HC Deb 11 May 1922 vol 153 cc2354-6
43. Mr. DEVLIN

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the amount that has been allocated for the payment of damages for malicious injuries in the area of Northern Ireland; and whether a Commission similar to that which has been appointed for Southern Ireland will be appointed to deal with this matter?


I have been asked to answer this question. The Government of Northern Ireland have undertaken to deal with this matter, and the Imperial Government has agreed to contribute the sum of £1,500,000 towards the cost. The answer to the second part of the question is in the negative. A Commission is not necessary in Northern Ireland because the vast majority, if not all the cases were defended, and no question of reviewing decrees, therefore, arises.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a large number of claimants for compensation for damage are greatly displeased with their awards, and as those awards are being reconsidered in Southern Ireland, is it not possible that they could be reconsidered in Northern Ireland by a Commission appointed upon the same lines as the Commission for Southern Ireland?


Is it not a fact that the Commission is entirely for Southern Ireland, and not for Northern Ireland? Is it not a fact—that I think I can attest from my own personal knowledge—that claims in the Northern area have been contested by the County Councils and other bodies responsible, while in the Southern area they have not been contested by any bodies?

Lieut.-Colonel ASHLEY

Now that both North and South have got Home Rule, how much longer is the British taxpayer to be asked to find money for both North and South?


It is impossible, for me to state how long this House will be asked to assist the settlement of Ireland—[An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"]—by financial grants. As to the point raised by the hon. Member for the Falls Division of Belfast (Mr. Devlin) it is quite true that most of the claimants in Ireland——


Belfast we are talking about, not Ireland.


It is quite true that most of the applicants in the Northern area may be dissatisfied with the awards granted by the County Court Judges, but in Northern Ireland every applicant has an open Court of Appeal to a judicial tribunal, and the decision is given in accordance to the law which cannot be disturbed by this House or any other tribunal.


As I believe this grant of a million and a half to Northern Government to be an entirely scandalous transaction may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether we shall have an opportunity of discussing it?


I cannot give a date, but I am certain there will be some Estimate before long on which the whole matter can be raised.

Captain W. BENN

Is this sum included in the main Estimate for the year?


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman——


Other questions had better be put down.