HL Deb 23 June 1884 vol 289 cc1059-61

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, the subject was one of considerable importance to Ireland. At the time of the famine in 1822 a sum of £8,000 was invested in the Three-and-a-Half per Cents for the benefit of the Irish people. To that sum was added £5,000 sent from London, and subscriptions amounting to £2,000, making a total of £ 15,000. The money was invested for the purpose of encouraging coast fishery and the manufacture of linen and worsted for the peasantry. In time it was found that the manufacture of linen and worsted had to be abandoned, and the whole of the fund was then applied to the improvement of the fisheries of Ireland. The Trustees of the fund, believing that the Government could administer the money better than they were able to, came to the conclusion in 1879 to hand over the fund to the Board of Works. They proposed that the money should be administered in the same manner as the Reproductive Loan Fund, which had been doing much good in Ireland. That Reproductive Loan Fund, curiously enough, was the outcome of another Famine Relief Fund, and it applied to certain counties; but it did not apply to Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow, Dublin, Louth, Down, Antrim, and Donegal. He, therefore, asked their Lordships to approve of the transfer of the fund of 1822 to the Board of Works, in order that it might be administered for the benefit of the counties he had named. The Government in 1879 could not see their way to take over the money; but they had now, he believed, agreed to do so, and it was for the purpose of transferring the sum from the Trustees to the Board of Works that he asked their Lordships to read the Bill a second time. The Trustees suggested that their Secretary, after the transfer had been made, should have the position of a first-class Civil Service clerk; but the Government had declined to give him that position. Under the Bill, however, ample provision would be made for the Secretary, as it was proposed to make him over a sum of £500. The expenses in connection with the administration of the fund had been very great. In 1877 the loans granted amounted to £6,367, and the expenses to £743; in 1878, loans, £927, and expenses, £913; in 1879, loans, £2,001, and expenses, £686; in 1880, loans, £2,643, expenses, £611; in 1881, loans, £2,224, and expenses, £748; and in 1882 the expenses reached the enormous sum of £917, while the loans were only £4,125. The expenses during the seven years amounted to 25 per cent of the loans made. Such a state of things showed the necessity for the transfer. He believed the fund would be administered by the Government at far loss expense. Last year their Lordships agreed to pass a Bill for the improvement of harbours in Ireland, and this Bill proposed to benefit the fishermen by enabling them to get boats and tackle. The fund would be of immense advantage to Ireland, and their Lordships would be doing a great service to a most deserving class of men by reading the Bill a second time. He moved that the Bill be read a second time.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a." — (The Marquess of Waterford.)

In reply to Lord HARLECH,


said, the Reproductive Loan Fund applied to certain counties, and the fund with which the Bill dealt applied to the counties which he had named. He did not propose to interfere with the Reproductive Loan Fund.

Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House To-morrow.