HL Deb 16 March 1903 vol 119 cc818-21

Order of the day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, the object of the Bill which I am about to ask your Lordships to read a second time is to provide for the authorisation of races with light locomotives in Ireland. This measure has passed through its stages in the House of Commons supported by all shades of political and religious opinion, and therefore I feel that it would be superfluous for me to say more than a very few words in asking your Lordships to accord the Bill a Second Heading. I may say, however, that I have spoken to the noble Earl the Leader of the Opposition with regard to the Bill, and that he has assured me that it will have his entire support. Your Lordships may be aware that during the past two years there have taken place in Germany and France automobile races for prizes given by Mr. Gordon Bennett, and they have been attended with the most complete success. The Automobile Club in this country have thought that it would be an advantage to accept the offer of Mr. Gordon Bennett, and that a motor car race should take place in Ireland. In order to ensure the possibility of that race taking place there, it was necessary for them to apply to Parliament to; pass legislation which would prevent any contravention of those laws and regulations by which our roads and the traffic on those roads are governed, They have, therefore, submitted this Bill to you, and it is one which, to my mind, should not be opposed. It entrusts to the County Councils in Ireland the duty of making all the arrangements necessary in connection with these races, and it entrusts to them the whole responsibility for the safety of the public and for the stoppage of traffic which must necessarily take place in connection with races of this character; in fact, all the details incidental to the races are to be carried out by the County Councils. At the same time I would draw attention to the fact that the County Councils will incur no responsibility so far as charges are concerned, as the expenses incurred by a County Council in carrying any order under the Bill into effect, are to be defrayed by the Automobile Association, who are the applicants alluded to in the Bill. They will render every assistance in their power in co- operating with the County Councils in, maintaining the necessary order, and in carrying out the necessary regulations of traffic which such a race will entail.

As one connected with Ireland—and I think I can appeal for support to two noble Earls opposite who have been Lords Lieutenant of that country—I feel confident that this measure will be of enormous value to Ireland. The races will attract people from all parts of the world. They will attract many from. Europe who witnessed these races on the Continent, and I am told that they will even draw people from America to Ireland. Ireland is a poor country, and the incursion of vast numbers of people from abroad will mean a great pecuniary advantage to that country. I go further—and hope it will result in a great number of people from this country being attracted by motor car racing to make the acquaintance of Ireland, for, perhaps, the first time. I can assure them that they will receive the heartiest welcome from all Irishmen. Believing that the measure will be of great benefit to Ireland, I ask your Lordships to give it a Second Reading.

Moved that the Bill be now read 2a—(The Marquess of Londonderry.)


As the noble Marquess has alluded to me, I only rise to say that I heartily support the Bill now before the House, and I support it for I the reasons which the noble Marquess has put forward. I confess it is very gratifying and a new sensation to me to find a Bill dealing with Ireland on which all sides, both in the other House and in this, are united.


Clause 1 provides that the County Councils may, on the application of any persona or club, by order declare that any roads within the county may be used for races with light locomotives and so on. I should like to ask the noble Marquess whether that applies solely to main roads, or whether it includes private roads? Is it merely a general term?


So far as I know, though I speak subject to correction, the whole matter is to be left to the County Councils, and therefore the races would be on county kept roads; but there are several Amendments to be moved in Committee, and if my noble friend has any doubt on the subject 1 shall be only too glad to deal with the matter then if, lie will place an Amendment on the Paper. I propose to take the Committee stage on Friday.

On Question, Bill read 2a (according to order), and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Friday next.