§ Order of the Day for the Third Reading, read.
§ Moved,"That the Bill be now read 3ª"—(The Lord President.)
wished to make a few remarks upon this measure, which was one of very great importance to his country. The object of the Bill was, as the House was aware, to enable the Government to lend money to Boards of Guardians, who, in turn, were to make advances for the purchase of seed potatoes and other seeds to the small farmers who could not afford to buy the seed for themselves. There could be no doubt as to the advisability, owing to the 1428 great scarcity of seed in the country, of advancing seed to the tenant occupiers who required it; but the difficulty which arose was, whether the advance should be made in money or in seed? If there was money, seed would, undoubtedly, ccme into the country; but then the question which had to be considered was, whether there was such a great want of money amongst the tenant occupiers as to justify the Government making an especial arrangement of this nature? There could be no doubt whatever that amongst the small farmers in many parts of Ireland there was a great want of money, and that many farmers could not buy seed and pay for it in ready cash; and he was of opinion that Her Majesty's Government deserved the thanks of everyone connected with Ireland for adopting the Bill which had been brought in in the other House of Parliament with the object of meeting the want. But when he came to consider the provisions of the Bill he could not but fear there was a certain amount of danger in carrying them out, and he could not help asking the Government if they could not in any way guard against the danger? Under the Bill loans were to be advanced to the Boards of Guardians of electoral divisions, and the Boards of Guardians would make advances to the small farmers. He wished to know if the Government had pointed out the condition under which the money would be advanced by the Boards of Guardians to the small farmers? He had talked to several persons in Ireland on the subject, and from what he had been informed was inclined to think there was a general idea that the price of seed might not be recovered at all by the Boards of Guardians from the small farmers. There were, undoubtedly, under the Bill powers for the recovery of the seed rate from the ordinary poor's rate; but he feared that unless some notice was taken of the conditions under which the loan was obtained the rate would not be recovered at all in the same manner as the ordinary poor's rate, and that the people might expect, and the Boards of Guardians might expect also, that as to anything that might be advanced by the Government they would not care much as to its ever being repaid. He very much doubted whether that was the view which was entertained by Her Majesty's 1429 Government; and, therefore, he begged to ask the noble Duke the Lord President of the Council whether the danger which he feared was a real one?
THE DUKE OF RICHMOND AND GORDON
said, the noble Lord had given him no Notice of the Question, and if the noble Lord had done so he should have been better able to have given him a satisfactory answer upon the subject to which he had called attention. As he understood, the noble Lord wished to know whether the provisions contained in the Bill would be brought distinctly under the notice of Boards of Guardians? All he could say was that the Boards of Guardians would have full notice of the Bill, and the provisions of the measure would be set before them. The Bill enabled Boards of Guardians to advance seed to persons who applied, and were entitled to apply, for it, and the loans were not intended as a gift, but would have to be repaid in the manner provided.
said, the noble Duke had not quite understood him, and he wished to explain the point he had referred to. One of the clauses of the Bill provided that the Boards of Guardians might apply for loans to purchase seed subject to certain conditions, and one of the conditions was the limitation which was put upon the valuation of the occupiers who got the loans. The repayment of the loans was to be made by the Boards of Guardians in two equal instalments, and the specified time for the payment of the first instalment was 1881, the second to be paid at a later date. But there was no time specified for the repayment of the loans advanced to the occupiers by the Boards of Guardians. He, therefore, feared that the occupiers might think that as the loans were not to be repaid to the Boards of Guardians in any specified time they were not called upon to repay them; and he thought that the matter ought to be called to the notice of the Boards of Guardians, who should not grant loans without carefully considering whether they would be able to recover the money from the occupiers.
THE DUKE OF RICHMOND AND GORDON
said, the point to which the noble Lord referred did not come within the scope of the Bill, but was a matter for the consideration of the Boards of Guardians themselves.
said, his point was to ask the Irish Government, when issuing instructions to Boards of Guardians, to call their attention to the liability they incurred; because, otherwise, they might or might not realize the full extent of their liabilities.
§ Motionagreed to;Bill read 3ª accordingly, with the Amendments, andpassed,and sent to the Commons.