HC Deb 17 May 1927 vol 206 cc981-4

asked the Prime Minister whether he has received repre- sentations on behalf of the Southern Irish loyalists that the pledges which Lord Dunedin's Committee determined had been made by successive Governments are not being fulfilled owing to the restrictions imposed on the Irish Grants Committee by their terms of reference, as interpreted; whether he is aware that an offer had been made by the representative committee on behalf of these loyalists to accept Lord Dunedin's arbitration on this question; and whether the Government will accept such arbitration?


The reply to the first two parts of the question is in the affirmative. In reply to the third part, the Government must be the judges of what they are prepared to do to meet the claims of Irish loyalists, and they do not propose to vary the Terms of Reference of the Irish Grants Committee or to interfere with the discretion of the Committee in interpreting those terms; but I may say that they are satisfied that the Terms of Reference as interpreted by the Committee fully carry out the recommendations contained in the Report of the Committee over which Lord Dunedin presided.


Will the right hon. Gentleman give an opportunity for a small deputation representing the Southern Irish loyalists to lay their case before him personally?


I think there have been a great many deputations, but I will consider that request.


asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware that the Irish Grants Committee are not carrying out the recommendations of the Dunedin Committee with reference to claims by Irish loyalists; that, instead of all claims being dealt with and awards made in accordance with Lord Dunedin's findings, only a limited class of such cases are being considered, and these compensated on a scale much below what Lord Dunedin found to be justly due; and whether he will consider such action as will secure terms on the scale recommended by the Dunedin Committee?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Amery)

I have been asked to reply to this question. I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the reply given this afternoon by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to a similar question addressed to him by the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto).


Can the right hon. Gentleman explain why the Irish deportees are treated on a much higher scale as regards remuneration than Irish loyalists?


I should like to have notice of that question.

69. Sir B. PETO

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he is aware that the amounts of the recommendations of the Irish Grants Committee are not communicated to any claimant concerned, and that only payments on account of the amounts recommended are in fact being made; and whether there is any reason for this departure from the practice of communicating their awards to claimants, adopted by the Wood Renton Commission which, like the Irish Grants Committee, had power only to make recommendations?


The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. In reply to the second part, I would remind my hon. Friend that both the Governments concerned were pledged beforehand to pay in full the recommendations of the Compensation (Ireland) Commission, which were therefore in effect awards. The Government hope that they may be able to pay in full the recommendations of the Irish Grants Committee, but they 'are not prepared at the present stage to pledge themselves to do so, nor will they be ready to reach a decision on the point until they have the whole of the recommendations before them.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is any special reason why Irish loyalists should be treated with less consideration than Irish deportees, who were awarded compensation when they were enemies of the State?


That is a very different question, and I have no detailed figures relating to the case of Irish deportees.

Lieut.-Colonel HOWARD-BURY

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how long it will be before the Irish Commission get through all the cases that are before them?


I could not say.


On a point of Order. Is an hon. Member of this House entitled to characterise as enemies of the State people who have never been convicted and who have never been before any Court at all? Is it fair to characterise them as enemies of the State?


This is a matter dealing with past history and not with the present. I objected entirely to these terms being used at the time of the controversy, but now that the matter is happily over, I think we need not be so careful.

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