HL Deb 25 February 1839 vol 45 cc840-1
Viscount Duncannon,

in moving the second reading of the Poor Law (Ireland) Amendment Bill, begged leave briefly to state the alterations made by it. The Act of last Session authorized the Poor Law Commissioners to unite as many townlands as they might think fit into one union for the relief of the poor. But as the boundaries of many townlands were not accurately known, and also as there were places where no townlands existed, it was provided by the present bill that all the provisions of the act of last Session which related to townlands should be construed to extend to every place in Ireland, whether known as a townland or not. The act of last Session provided that appeals should be made at the sessions of the peace held in the presence of the assistant-barrister; but as certain sessions of the peace were not held before assistant-barristers, it was by the present bill enacted, that appeals might be made to any general or quarter sessions held in the place where the cause of complaint might have arisen, although such sessions were not held in the presence of an assistant-barrister.

The Duke of Wellington

had no objection to the bill, as the principle of the original measure was adhered to.

Lord Brougham

said, the last thing they did in the last Session was to pass the Irish Poor Law Act, and the first thing that was done in the present Session was to introduce a bill to alter and amend the former measure. Certainly he had never seen a bill more susceptible of extensive amendment than this. He approved of the 10th clause of the present Amendment Act, which gave their Lordships power to amend this Amendment Act. He was satisfied it would be necessary to amend this Amendment Act before the Session closed.

The Earl of Wicklow

did not recollect one Act passed by the present Government that had not required an amendment act to be passed in the ensuing Session. He agreed in the propriety of introducing this bill. He approved of the 8th clause, which permitted the appeal to the quarter sessions, without the presence of the assistant-barrister, a principle which had been contended for last Session. The noble Viscount at that time declared, that if the appeal to the quarter sessions were granted at all, it should be in the presence of the assistant-barrister; but he now saw the necessity of receding from that point.

Lord Brougham

said, when it was stated that all legislation was bungling, or at all events all the acts of the present Government, (of which he would not say a word), he must refer to the English Poor Law Act—an act of a much more extensive nature than the one now alluded to, but which had not required any amendment.

Viscount Melbourne

said, most acts of an extensive or important nature required amendment. With regard to the English Poor Law Act, he must however say, that the reason why no amendment had been introduced was not because none was required.

Bill read a second time.

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