HL Deb 08 December 1890 vol 349 c689

In asking your Lordships to give a First Reading to this Bill, which is one of the two measures for the relief of distress in Ireland to which the Prime Minister alluded at an earlier stage of the proceedings, perhaps I may be allowed to say that its object is to enable the poorer occupiers in various districts in Ireland to obtain seed potatoes at a reasonable price. The provisions of the Bill are very similar to those of the Seed Supply Act which was passed in 1880. Its general object is to secure that there shall be a proper supply of seed potatoes for next year's crop brought to the doors of the poorer occupiers in those districts where, at present, it would be very difficult to obtain it. For this purpose different Boards of Guardians are empowered to apply to the Local Government Board for loans in any division of a Poor Law Union where such a state of things exists, and where it would be impossible for the inhabitants to retain seed potatoes because they will have to eat all the potatoes of which they are now possessed. If the Local Government Board approves, the loan will be made on the security of the poors rate of the division, and will be repayable by half-yearly payments during 1892 and 1893, but the interest is to be payable out of the Irish Church Temporalities Fund. The main objects of the Bill are that seed potatoes shall be brought to the doors of the poorer occupiers, that they will obtain that supply at cost price, that they will have two years' credit, during which time they will make payment to the Board of Guardians for the potatoes they have bought, and the middleman will thus be got rid of. I hope your Lordships will allow me to give notice of a Motion to suspend Standing Order No. XXXIX., in order that this Bill may be passed through its remaining stages at an early Sitting tomorrow.

Bill read 1a; and to be read 2a to-morrow; and Standing Orders Nos. XXXIX. and XLV. to be considered in order to their being dispensed with.