Macarthy. The hon. and learned Member stated that there was no single resolution passed by the Dublin Corporation approving of the proceedings in connection with this Bill. On the 3rd July this year a meeting of the corporation was held, which was largely attended. On that occasion a report of the deputation that had been sent across to interview the Prime Minister, with reference to obtaining money for these proceedings, was read. It was adopted, and in the course of the proceedings on the report it was stated:The objects sought by the deputation were two. It was explained that the purposes of the proposed loan were, first, to enable the corporation to lend money to those citizens whose premises were destroyed so as to assist them, in addition to the ex gratia Grant, in rebuilding according to the requirements of the corporation; and, secondly, to enable the corporation themselves to borrow money for the necessary street widenings and improvements and to purchase themselves any sites which the occupying tenants did not propose to rebuild upon.After that report had been read the following resolution was passed:That we adopt the report of the deputation as read by the town clerk; that the right hon. the lord Mayor—and other members of the corporation, including two Unionists—be and are hereby appointed a committee to complete the negotiations with the Government and to prepare and transact an improvement scheme for the reconstruction of the destroyed areas and to do all things necessary in connection therewith.If that is not an authority to the committee which has undertaken this work I do not know what the expression "authority" means. But I do not rise to defend 2122 the corporation, yet I think an explanation of what has taken place will be not only a complete defence of the corporation, but also a complete defence of the Bill as it was introduced. What has the corporation done? After the Prime Minister, speaking on behalf of the Government, had promised this ex gratia Grant and had agreed to appoint the Commission which has been referred to—Sir William Goulding's Commission—the Lord Mayor and the committee of the corporation set themselves to do two things—first, to see that the reconstruction was carried out in a proper manner and in a fashion worthy of probably the finest thoroughfare in these islands; and, secondly, to help those who might be injured in the execution of that reconstruction scheme. It is rather interesting to recall the fact that, in the first place, they did not ask for a loan. They did not propose to pay any money or put any burden whatever on the ratepayers. They asked for a Grant on each of the same grounds as those put forward by the hon. and learned Member as grounds upon which a Grant ought to be made even at the present time, and on the principle that those who, to use the phrase of the hon. and learned Member, pay the money should call the tune, agreed that the disbursement of the money should not rest in the hands of the corporation at all, but that it should be put into the hands of a Commission, totally independent of the persons to whom the money would be paid. They pressed that upon the Government. They went to the Prime Minister and he refused a Grant. They asked the Home Secretary when he was in temporary charge of Irish affairs and he would not have it.
The Government absolutely refused to make a Grant, and then we did the next best thing. We asked for a loan which the corporation might re-lend to those people who would be injured or unable to proceed with the execution of the plans of the corporation, and we had a memorable interview with the Prime Minister. I am sorry he is not here, but I am perfectly certain he will not contradict anything I say. We asked for a loan in order that the exercise of these powers might not work injustice to individuals. He said he would make arrangements with the Treasury for a loan of the amount required, and he told us to go back to the Local Government Board—It was not our own suggestion, it was his—and in conjunction with them to frame a scheme for carrying out this business of reconstruction. The corporation did go 2123 back, as he suggested, to the Local Government Board, and the result is the Bill before the House. For most of the provisions of that Bill there is actual legislative precedent. You will find similar proposals in the Town Planning Act. You will find the abolition of a resort to Parliament enacted in two recent Acts of Parliament relating to Ireland—first, the Labourers Act, 1906; and, second, the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1908—and the working of the schemes under both those Acts has been most satisfactory; the justice of them has never been questioned; they have had an appeal to the Courts in Ireland, and in the case of the Housing of the Working Classes Acts no appeal has ever been taken to the final authority. There is scarcely a provision in the Bill that is not based on actual legislation, and if this Bill-were proposed for any English corporation under similar circumstances no one would think of opposing it. If, for instance, it were proposed for Exeter, I am certain that not a single man in the House would refuse it, and I am perfectly certain the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Duke) would be found supporting it. What are the provisions of the Bill? I wish to go into the matter, because, after all, whether he intended it or not, the hon. and learned Gentleman has really presented a caricature of the Bill. The first Clause is based on a provision of the Labourers Act, 1906, and the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1908, by which, as I have said, the resort to Parliament is abolished, and the merit of it is that it avoids a Government inquiry, it avoids double expense, and it avoids delay. First, there is an inquiry before an official of the Local Government Board. There is an appeal to the Local Government Board itself, and they consider the matter further. Before these changes in the law were made you had to come to Parliament and present a Bill, and if it were opposed the parties were left to fight it out. They were to examine -witnesses, employ counsel, and go through all the formalities, and each Bill cost hundreds or thousands of pounds. The change made by those two Acts was to abolish that second inquiry and all this expense and delay and have it confirmed by the Local Government Board in Ireland acting as a final tribunal. So much for Clause 1.
The second Clause gives the local authority powers regarding buildings which 2124 ought to be possessed by every local authority in the United Kingdom, and the existing laws do to some extent recognise the justice of that because they provide, as regards new buildings, powers approaching in the direction of the powers given- here. I do not think I am revealing any secret when I say the Prime Minister actually stated that he thought they had those powers already. At any rate he said they ought to have them. However, to take away all cause for alarm, to make everybody sure that nothing wrong is contemplated and that no sinister object was involved, it was agreed between the corporation and the Local Government Board that the Local Government Board should be the head and tail of every proceeding under the Bill. I think the Chief Secretary will admit that I am giving a fair description of the Bill, and anyone can find it out for himself. From the very first Clause in it down to the very last the trail of the Local Government Board is over it. In addition, some of these powers to make by-laws regulating buildings are in principle established by a number of private Acts passed by this House. If hon. Members will look into the local and private Acts of 1915 they will find there private Acts, that is local Acts, passed for Dewsbury, Rotherham, Doncaster and Lincoln, in all of which the principle is asserted that the public interest must prevail wherever private rights are in danger of conflicting with them, and that is expressed and brought into the Acts of Parliament by a provision of this kind, namely, that when an owner is developing his estate near a city, he shall not be allowed to develop it just as he likes. He is not allowed to treat his property as if it was his own. On the contrary, in every one of these Acts, the hon. Member will find that so lately as 1915 provisions were enacted by which every such owner, before he proceeds to develop his estate, to make a street, or put a stone on a stone for a house, must lay all his plans before the local authority—not the Local Government Board at all but the local authority—and get their sanction. I do not think there is a single corporation in England which would be denied these powers if it asked for them, and a good many have similar powers. I should like to know, if these powers are not given, what reconstruction is possible under the circumstances which have taken place in Dublin. Just now there are steps being taken to reconstruct the cities in northern 2125 France and Belgium at the end of the War. An exhibition was held a few weeks ago of plans drawn up for that very purpose. They do not hold these things in France and mean to do nothing with them. On the contrary, it is perfectly plain that when the War is over these plans will be carried out, and very little concern indeed will be paid to the private owners whose rights may be interfered with, but who would be deemed to be standing in the way of the public interest and the beautification and restoration of the country.
Then there is a Clause providing for the lending and repayment of the money, and here agan every step in the affair is controlled by the final decision of the Local Government Board. The amount of the advance is to be sanctioned by the Local Government Board, so that it will not be too small on the one hand, or too large on the other. The mode in which it is to be repaid, the amount of the instalments, and the time at which they are to be paid are within the control of the Local Government Board, and the rate of interest is within the control of the Local Government Board, except that they cannot go beyond 10s. per cent. of the difference over the rate at which the money is borrowed from the Government. Finally, the actual form of the mortgage is to be sanctioned by the Local Government Board.
§ Mr. CLANCY
That is a most irrelevant observation. I do not understand it at all. Then there is Clause 4, authorising the acquisition of derelict property. The greatest care is taken to safeguard the rights of owners there, because the very first provision in it is that two years must elapse before any steps are taken under the Clause, so as to allow the owner full opportunity of making all the use he likes of his land, and showing that he does not intend to leave it derelict. Finally, the corporation, so little have they of sinister motive in mind, so little did they want to burden the community or to force loans upon people at usurious rates of interest, have actually invited the association that represents the owners whose property has been destroyed to join the committee for the purpose of consultation. I do not know how much further they could go to prove their bona fides and their sincerity. How have they been met, and how have they been met to-night? The very men whom 2126 they sought to help, and whom the corporation sought to help, have petitioned against this Bill. They went to the Chief Secretary the other day, we are informed by the public Press, with suggestions the adoption of any one of which would justify the corporation in rejecting the Bill altogether; but, as the corporation was anxious to save the Bill if possible and render possible a reconstruction of the city without injustice to anyone, the committee of the corporation again manifested its bona fides and sincerity by agreeing to several of these suggestions. For instance, they agreed that the Bill should be sent to a Select Committee as a condition of passing the Second Reading before the Recess. That is a large concession. If it was not absolutely necessary, it is a most disastrous concession from the point of view of avoiding delay, because Parliament will not reassemble till 10th October, and when 10th October comes the Committee will have to be selected, and it will take some time before it sets to work, it will take evidence and hear the speeches of counsel, I suppose, on both sides, and, therefore, we may look forward to two or three months before any step whatever can be taken under this Bill, whereas, as we told the Prime Minister, we cannot wait a year, six months, three months, or two months if this reconstruction scheme is to be carried through at all in any reasonable time. They agreed to this course, which would involve indefinite delay. They agreed to emasculate Clause 1, which abolishes the reference to Parliament. I think that is a serious blow to the Bill. I think it is a disastrous change made in the Bill. It involves indefinite delay, double investigation, and double expense. Next, they agreed to the elimination of the Local Government Board as the final authority. That seems to me a very extraordinary concession to make. The Local Government Board has not been a very popular institution in Ireland. We have had on many occasions to arraign the Local Government Board in the House of Commons for acts of administration which, in my opinion, ought to have been prevented. But, as the Chief Secretary said truly to-day, the property owners came along and asked for the elimination of the Local Government Board and the substitution for that tribunal of some so-called independent outside authority. To some extent, but not to the whole extent, the corporation have agreed to 2127 the change They agreed on two conditions. The right hon. Gentleman will bear me out in this—because it was conveyed to him in a letter from the corporation—that they agreed on two conditions (1) that the constitution of the outside body should be subject to discussion and, I presume, satisfactory to the corporation; (2) that the passage of the Bill should be guaranteed without further concession, and (3) that no further compensation is to be given at the expense of the ratepayers. Of course, if the Government gives a Grant I have nothing more to say. We should not then have a locus standi. It would be their business to see how it was expended. We do not grudge these gentlemen any money they are able to get from the Government, but I do think it is an extraordinary thing that they should ask for compensation from ratepayers of Dublin who are not responsible for their misfortune. All I can say to the right hon. Gentleman is this—and I am speaking with the assent of the representatives of the corporation—that we will never assent to any proposal of that kind. It is said that these gentlemen will be injured. I cannot understand how they will be injured. This independent authority, if it is set up, will first of all have to say what by-laws ought to be enacted and where in any case injury would be inflicted without the modification of these by-laws or the plans consequent upon them. That, it seems to me, is sufficient protection. Suppose they say, "We do not want the Bill. We do not need these buildings." If they do not need them, at any rate they will have the improved property, but it is monstrous to say that they should be presented with new property at the expense of their fellow ratepayers. Supposing a man says, "I do not want these additional rooms to my house, or these additional storeys to the building." Nothing is to prevent them from actually letting the rooms at a profitable rent, as is done in London, Manchester, Birmingham, and other big places, thereby recouping themselves for the instalments and interest out of the rents so paid. I do not understand how they are going to be injured.
It is best to be perfectly frank, especially with the right hon. Gentleman. We sought—and I am speaking what I know to be the truth—while securing the reconstruction of the city in a worthy manner, to benefit these gentlemen who 2128 are now petitioning against the Bill, and whose voice has been heard to-night in the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. T. M. Healy). If these further concessions are asked for, and especially if any proposal is made to take compensation out of the ratepayers' pockets for the benefit of those men, we do not want this Bill at all, and the right hon. Gentleman would spare himself a lot of trouble if before the Debate concludes he got up and said, "I withdraw the Bill." We do not want to burden the ratepayers unnecessarily. We never intended to burden them, and I do not believe that any burden would have fallen upon them. The persons who borrowed the money would have repaid it. They could have been made to repay it. They would have prospered upon it, and the city would have been reconstructed in a proper fashion. But if the right hon. Gentleman or anybody else thinks—certainly if a large body of opinion representing these owners think they would be better without the Bill—
§ Mr. CLANCY
Then I promise the right hon. Gentleman that there would be no great opposition on the part of the corporation of Dublin to the withdrawal of the Bill, and we will see then who will be sorry in the end.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
When this Bill was before the House on the previous occasion I asked the Attorney-General whether he could give us any information as to whether or not there would be a Bill, which would require the sanction of this House, authorising either the loan or the Grant. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, in his reply, was not acquainted with what actually would take place. I understood my right hon. and learned Friend to say that he thought that in all probability the money would be found out of the Vote of Credit.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL for IRELAND (Mr. J. H. Campbell)
The right hon. Gentleman is mistaken. What I was referring to on that occasion was the compensation provided by Sir William Goulding's Committee. That is not the sum of money dealt with in this Bill at all.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
There is to be money dealt with under this Bill, and if the money which is to be dealt with under Sir William Goulding's Bill is to be handed over, or apparently has been handed over, 2129 out of the Vote of Credit, and without any sanction of this House I think that is wrong. Everyone will agree that it was never intended, when this House sanctioned the Vote of Credit, that the money was to be used for this purpose. I do not say whether it is a good purpose or a bad purpose. We sanctioned the Vote of Credit on the understanding that the money was to be used for war purposes and not for purposes of this kind. Therefore, I think it is doubly necessary, unless the Bill is withdrawn, that we should have some assurance from the Government that Votes of Credit should not be used for this purpose, but that we in this House should have some control over the finances of the country, and that a Bill should be brought in authorising the expenditure of that money.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
It seems to me that there is a grant of public money which is to be provided for in this Bill. There is no Clause in italics, and there is no way that I know of in which this money can be obtained unless a Bill is introduced. I understand that it is not the intention of the Government to introduce a Bill. Therefore it might be that English Members who will have to find the money would refuse to give a Second Reading to this Bill unless they knew they were to have some control over the finding of the money. Sub-section (2) of Clause 3, of this Bill says:
The advance shall not exceed the difference between the amount which the Local Government Board certify to be the total cost of rebuilding or restoring the house or building in such manner as aforesaid and the amount of the compensation granted out of public moneys….
Therefore, I think I have some right to ask the Government where this public money is coming from, and whether or not we should have a Bill which will give the House an opportunity of expressing their opinion, first, upon the amount—because that is the important point—and secondly, upon the advisability. I think that is necessary, because the hon. and learned Member (Mr. Healy) says that in all probability the present corporation will not be long with us. He has said that two of the members are in penal servitude, two are interned, and of the remainder three-fourths would not be re- 2130 elected if there were a general election in connection with the corporation. Under these circumstances I think it is doubly necessary that we should have some information as to how this money is to be found, and that we should have an opportunity of discussing the amount and the method of its being given. I would like also to call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the fact that there is a Clause in this Bill which authorises betterment. That is a very contentious subject, and I do not quite see what it has got to do with the rebuilding of Dublin, if rebuilding can be proceeded with at the present time. I think by an Order in Council the Minister of Munitions has stated that there is to be no building, operations which have not already been commenced for a sum of more than £500 in each case. Therefore, it seems to me to-be rather difficult how they are to get over that and to commence building operations. In any Emergency Bill on an emergency subject I question the right of the Government to introduce a controversial principle like betterment. That ought to have been reserved for ordinary times, especially as we have the pledge of the Government that no controversial legislation will be introduced.
§ Mr. P. WHITE
I beg to move to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this date three months."
I rise for the purpose of drawing attention to some very oppressive principles in this Bill. The hon. and learned Member for North Dublin said that if property owners in Dublin were opposed to this Bill he certainly would not press it.
§ Mr. CLANCY
I said that if any further concessions were made, and especially if any concession was made in the direction of providing further compensation out of the ratepayers' money which they borrowed themselves, we would not have the Bill.
§ Mr. WHITE
I oppose this Bill because nobody has asked for it. The Corporation of Dublin has not asked for it. Since the Bill was put into print on last Friday week no meeting of the corporation has been held, and no resolution was passed asking anybody to press for this Bill. No doubt a committee was appointed in 2131 July to deal with certain matters connected with the reconstruction of the city, but that committee was appointed at a time when it was believed that we would get a free Grant. A statement was made in the Press of Dublin that the Lord Mayor was likely to get £750,000 of a free Grant, and it was contradicted the next day. It was said that the Prime Minister did not say that and that he only heard somebody say that the Prime Minister said it. The hon. and learned Member has referred to the Acts dealing with the labourers' cottages in Ireland. The largest item they ever dealt with was the sum of £40 or £50 for the purchase of a labourer's plot.
§ Mr. WHITE
Is there any analogy between purchasing a labourer's plot in a rural district and dealing with the most valuable property in the City of Dublin, involving, between goodwill and reconstruction, from £4,000,000 to £5,000,000? There is no analogy whatever. He has justified this Bill apart from any changes proposed in it by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. In my opinion a more oppressive Bill and one interfering more directly with the rights of property was never introduced into this House. It is the legislative progeny of the Dublin Corporation and the Local Government Board, and Clause 1 provides that if there is any appeal against the Corporation of Dublin it must be decided absolutely and finally by the Local Government Board, who, with the corporation, is the joint parent of this Bill. That is a most objectionable system and opposed to the most elementary principles of British justice. There is no such power given to anybody in England, either to the Local Government Board or any local authority.
The hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to the Town Planning Act. That was discussed for twenty-three days in Committee upstairs, and was thrashed out fully there. When it came down to this House at the end of the Session, so determined was the House to discuss the novel principles introduced into the Bill that it asked the Government to hold it up for another year, and it was held up a full year and further discussed. The Town Planning Act in England has nothing to do with æsthetic principles. It brings no ideas imported from Paris or 2132 Italy into the heart of London. It is purely a matter of public health, and it is only where land is likely to be used for building purposes, or is in course of development, that there is any power whatever to apply it. That is the opening Clause of the Act. All through the Act it is provided that compensation must be given to any person whose property is injured. There is no such Clause in the Bill before the House at present. The hon. and learned Gentleman says that if any further compensation is given at the expense of the ratepayers the Bill will be opposed. We object to the Local Government Board in Ireland having conferred upon them the powers proposed by this Bill. When the Town Planning Bill was before this House the Government made provision in the First Schedule that where the land proposed to be acquired under the Order consists of or comprises land situate in London or any borough or urban district, the Court shall appoint an impartial person, not in the employment of any Government Department, to hold the inquiry. It is not casting any reflection upon the Dublin Corporation to point out that no local authority is treated under that Act in the manner now proposed; and that, after the full discussion to which I have referred, it was provided that the Local Government Board is not to be the arbitrator, but that an impartial person not connected with any public department. Further, if these recommendations are not complied with, the Order is not to be confirmed. So much for the statement of the hon. and learned Member.
The hon. and learned Member for North-East Cork and myself speak in a special manner for those who have lost property in Dublin, for whom the hon. and learned Member for North Dublin, whomever else he may represent, is not entitled to speak. Clause 2 of this Bill gives a power to the Corporation of Dublin which is not given to any body in this country. It gives that body a most oppressive power without any right of appeal from it. As originally drafted it gave the corporation power to say of what material the house should be made, of what design and alignment, and what should be its general symmetry. From the by-laws so laid down there was originally no appeal whatever to the Local Government Board or anybody else. Was that fair? You can confiscate property by imposing undue charges or oppressive 2133 burdens upon it as easily and as simply as you can confiscate it by an Act of Parliament. This Bill, if passed in its original form would, I believe, ruin half the individual owners of the property destroyed in Dublin.
The Clause authorises the corporation to say what style of buildings should go up. Assuming, for a moment, that the owners had not sufficient money to put up that building, they are compelled to borrow money at a high rate of interest while the War is still in progress, or within two years. Here, in England, you forbid anyone to erect buildings at a cost of more than £500 during the progress of the War. In Ireland you seek to compel people to build to the extent of between £3,000,000 and £4,000,000 within the space of two years, while the War is in progress, and while the wages of workmen and the cost of materials are at the highest point, and you compel them, if need be, to borrow money to execute that work. If they fail to execute it, you have another Clause in the Bill enabling the corporation to go to its partner, the Local Government Board, to get an Order to acquire the property. Is that reasonable or fair? The hon. and learned Gentleman stated that the Dublin Corporation is borrowing money to benefit those people. Those people never asked the Dublin Corporation to borrow any money. Those people have lodged a petition in this House, signed by nine-tenths of the property owners, petitioning against this Bill, and they have asked us to come here to support that petition.
The Corporation of Dublin has undertaken no responsibility whatever under this Bill. Let those who can point to its philanthropy. It is the individual occupier and the individual owner who are going to be crushed under this Bill. The individual owner is the man who alone has to bear the burden of repaying this interest on capital borrowed, not for useful or productive purposes, but for purely ornamental purposes. We protest in the strongest manner that these sites in the City of Dublin shall not by indirect legislation be confiscated. We think we have a right to build on them in the way best adapted to our own business, under the reasonable regulations which are embodied in the Public Health Act or the Town Planning Act of this country. The Town Planning Act gives to no Corporation the power to say what material must be put 2134 into houses. It gives no power to say of what design houses must be, and no power to say that they must be built in general symmetry. Those provisions are embodied, and embodied for the first time, in this Bill, which I say will have the effect of confiscating one-half the property of those who are now the owners of sites and ruined houses in the City of Dublin. The Corporation is the reputed author of the Bill, but it specifically states that it will not lend the money unless the security is as good as an ordinary mortgagee would accept. Where does the benefit come in? Then it will only lend the money at a profit of 10s. per cent., while under the Land Act of 1903 10s. per cent. was sufficient for repayment of interest and sinking fund. In addition, repayment is to be made within thirty years, while under the Housing Acts in England repayment is not to be made for eighty years, and then the loan must be given at the minimum of interest.
We represent 1,400 of those who have suffered in the City of Dublin in consequence of the disturbances. We represent 90 per cent. of the capital involved in these disturbances. The persons whose property is involved have no direct representation in the Corporation of Dublin. Is it fair that this House should leave, or should offer to leave, to any single body the right to dictate to the owners of property such conditions of reconstruction as will practically deprive them of all interest in their business1! They represent vast interests in the City of Dublin. They have been established in business for more than 100 years. Is this House, without even the ordinary inquiry which would take place, if this was to be treated as a private Bill, to adopt such a course? We protest against our interest being, filched away by a Bill of this nature, by a public Bill under which we are to be deprived of the protection of inquiry upstairs. That privilege will only be taken from us when it is forcibly wrested. In reply to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, I am willing to move the rejection of this Bill. None of the sufferers have asked for it. It is forced upon them by the Corporation of Dublin, not to rescue them from this sore dilemma in which they have been placed, and from which they have been suffering for four months. We say reject this Bill, if you will. We do not want it. If other Members of this House want it, it is not for the sake of 2135 the sufferers; it is for the sake of the Corporation of Dublin, to increase their power to beautify the city.
We do not object to beautifying the city, but what we do object to is that this measure should compel individuals to make these improvements and embellishments in the City of Dublin at their own expense. I presume, if this work goes on, that an architect will be called in to draw up plans for the Dublin Corporation, but it is the owners of the property on the sites who will be called upon to pay. I submit to the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary that we should wait for the Report of Sir William Goulding's Committee, for we hold that there ought to be reasonable compensation in respect of the work of restoration and building, and, furthermore, that the Bill should be held up for a few months until we have had an opportunity of discussing the Report of the Committee in this House, on a day appointed for that purpose. The Goulding Committee are deciding claims or considering them without hearing anyone except their own assessors. Those whom I represent submit that this Bill should not go a step further before provisions are made in respect of those whose property has been destroyed in this ruined area; that they will not be called upon to bear expenditure necessitated by expensive plans which may be adopted by the Corporation of Dublin. Such plans might be met by the borrowing of the money necessary, but it would be very unfair to compel the owner of property within the area concerned to comply with unreasonable demands made on behalf of the corporation. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary has referred to some modifications which he intends to introduce into the Bill, and in regard to which the hon. Member for North Dublin (Mr. Clancy) appears to know more than we do, having had the benefit of confidential interviews, the result of which he has communicated to the House.
§ Mr. CLANCY
I have given no information with regard to confidential interviews. I would be very sorry to dishonour myself in such a way. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw!"]
§ Mr. WHITE
We wish that this Bill shall be allowed to stand over for a month or so, in order that the House may have 2136 an opportunity of considering the Report of the Goulding Committee. If the Corporation of Dublin insist on having buildings which will cost a large sum of money surely the individual owners ought not to be compelled to do that work. The individual owner of a site in this area ought not to be compelled to put up a building which he does not require for his own business purposes, but which is merely erected for the ornament and embellishment of the city. By acting in the way proposed you would simply be confiscating the owner's property. I regret that my hon. Friends do not take the same view that I do of this matter, but they have not been in touch with those who have suffered through the recent events. This is called emergency legislation, but Dublin does not want emergency legislation of this nature, and they say, "Withdraw your Bill; we are satisfied." If, later on, anybody wants help, perhaps the Bill can be reintroduced, but as it is at present it would only inflict hardship, and therefore we say "Withdraw it." I might give an instance of the action of Sir William Goulding's Committee in order to show that it should come under review. During the rebellion two horses were shot, and afterwards they died of their wounds. The Goulding Committee held that the loss of these horses was a consequential damage, and not a direct damage arising out of the rebellion; and I submit that incidents such as that show the necessity of our reviewing the action of the Committee in this House. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will assist us to get a Debate on this subject in the House, for it is one which it is vital we should discuss, in order that we may have action of a proper kind on the part of a public body.
§ Mr. R. McNEILL
I beg to second the Amendment.
I myself intended to move the rejection of the Bill, and my Amendment appears-on the Order Paper, but I am bound to admit that, in my opposition to this measure, I approach it from a point of view which not only is not in agreement with that of the hon. Member, but is as nearly as possible from the directly opposite standpoint; nevertheless, I am just as anxious as he is to see the Bill rejected. I understood from the hon. Member who has just spoken that one ground of objection to this Bill was that in his view it is the right of every property owner 2137 in the damaged district of Dublin to rebuild his property in practically any way he likes.
§ Mr. McNEILL
The hon. Member does not accept that statement, but it appears to me that that is the real gist of his argument.
§ Mr. McNEILL
I understood the hon. Member to state, as a matter of principle, that the property owners ought to be allowed to rebuild their places with a view to their own requirements and their own business, and practically from that standpoint alone. It appears to me that in the discussion of this Bill hitherto there have "been two interests represented by the hon. Members who addressed the House. We have had speeches from the standpoint of the ratepayers of Dublin, and also from the standpoint of the property owners in the damaged district. But there is another interest, and I think the most important interest of all, when we are considering such a matter as the rebuilding of a large part of a great city, and that is the interest of the general public, who are neither property owners nor necessarily ratepayers of Dublin, and there is a still larger and greater interest behind that, the interest of posterity. It is my view, when we are considering a matter of this sort, that the House of Commons ought not to neglect the interest of posterity. I think that is a standpoint to which we ought to have regard, even if the whole of the cost which we have in contemplation came from the pockets of the Dublin ratepayers. The case is infinitely stronger when, as is the case here, a large part of the cost comes from the pockets of the British taxpayer. The loans which the corporation are authorised to make under this Bill are to depend upon the amount of compensation which has been already given out of the funds, and which comes out of the pockets of the British taxpayers. Therefore, the House of Commons has in this case an established right to have regard to the immediate interests of the British taxpayer, and also to the interests of posterity, for which the British taxpayer is trustee. No one will deny that of late years there has been a very great advance in this country in public opinion 2138 with regard to the question of town planning. That is largely due, I think we ought to own, to the action and enthusiasm of the right hon. Member for Battersea (Mr. John Burns), and I wish he were here to give us his views upon this Bill.
In the provisions of this Bill it appears to me that the interests of town planning are almost completely disregarded. I ventured to interrupt my right hon. Friend when he was expounding the measure with a view to ascertaining whether, in the new provisions which he has promised, safeguards are framed from that point of view, and I gather from him that nothing of the sort has been done. The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken complained of the power given to the corporation of Dublin upon the ground that they might require a style of building much more expensive and much more magnificent than will at all suit the views of the owners of property on the sites. I am very much afraid that the corporation of Dublin will err in the opposite direction, and I do not suppose that anybody suggests that the corporation of Dublin, or any corporation or any body of that kind, is likely to have a very high or enlightened view with regard to aesthetic considerations. I do not refer to the description of the corporation given by the Member for North-East Cork (Mr. Healy), that members have been shot or sent to penal servitude. The members of that body, no doubt, are respectable and worthy citizens, but they are not a body to which aesthetic considerations in connection with the rebuilding of a great city ought to be consigned at the present time.
This is not a question of merely rebuilding. This is a great opportunity, which has come through very unfortunate circumstances, to effect improvements in the City. Hon. Members may recall that the great fire of London, for example, in the perspective of history, has turned out to be a great blessing in disguise. No doubt at the time when that great disaster occurred, contemporary owners of property in London viewed matters from very much the same standpoint as that of the hon. Members below the Gangway; but, in point of fact, it was made the occasion for a great rebuilding scheme on a very magnificent scale, and we have, as the result, many fine buildings of Sir Christopher Wren which, but for the Great Fire, we would never have had in London. The rebellion in Dublin has incidentally caused the destruction of a considerable part of that city. I hope that, when the present 2139 generation has passed away, and when this work has been performed, not as being a question of the day, or merely temporary, but for a long future, our successors will not have to look back and find that, horrible though the rebellion may have been, it was unfortunately less horrible than the reconstruction that followed; and it would be a very great pity if the rebuilding of this area in Dublin should, in the eyes of coming generations, be a horrible and disgusting monument of these days. The hon. Member for North-East Cork, who takes very much the same view as the hon. Member behind him, expressed most daring individualistic views on this subject. He went so far as to say that, after all, narrow streets were better than broad streets for shopping, and I understood him to mean that it really did not matter what sort of buildings were put up. I am not concerned now to contest that as a general principle, but I think that anyone who has ever visited the most splendid streets m Paris would find very great difficulty in assenting to the view that narrow, slummy streets are necessarily the best from a business point of view.
§ Mr. McNEILL
It is not as narrow as Bond Street. I think if the hon. and learned Gentleman will recall some of the boulevards of Paris he will find strong reason to change his view. Prom a town-planning and architectural standpoint you require to have expert authority and expert opinion. There is no provision for anything of the sort in this Bill. There is an Institute of Architects in Ireland and a similar Institute in England, out I do not know enough about either of those bodies to say whether they or either of them would really be a competent authority either to deal with this matter themselves or to give advice. I am perfectly certain that the artistic resources of the country are not at so low a level that if the Government really had regard to this point of view they could not procure such expert assistance in the matter of design, alignment, material, and architecture as would meet the situation. There is a special reason why I think that this point of view should not be lost sight of in Dublin. Hon. Members below the Gangway very often have been interested in recent years in Irish artistic questions of various sorts, 2140 Irish literature, Irish drama, and so forth. They have been fond, with many of their friends—and I am one of them—of recalling some of the glories of the ancient Irish harp; but it is, unfortunately, the fact that architecture is perhaps one of the arts which has never flourished in Ireland. I will go so far as to say that domestic architecture in Ireland stands today in probably a worse position than in any other country in Europe. There are some very respectable Georgian houses in Dublin of some dignity, though perhaps not very attractive outside, but if we leave the ordinary undirected taste of the Dublin Corporation or of individuals in Ireland at the present time to restore Dublin you may be perfectly certain that a great opportunity will have been lost and that Dublin of the future, instead of being greater and better than it is to-day, will be inferior to that city to which we have been accustomed. I regret very much that the right hon. Gentleman in preparing this Bill has so entirely given the go-by to this aspect of the question, which to my mind is an extremely important one.
Not very long after the outbreak in Dublin I put a question to the Prime Minister asking him whether this aspect of the question would be borne in mind when any scheme of reconstruction was considered. The Prime Minister in reply gave me to understand that he entirely sympathised with that point of view and realised its importance, and he told me it would certainly be taken into consideration. I am afraid we have of late learned to attach very little value to answers of that character coming from the Ministerial Bench, but I did found some hope on the right hon. Gentleman's sympathy and also on the fact that this point with regard to town planning has made such immense strides in recent years in this country. I am not myself concerned, not being in my province, to say anything with regard to the various local interests in Dublin and which are in the much safer hands of the hon. Members who have already spoken. I feel so strongly as an Irishman, and I would feel equally strongly if I were not, with regard to a great city of this sort in our own country that even if all the other aspects of the Bill were satisfactory to the ratepayers and to the property owners I would still use such powers as I possess to claim the rejection of the Bill from the point of view of the omission of which I make complaint.
I rise to support the Second Reading of the Bill, but I am bound to say with no great enthusiasm, because of the speech delivered by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Exeter (Mr. Duke), who introduced the Bill. I wish to say in reply to criticism made by hon. Members, and particularly by the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. Healy), that I am proud to be a member of that "effete body," the Dublin Corporation, that has had such abuse to-day at his hands. I am surprised that he was so supported in his criticism of the Dublin Corporation by the hon. Member for North Meath (Mr. White), who is a past member of the Corporation of Dublin. It is regrettable, indeed, that these Gentlemen must come to this House to pour abuse upon the chief representative body of their own country. Their action contrasts very unfavourably with the speech of the hon. Member for St. Augustine's (Mr. McNeill), who although he opposed the Bill, giving grounds which may not be satisfactory, at least did not pour abuse and ridicule on his own country. I only regret, if I may say so, that the hon. Member for St. Augustine's could not do like the hon. Member for North-East Cork and borrow a constituency from somebody in Ireland and come here to support us.
The first argument used against the Bill, or one of the arguments, is that this loan comes out of the pockets of the British taxpayer. That is so. You pledge your credit for it, but I think that the hon. Gentleman who introduced this Bill knows that the experience of everybody is that Ireland pays all its loans back, and there is no evidence to the contray in the case of the Dublin Corporation and its loans. Another argument put forward by the hon. Member for North-East Cork was that the city has to pay for this Bill out of the rates, while the Member for North Meath objects to the city paying anything or accepting any responsibility. One might easily leave the one Gentleman to argue the question out with the other. It is said that we who are supporting the Bill are taking no responsibility, and that the corporation which fathers it will be at no loss. The City of Dublin, by the destruction of property, losses £18,000 in rates. Is that of no interest to them? The City of Dublin will have to undertake the making of paths and roadways. Is that of no interest to them, and have they no right to be considered in this question? We hear that we who are supporting the 2142 Bill do not represent those who have lost property. It is news to me that we do not represent the people who have lost property. We have been in consultation with them all along, and if they have changed their minds now that is not our fault.
What really is the proposal of the corporation? They ask that at this period when whole sides of streets are knocked down that the corporation may avail of the opportunity to carry out a necessary city improvement. Let me point out to the House what it means. One of the streets is an angle forming a corner at what is known as North Earl Street and O'Connell Street, or as it is called Sackville Street. The street at that point is so narrow that two trams could not pass without running into each other. It forms at that point a perfect neck, and taking Nelson's pillar at the top the-bottom of the street is 14 ft. wide. Would the Corporation of Dublin be doing its duty if it did not avail of this opportunity to widen the street? There is one site there on which I understand the owner does not intend to build which is 21 ft. wide, and would we be doing our duty representing the citizens of Dublin if we did not try to secure that 21 ft. of frontage now that it is vacant, rather than attempt to do so with buildings erected upon it? This improvement is absolutely necessary for the traffic in the city. It is all very well for Gentlemen to say that narrow streets are better for business than wide streets. Have the citizens no right to have their convenience taken into account? It is a question of what is the width. Anyone who knows the city is aware of the fact that at this point there is continual congestion of the traffic. We hold that the Corporation of Dublin would not be doing its duty if it did not avail of this opportunity to carry out this improvement. We heard a good deal of abuse poured on the corporation, this "effete body," "this terrible body." The argument used was that some of them have been shot and that some more of them are imprisoned. One member of the corporation has been shot, and I hope an inquiry will take place regarding the shooting of that man He was taken a prisoner on the instructions of the very same gentleman, according to my information, who shot the three prisoners at Portobello. Is the corporation to be condemned because the military authorities put a lunatic in charge of the Army during 2143 that period? There are three other men in connection with the corporation who are in prison. Of the eighty members of the corporation four have been involved, and I would far prefer to be one of those gentlemen in prison than to be in this House pouring ridicule on my own countrymen who have been elected to represent the people on the corporation.
We have heard that one of the reasons why the corporation are looking for this Bill is that they are to receive 10s. per £100 or a ½ per cent., because the maximum of interest which can be charged by the Corporation of Dublin is ½ per cent. more than that at which they borrowed the money. It cannot exceed that, because it is in the Bill that ½ per cent. is the maximum which they can charge. Yet it is imputed to the corporation that they want to make money out of it. Another argument used was that the people whose property was destroyed had no representation whatever in the corporation. But the gentleman who is the strongest in opposition to this improvement is himself an alderman of the corporation, and most of this row has been created about the narrow street because of the property that he has in the street which we purpose widening. There are many things in this Bill which will be an advantage to the city. This discussion will at least clear the air somewhat, because during the last three or four weeks it has been whispered in the City of Dublin that this Bill has been introduced to delay building, and that, if the Bill was not introduced, the people could go on with building now. The Member for North Meath (Mr. P. White) does not want the owners of property to be forced to build during the next two years. He says if this Bill is passed they will be compelled to build within two years. That, at all events, clears up what is in his mind. He does not want the owners of property to be forced to start the reconstruction, but to allow things to remain as they are for two years, an eyesore, and a monument to the beneficent rule which has permitted this to take place in the City of Dublin.
I will support the Second Reading of the Bill, but I must say that I am rather surprised at some of the suggestions that have been made. The Corporation of Dublin is the body first to be considered, and then the Local Government Board. A remarkable thing about it is this, that 2144 for the first time we have heard a representative of the Government of Ireland actually condemning, as a not reliable board, the board of which he himself is president. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary is the President of the Board, yet he does not think it a sufficiently independent tribunal to act in this matter. We have had many comedies in Irish life, but I think that beats anything we have had yet. One would have thought that it would be quite sufficient to allow an appeal to the Local Government Board. We, the Nationalists, at all events, have not an extraordinary confidence in the Local Government Board, but we certainly thought that the Chief Secretary himself, as the President, would be the very first to stand up for his Board, which, however, he now repudiates as not being sufficiently trustworthy to be a Court of Appeal in connection with this matter. I think the House will agree that he has made a bad start in the government of the country when he begins by repudiating his own Board. It is one of those things that generally happens with Government representatives coming to Ireland. They do not seek to obtain information from the representatives of the people. The right hon. Gentleman's first interview was with the representatives of his association, which, I understand, is really the Chamber of Commerce. We were brought in at the tail end, and the result of our being brought in is that we now have this extraordinary discovery that an independent tribunal must be set up, to which there will be an appeal. The corporation, which is elected by the citizens, is not independent; the Local Government Board, which is nominated by the Government, and of which the Chief Secretary is President, is not an independent tribunal. We will want to know now who is to be the independent tribunal. We may as well get it perfectly clear in advance that the independent tribunal must be some representative body. It is not going to be fastened upon our backs if it is to be an entirely unnominated board or tribunal.
But, in passing from that, I will merely say that, whatever be the intention of the Chief Secretary or the Government in connection with this, I appeal to them, in the interests of the city and of the people who have been thrown out of employment, and also in the interests of the appearance of the city, not to have too much red tape in connection with this whole business. 2145 Let us get on with the work. We are generally criticised for being too slow in Ireland; now we are too quick. It is because there are a number of people whispering around and conveying messages from this to that body that there is this impeachment of the representative institutions in Ireland. Well, we have just had about enough of it. You have had one rebellion in the City of Dublin, and I think it is quite enough for our lifetime; but I am afraid you are going to have more trouble, and the Chief Secretary is starting by making more trouble for himself if he is going to repose too much in an appeal to tribunals and is going to send these matters upstairs to be discussed at great length and cost to the ratepayers of Dublin. I hear a whisper that the Appeal Tribunal should be Recorder of the City of Dublin. I am not going to say one word about the Recorder of the city of Dublin. I will say this, however, that I do not believe in having a tribunal that would put too many fees into the pockets of the lawyers, and which would cause delay because it would be to the interests of somebody to delay matters. I trust, therefore, we will have a statement now from the Chief Secretary as to what is to be the tribunal and what is to be the future of the appeals.
§ Mr. FIELD
I think it is unnecessary for me to go over the points which have already been traversed by previous speakers, but as an old Member for the City of Dublin I think it is my duty to express my opinion that this Bill, with certain modifications, ought to pass. I entirely agree with the statement of the last speaker that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary is beginning badly in the City of Dublin if he intends to continue the Dublin Castle system of nomination instead of elective representatives. The whole mistake of English rule in Ireland has been, and is, I am afraid, going to be for some time, that those who are in power do not consult the representatives of the people, but consult certain cliques and dominant minorities who seek to gain ascendancy. Those who are elected by the people are put on one side. If I were a member of the Dublin Corporation I never would have agreed to another tribunal being established unless the corporation had a dominating power on it. My reason for saying that is this: The corporation make themselves responsible for the repayment of the loan, and therefore they have a right, in my view at least, 2146 having that responsibility, to exercise chief control, subject, of course, to certain conditions. I have had a good deal to do with this matter before the Chief Secretary was appointed. I am one of the Members for the City of Dublin. We interviewed the new Under-Secretary in connection with this and another Bill. We have also had frequent interviews with the property owners, and I am bound to say that I have been very much amazed by the statements made here to-day, that the members of the City of Dublin and the corporation were more or less in conflict with or had some friction with this body called the Property Owners' Association. Why, we have been in constant communication with them, and this Bill practically has been brought forward in order to help these people. The Bill is brought forward to help the property owners, although in my view property and money is generally well able to look after itself.
However, for some peculiar reason, the property owners took the view that we, the Members for Dublin, did not wish to represent them. Arguments of that sort have been used by many speakers, but there is absolutely nothing in them. You may take it from me, as one acquainted with the City of Dublin, that we do represent the vast majority of the citizens in this respect, at all events, that we want the city reconstructed. With that object we have done our best to meet everybody, and if this Bill is passed as it is, without any further changes, we are prepared to accept it. What does the Bill mean? Certain portions of the City of Dublin are in ruins. It has been pointed out by various newspapers and by business men that the longer the delay in rebuilding the business premises the more the people suffer. There is at present very little employment in the whole of that portion of the city; it is in a lamentable condition. It is therefore the business of the corporation to endeavour to remedy that as soon as possible. The main point I desire to press upon the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary is, first, that we must, avoid as far as possible all delay, secondly, all unnecessary expense, and thirdly, we-must cut off red tape and get to common sense. I think if we had all these three propositions carried out we should do well. My Friend the Attorney-General (Mr. Campbell)—I hope I may call him my Friend, although we do not often agree—my Friend the Attorney-General has a good deal of common sense, only he does 2147 not always show it. I think he will agree with what I have said, for I believe, being an Irishman, he likes the City of Dublin, and does not wish to see it remain in the condition that it is in now. But I hope the Chief Secretary will remember the three points that I have mentioned. This Bill is honestly put forward with the object of trying to get some sort of co-operation between all parties concerned, and if it achieves that, things will be well. I hope I am not detaining the House too long, but I very seldom speak, and I do so only upon subjects that I know something about. Some Members, I am afraid, talk in order that they may be reported in the papers at home.
No useful purpose, perhaps, is to be served in continuing this Debate, but may I add there is a great principle contained in this Bill. Perhaps I should not say contained in the Bill, but only partially contained, and that principle, which I advocate, is that recognised representatives, elected by the people to manage public affairs in the public interests—even if private interests have to suffer and go by the board—is at the bottom of constitutional government. The right hon. Gentleman comes over nominally as Chief Secretary of a Coalition Government, though I do not call it a Coalition Government, but really a Coalition Coercion Government. If the right hon. Gentleman comes over and thinks that the Irish people are going to stand the old regime of Dublin Castle I can tell him, as a citizen and representative of Dublin for the last twenty-four years, that that is not so. The surest way of preventing risings and rebellions is to trust the people. I am glad to see another old Friend on the Treasury Bench now. I refer to the President of the Local Government Board (Mr. Long). I was really rather amazed at some of the things he said yesterday in connection with another matter. He is beginning to put his trust in the people. He is right. He wants co-operation. He wishes to do away with all those tawdry arguments of which we have heard so much. I trust these sentiments on the Front Bench will be extended to Ireland. If so, we can promise the Chief Secretary a much more peaceful term of office than some of his predecessors have had. I have made the few remarks I have in the best possible spirit. The trouble with some would-be legislators is that if they 2148 have an idea in their minds they think they should have a monopoly of it; they think nobody should disagree from them. No law that was ever passed fails to hit somebody, and that somebody often thinks he is more important than anyone else and ought to be considered. This measure will not please everybody. But it is an honest endeavour to try and meet a situation which has been caused by abnormal circumstances, and I trust the Chief Secretary will take such advice as will enable him to satisfy all reasonable aspirations.
I hope the representative of the Government on the Treasury Bench will take to heart the advice given to him by the hon. Member for the St. Patrick's Division of Dublin. I should like, however, if I may, to refer for a few minutes to the speech to which we listened from the hon. Member for the St. Augustine's Division of Kent. I listened to that speech with very great interest, and I am bound to say, too, that with a very large part of it I was in entire agreement. The hon. Member pointed out that here was a golden opportunity to take advantage of the unfortunate circumstances of Easter Week in Dublin, and to do something in a public and æsthetic sense worthy of a great city like Dublin. That is exactly the purpose of this Bill. It was only when the hon. Member left æsthetic considerations and came to political considerations that he got into deeper water, because, having made a speech in favour of the principle of this Bill, he allowed his prejudices against the Dublin Corporation to carry him away. I would like to say to the hon. Member in ail friendliness that I really do not think he comes into a discussion of this kind with entirely clean hands. He is not an Irish representative, but he lives in the county Antrim. He takes a great interest in the affairs of the county Antrim. I do not know that county quite so well as the hon. Member, but I have been through a large part of it. There are large numbers of labourers' cottages in it, and I say it without fear of contradiction, even from the hon. Member, that they are the ugliest labourers' cottages in the whole of Ireland. I would suggest to the hon. Member that he ought to devote part of his attention to setting his own house in order before he comes down to interfere in the affairs of the capital of Ireland.
§ Mr. McNEILL
May I suggest to the hon. Gentleman that if he will honour me by visiting the part of county Antrim where I live, and will look at the cottages I have myself built, he will contrast them favourably with those built by the public authority?
I have seen the cottages to which the hon. Member refers, and I entirely agree with him. I think it would be unjust to him not to admit that. But I think it is a great pity that he did not exercise his undoubted influence with the Government, or the Government Departments, to see that the example which he so well sets in his own district was followed by the Local Government Board in the case of those labourers' cottages which they have built.
I would not, however, have arisen if it had not been for the speech made by the hon. and learned Member for North-East Cork (Mr. T. M. Healy). I am sure those hon. Members of the House who listened to his speech will be surprised to learn that he himself is a citizen of Dublin. I venture to say that never was there made by anyone a speech showing a more utter and deplorable lack of civic pride or spirit than the speech to which I have referred. We are used to attacks from the hon. and learned Gentleman upon the party to which I belong in this House. They pass over us very lightly indeed, and the House is quite well able to measure, as we are, the fairness of these attacks. It is, however, a different thing from these political attacks upon his fellow-countrymen in this House to come here and slander and misrepresent the Corporation of the City of Dublin. He said, "Here is a moribund corporation, a corporation which, like the House of Commons, has outlived its usefulness." He assured the House that if there was an election to-morrow not three-quarters of the members of the corporation would be sent back to their places by the citizens of Dublin. He went on then to refer to the fact—and laid great stress upon it—that some members of the Corporation of Dublin were concerned in the recent rebellion. Some, he said, had been shot. Some were in penal servitude. Some were in detention at Frongoch. Why did the hon. and learned Gentleman lay so much stress upon that fact? All through his intention was clear and plain. Having 2150 thrown mud at the corporation in the earlier part of his speech he wanted furthere to arouse the prejudices of English members against the Dublin Corporation. Then, after all these charges and insinuations against the corporation, he turned round and accuses this very corporation of not having held a meeting to support the Bill. One would have thought he would not have paid much attention to its affairs. One of his main arguments was that the corporation was not behind this Bill at all. What is the meaning of that? What lies behind all this with the hon. and learned Gentleman and the hon. and learned Member for Meath, who followed him, in the attacks upon this Bill? I say it was to-prevent the Dublin Corporation from getting the powers conferred by this Bill, and which they ought to have had years and years ago; which are possessed by the vast majority of similar corporations, both in England and in Scotland.
In whose interests was the hon. and learned Gentleman speaking? In the interests of certain property owners, who are not anxious to come under rules and regulations, or fair and reasonable bylaws, in the City of Dublin? I think the hon. and learned Gentleman is counsel for a large number of these people. I would like to ask the House to bear in mind this fact, in respect to the safeguards you give, or insist upon, under this Bill for the corporation, or for the Local Government Board in Ireland, that if you do not give some such powers you enable shopkeepers who are anxious to take advantage of the absence of these powers to put up, if they wish, anything in the nature of a huckster's shop in the leading street of the capital of Ireland. The House will be unanimous that these powers ought to be extended to the Dublin Corporation. I think the Irish party, and the corporation themselves, will not be unreasonable in regard to all fair safeguards that may be insisted upon. I hope that the Chief Secretary, who is, I think, entering upon his career in Ireland, will not follow the course which he seems to have begun at the outset, by going, not to public representatives, either in this- House or elsewhere, not to the public representatives of the corporation, but to little cliques, or to the Chamber of Commerce in Dublin, of which anybody who likes can become a member on paying £1 yearly subscription. I trust he will not go to those who have never been associated in the past, and are not to-day, with the popular ideas 2151 for the national or the local government of Ireland. The Chief Secretary, in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, announced certain modifications. Most of them have been dealt with by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for North Dublin, and I am not going over that ground again. I will only say that of all the modifications he has announced, I do not believe a single one of them is for the betterment of this Bill. He told us, quite truly, that the corporation themselves had agreed to many of these modifications.
That is quite true. What other course had they when the Chief Secretary went to Dublin and presented a pistol to their head?
§ Mr. DUKE
The hon. Member evidently does not know what has happened. I saw the opponents of this Bill, who, if the Bill had been sent to a Select Committee, would probably have postponed the operation of the Bill for a very long time. I learned from them that there were certain matters which they regarded as vital. I put to the representatives of the Corporation of Dublin certain inquiries as to the extent to which they could go without, in their view, rendering the Bill an impossible Bill for them. I learned from the Corporation of Dublin what was the extent to which, as representing Dublin, they considered they could go, and the extent to which the Corporation of Dublin considered they could go is the extent to which I have announced the Government would be ready to go.
§ Mr. CLANCY
The right hon. Gentleman has made a statement which can be readily substantiated by the production of the letter of the corporation, and in my recollection that letter does not justify the statement that all that was asked for was conceded.
§ Mr. DUKE
I did not say so. I said that the concessions which I had said the Government were ready to make in order, if possible, to bring this Bill into early operation, were concessions which the representatives of the corporation had told me, in some cases unwillingly, but at any rate had told me, they were ready to consent to.
I think the Chief Secretary is really giving away the case when he says that the corporation had unwill- 2152 ingly agreed to this, because the Chief Secretary, when he first went to Dublin, had gone to the opponents of this measure, and, knowing he had been influenced by them, the corporation reluctantly felt compelled to give way to his proposals as the only alternative of saving the Bill at all. But I join with the hon. and learned Member for North Dublin (Mr. Clancy) in saying that if the Chief Secretary thinks he is going by any further concessions to smoothen the passage of this measure he is greatly mistaken, because he may keep this Bill under circumstances such as that. I only want, in conclusion, to deal with one point of the proposed alterations which the Chief Secretary has put forward He told us there is to be a new and an independent tribunal set up which is to override in its judgment, not merely the Dublin Corporation—and I suppose as a Unionist we cannot take too much exception to his making a provision of that sort—but to override the Local Government Board, of which he himself is President, which, I am told by an hon. Member behind me, he only learned for the first time to-day. The Chief Secretary, if he goes on in this way, will have a great many more things to learn in the course of carrying out his duties in Ireland. He has not told us what is to be the composition, nor has he told us what are to be the powers, of this independent tribunal that is to lord it over the corporation and the Local Government Board. Are they to have executive powers or are they to have merely a veto over the corporation? Plans are to be put before them that are objected to by persons concerned. They are to have a veto on those plans, but are their powers to go further? Are they not merely to have a veto, but are they to be empowered to say to the corporation, "We will not pass this plan, but we will draw up a plan of our own and 5'ou must carry that out"? That is a power to which the House of Commons, and certainly the Members from Ireland, could not agree for one moment to give to this tribunal; and yet if you do not give some such power as that there is a great danger of a deadlock, because if they veto any proposals put forward by the corporation the matter may be left there for weeks and months to come. I think it has been made perfectly plain what are the conditions under which we agreed to the Second Reading of this Bill, but I am only sorry that at the outset of his career as Chief Secretary the 2153 right hon. and learned Member for Exeter has not thought fit to bring himself more into line with public opinion in Ireland and civic opinion in Dublin.
§ Mr. BRADY
I am very sorry that the House has to listen to one more Dublin Member on this Bill. I had hoped that everything that could be said on the Bill had been said, and that therefore it would be unnecessary for me to take part in this discussion; but, in view of the question which has been raised, and raised quite recently by the Chief Secretary, as to the concessions which the Dublin Corporation has made for the purpose, if possible, of securing the passage of this measure—although I am in a position, I think, to say now that they are rather indifferent whether it gets a Second Heading or not—I think it is desirable, and it is due to the House, to read an extract from the letter which the town clerk wrote to the right hon. Gentleman embodying the concessions to which the corporation had agreed. The letter is dated 14th August. This is the extract:The Committee considers that the taking away from the Local Government Board, of which you, Sir, are the President, of the control proposed by the Bill to be vested in it is an unmerited slur on that body, which has always hitherto exercised control on similar matters without question as to its impartiality, but if it is necessary to save the Bill——and it was for that purpose that this concession was made—the corporation is prepared to agree to the appointment of some other tribunal, the constitution of which must necessarily be the subject of further discussion.I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will agree that that is a condition, and what I meant to say was that when the corporation made these concessions, as he has termed them, they did so on certain conditions, and I propose to read the second condition:With regard to the question of compensation, the Committee cannot agree to the suggestion that anything new should be incorporated in the Bill on this point, as they consider the same would impose an unfair burden on the ratepayers and open the doors to endless claims and litigation.I suggest to the House that that makes it perfectly clear that, if the corporation were prepared to make certain concessions, which they did with the greatest reluctance, they did so on the distinct understanding that those two conditions were observed.
I should just like to refer to the speech made by the hon. Member for St. Augustine's (Mr. K. McNeill). Like the hon. Member for College Green (Mr. 2154 Nugent), I wish to say I heard that speech, or a great portion of it, with considerable pleasure, because I recognised in its tone that the hon. Gentleman, while not in political sympathy with the views expressed on these benches, at any rate recognised he was an Irishman, a fact which some Members in this House forget when speaking on a Bill of this character, and he recognised the desirability of realising an opportunity such as this to beautify the capital of Ireland. But there was one statement made by the hon. Gentleman to which I would respectfully take exception. He reminded the House that there had been in the last few years a great revival in Irish drama and Irish literature, but that Ireland had never been, either now or in days gone by, remarkable for its architecture. I was astonished to hear that statement coming from the hon. Member, because since I have been in this House, if he will allow me to say so, he has always shown himself to be a gentleman of very great culture and very extensive reading, not only in regard to architecture, but other subjects, and I was astonished, therefore, to hear him say that Ireland could not lay claim to architectural beauty. It was my privilege to accompany some of the representatives from Overseas through Dublin on their recent visit, and one of the things which several of those gentlemen expressed to me was a great admiration for the beauty of the public buildings of Dublin. They pointed out to me that, within the space of a few hundred yards, some of the most beautiful buildings in Europe are to be found. I refer to the old Parliament House, at present—temporarily, I hope—used as a bank, the University of Dublin, and the Custom House and two cathedrals. The hon. Member, so well informed as he is, telling this House, as an Irishman, that Ireland could not lay claim to very considerable distinction in the matter of architecture, therefore came on me with great surprise.
I would like to turn to one or two other matters which were raised by previous speakers, though certainly not as palatable to me to discuss as the speech of the hon. Member for St. Augustine's. The hon. Member for North Meath laid great emphasis on the fact that when the corporation by resolution supported this application for money to carry out the reconstruction of Dublin City they did so in the belief that it was a question of a grant 2155 and not a loan. I hold in my hand a copy of the resolution and a copy of the return on which that resolution was founded, and again I would like to read a brief extract. This was, I think, on 3rd July:It was explained by the Lord Mayor that the purposes of the proposed loan were to enable the corporation to lend money to those citizens whose premises were destroyed, so as to assist them, in addition to the ex gratia Grant, in rebuilding in accordance with the requirements of the corporation.That was passed by twenty-two votes for and one against, and, as already pointed out by one of my colleagues, the one man was a member of the corporation who objected to the widening of the street in which his business was being carried on. Forgive me for saying so, but I do not think there was any point of substance in the speech of the hon. Member for North Meath save that point, and I am sure if he were here he would agree that he was unintentionally led into a misstatement of fact.
I do not pretend to be able to deal in detail with the various arguments addressed to the House by the hon. and learned Member for North-East Cork (Mr. T. M. Healy). He is a very old and distinguished Member in this House, and I am; a comparatively new and undistinguished Member, but I would be bold enough to suggest that the hon. and learned Member was not always accurate about his facts. He suggested to the House that a bank loan could be obtained for the purposes of carrying out this reconstruction. I think it very unlikely that any bank in the City of Dublin or elsewhere would lend money for the purpose of rebuilding a house and insert a clause in the mortgage that the money should not be called in for thirty years. That Clause is in the Bill to which the House is now asked to give a Second Beading. I do not think that most banks with which I am acquainted would agree to insert in their mortgage deed such a rate of interest as that at which the corporation would be enabled to borrow money under this Bill. [An HON. MEMBER: "What is that?"] That remains to be seen. What I am arguing is that the Government is much more likely to advance money at a lower rate of interest than a bank, and the corporation are prevented by the terms of this Bill from lending the money at a maximum higher rate than 10s. above the rate at which they borrow from the Government. There is an easy remedy open to the hon. 2156 and learned Gentleman and his friends, and it is that if they do not want the money they need not ask the corporation for it. I am in a position to tell the House, and I speak with the authority of the Lord Mayor and the town clerk, that the poor struggling people of Dublin have come to both of them and assured them that if money is not forthcoming at a reasonable rate of interest they will never be able to build up the businesses that have been destroyed.
It is idle for anybody to get up here and say, "Nobody wants this money." Of course, wealthy property owners do not care whether the corporation grants the loan or the Government, because they are able to get on without it. The grants which will be made will be necessary to replace these buildings, especially in view of the admitted increase in the price of materials and the cost of labour, and that is a question which is outside the purview of the Goulding Commission. It follows if that sum is insufficient that these unfortunate people will be unable to rebuild their premises without a loan. Recognising that, the Dublin Members, introduced by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford at the very beginning of this controversy, had an interview with the Prime Minister, and the right hon. Gentleman recognised that a strong case could be made out for making a loan to get over this difficulty. As the House has already been told, the Prime Minister assured us in the clearest and most emphatic manner that the money would be forthcoming providing a scheme was agreed upon between the Dublin Corporation and the Local Government Board. There is another point upon which I think the hon. and learned Member for Cork was mistaken. He said that the corporation already possessed the powers they were seeking under this Bill.
§ Mr. BRADY
I understood that the hon. and learned Gentleman said that it was not necessary to seek further powers. So far as I know the only powers the corporation have as regards the erection of buildings is to see that they comply with the sanitary laws, and that they are structurally sound. So that these powers are absolutely necessary to deal with questions of general design, alignment, structure, and the borrowing of money to carry out all these various requirements. I should have thought that the whole of this matter 2157 lay within a very narrow ambit, and that there was no necessity for so much controversy and argument, and in some cases eloquence and heat. I hope in all the circumstances of the case the House will agree to give a Second Beading to this Bill, and thus enable the corporation, as far as possible, to blot out the unhappy memory of Easter week.
The right hon. Gentleman has laid down that it is essential if property is taken away or sites impigned upon that property owners should be compensated. The hon. Member for North Dublin (Mr. Clancy) thereupon said that no such power of compensation had been inserted in the Bill, and that if the Chief Secretary put any such provision in he might as well drop and abandon the measure. My point is that you ought not to take anybody's property for corporate purposes, whether for beautification or enlargement, without the owner being compensated. The hon. Member for North Dublin practically says, "I will confiscate that property without compensation, and if the Government insist that compensation shall be provided by, the corporation, then you may as well drop the Bill." Was there ever such a position? You are to take the property of owners for the purpose of widening the street and then the bon. Member for North Dublin says,"I will insist on taking your property to widen the street and I will give you nothing for it, so far as this Bill is concerned; you may as well withdraw the Bill if that compensation is going to be given." I was amazed that the right hon. Gentleman expects that we should sit silent and assent to such a proposition as that.
Then the right hon. Gentleman should now accept the offer of the hon. Member for North Dublin and say that compensation is essential if property is taken. It has been said that this Bill is for the advantage of the property owners. Nine-tenths of the property owners have petitioned the House not to pass this Bill, and they do not want it. The suggestion has been made that there are some needy shopkeepers who require this money, but I would like to ask if any of them have put in an appearance. I am convinced that the reason of all the great fuss and excitement shown by hon. Members, some of whom, will not be here very long, is because apparently some of 2158 them think it is an offence to refer to the Dublin Corporation as a moribund' body. It is no offence, however, to refer to this House as a moribund body, but I think they are both moribund.
§ Mr. DUKE
The Schedule of this Bill provides in the first Section as follows:The Corporation when they propose to purchase land compulsorily under this Act may submit to the Board an Order authorising the corporation to put in force as respects the land specified in the Order the provisions of the Lands Clauses Acts with respect to the purchase and taking of land otherwise than by agreement.What the hon. Member for North Dublin said was that the Dublin Corporation stood by that, and would not regard the Bill as worth having if it went further.
The hon. Member for North Dublin stated that this compensation should not come out of the Dublin rates, or out of the money which was to be borrowed under this Bill.
§ Mr. CLANCY
That was not my statement. I said that every scrap of land we are going to acquire we must pay for. It is another question altogether whether or not the ratepayers of Dublin after these property owners have got an ex gratia Grant, and after Parliament has set up a tribunal to protect them in the exercise of those powers by the corporation against injustice, it is a ridiculous thing to propose that the ratepayers of Dublin should be obliged to go and hand over all this as a present.
I am afraid the hon. and learned Member has not illuminated the matter by his remarks. Either we are to get compensation or we are not. It has been conceded by the hon. Member for St. Stephen's Green (Mr. Brady) that the Goulding Commission say they will not in any case provide sufficient money for these buildings. I think that was an appalling statement, and it is an invitation to cut down the ex gratia Grant, and that the money which the corporation is to lend is to be used instead of State funds. That is an appalling statement, and entirely justifies the view we have taken, namely, that the citizens of Dublin have been told by the Prime Minister that they would have the destruction of their property provided against by a State Grant. We now find that this Bill will 2159 only provide a part, and that there is not to be adequate State provision at all. I think that justifies the attitude we have taken. My hon. Friend and I will go to a Division against this Bill. The only other thing I wish to say is that I do not think the people of Ireland, and certainly not the people of Dublin, will regard it as any slur upon the members of the Dublin Corporation that I have said that some of them have been shot or interned, and especially interned, seeing that the internment is largely due to the action of an hon. Member of the so-called Irish Nationalist party, the hon. Member for Newry (Mr. Mooney).
§ "The Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland may lend money to the corporation for any of the purposes of this Act in like manner as they may lend money for the purposes of the Public Health (Ireland) Acts, 1878 to 1907."
§ I think that is the answer to the right hon. Gentleman's question
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I wanted to know whether we should have an opportunity of discussing the amount of these Grants in this House.
§ Question put, "That the word ' now ' stand part of the question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 156; Noes, 5.2161
|Division No. 55.]||AYES.||[7.45 p.m.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis Dyke||Currie, George W.||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Donald|
|Adamson, William||Dalziet, Davison (Brixton)||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Denniss, E. R. B.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Duke, Rt. Hon. Henry Edward||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Alden, Percy||Essex, Sir Richard Walter||Morgan, George Hay|
|Astor, Hon. Waldorf||Field, William||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Finlay, Rt. Hon, Sir Robert||Muldoon, John|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Fisher. Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Fletcher, John Samuel||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Galbraith, Samuel||Nolan, Joseph|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. George N.||Goddard, Rt. Hon. Sir Daniel Ford||Nugent, J. D. (College Green)|
|Barrie, H. T.||Greenwood, Sir G. G. (Peterborough)||Nuttall, Harry|
|Beach, William F. H.||Greenwood, Sir Hamar (Sunderland)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Bellairs, Commander C. W.||Hall, D. B. (Isle of Wight)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)||O'Malley. William|
|Boyton, James||Hanson. Charles Augustin||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Brace, William||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds.)||Pearce. Sir Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Harris, Percy A. (Leicester, S.)||Pearce, Sir William (Limehouse)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hazieton, Richard||Pease, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Rotherham)|
|Broughton, Urban Hanlon||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hendry, Denis S.||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Bull, Sir William James||Herbert, Major-Gen. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)||Pratt, J. W.|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Hewins, William Samuel||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Radford, Sir George Haynes|
|Carew, C. R. S.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Hudson, Walter||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord Robert(Herts, Hitchin)||Johnson, W.||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Chambers, J.||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Jones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Rowlands, James|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Clynes, John R.||Keating, Matthew||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||King, Joseph||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Coats, Sir Stuart A. (Wimbledon)||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Larmor, Sir J.||Shortt, Edward|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Layland-Barrett, Sir F.||Strauss, Edward A. (Simthwark, West)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Sykes, Sir Mark (Hull Central!|
|Cory, Sir Clifford John (St. Ives)||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Thomas, J. H|
|Cowan, W. H.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Thorne, G. R, (Wolverhampton)|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Lundon, Thomas||Tickler, T. G.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Crooks, Rt. Hon. William||Mackinder, Halford J.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Walker, Colonel William Hall||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N.W.)||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Wardle, George J.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Watson, Hon. W.||Wing, Thomas Edward||Mr. Gulland and Lord Edmund)|
|Wilkie, Alexander||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-||Talbot.|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir F. G.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Fell, Arthur||Yate, Colonel Charles Edward||Mr. Ronald McNeill and Mr. T. M.|
|Peto, Basil Edward||Healy.|
Bill read the third time, and passed.
I beg to move, "That the Bill be committed to a Select Committee of Five Members, Three to be nominated by the House, and Two by the Committee of Selection:
That all Petitions against the Bill presented Five clear days before the meeting of the Committee be referred to the Committee; that the Petitioners praying to be heard by themselves, their Counsel, or Agents, be heard against the Bill, and Counsel or Agents heard in support of the Bill:
That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers, and records:
That Three be the quorum."
It will be admitted by everybody that this is a Hybrid Bill at the very best. It is a Bill dealing with property which it is proposed to take compulsorily, and there is no case in which a Bill of this kind has not been referred to a Select Committee. Every Rule of the House has been departed from, and the right hon. Gentleman was reminded by the hon. Member for North Dublin (Mr. Clancy) that if this were a Bill brought in for Exeter it would be a private Bill and would not be brought in without the Corporation of Exeter being consulted and without the corporation under the Borough Funds Act taking a vote of its citizens as to whether the Bill was approved or not. Therefore, in regard to this Irish Bill you have departed from every canon and practice dealing with a measure of this kind. It is a Bill dealing with a purely local subject in reference to an emergency that has arisen in that particular city, and I cannot see why it is intended or how it is intended that these property owners shall bring their grievances before the House without some such Committee suggested. One of the more ignorant Members of the House referred to the possibility of this Motion, if it were carried, resulting in fees to myself. Probably that hon. Gentleman does not understand that Members of this House are unable to practise before 2162 Select Committees. That kind of ignorance, I think, is very likely to be corrected at the next General Election.
§ Mr. DUKE
As I said when I moved the Second Reading, if those who are immediately interested in this Bill cannot take the course which I hope that they will take of coming to an accommodation of their differences during the Parliamentary Recess, the Government will have no alternative but to accept the reference of these matters in dispute to a Select Committee, but I hope that the Motion will not now be insisted upon. I promise my hon. and learned Friend that if, after the Recess, this Bill is not in an agreed form, the Government will not resist the Motion to refer it to a Select Committee. It is very undesirable now to fix the further stages of the Bill in a manner that may hinder an accommodation.
That statement having been made by the right hon. Gentleman on his responsibility, I accept it and withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. DUKE
I beg to move, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House."
I move this formally on the understanding that if there is not an accommodation between the parties during the Recess, I, or some Member of the Government, will move to discharge that Order and to refer the Bill to a Select Committee.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the Whole House for Monday, 21st August.