HC Deb 30 June 1921 vol 143 cc2318-9

(by Private Notice) asked the Chief Secretary if he is aware that Ireland made a very large contribution to the medical and nursing staff of the nation during the War, and that the skill of those serving was to a large extent acquired in the voluntary hospitals of Ireland; if he will explain why Ireland was excluded from the reference to the Committee appointed by the late Minister of Health, and is in consequence excluded from the grant of £500,000 about to be made to the voluntary hospitals of the United Kingdom other than those of Ireland; and if Ireland will be granted a sum at least proportioned to her taxation as part of the United Kingdom?


I am aware that Ireland made a large contribution to the medical and nursing staff of the nation during the War. The British Government already makes an annual grant of over £16,000 to Irish hospitals. Under present conditions the Government does not see its way clear to ask the House to increase that grant. Lord Cave's Committee did not consider the condition of Irish hospitals on the ground that, under the Government of Ireland Act, hospitals in Ireland come under the provisions of the two Parliaments.


Is it a case of "live horse, and you will get grass." I am sure we have the right hon. Gentleman's sympathy and we ask for its exercise in favour of our hospitals.

Colonel Sir J. GREIG

Are there equivalent grants in England or Scotland to hospitals from public funds?


I think similar grants are not made to hospitals in England or in Scotland, but exclusively to Ireland. As the hon. Gentleman says, I am fully sympathetic, but I regret from the point of view of Ireland that the people of this country have taken the view, and indeed it is the view under the Government of Ireland Act, that matters that come under the two Parliaments of Ireland can no longer be treated by this House, especially in face of the financial grants.


Is there to be no contribution until the Irish Parliaments function concurrently? If so, we may have to wait indefinitely.


Is it not the fact that one of these Parliaments has postponed its deliberations till September and that the other does not propose to meet at all; and, in the meantime, while the hospitals are suffering and are in debt because of these political events, are they to be denied the advantages of this grant from the public Exchequer, to which Ireland pays its fair share? Answer that with all your sympathy.

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