HL Deb 03 August 1906 vol 162 cc1572-5

Debate on the Motion for the Second Reading resumed (according to Order).


My Lords, I have obtained the information which I was asked to get about this Bill, and will give it to your Lordships. Up to the year 1898, when the Irish Local Government Act passed, counties in Ireland might combine not only with adjacent counties, but with counties of cities and counties of towns within their borders, to erect or reconstruct bridges. By the Act of 1898 "counties of cities," and "counties of towns," were abolished, and with them went their power of combining with the counties of which they formed part for the purpose of building or reconstructing bridges. In consequence, and in this instance, though the county council of Kilkenny and the -corporation of Kilkenny are anxious to co-operate in rebuilding the bridge over the Nore, they cannot do so.

This Bill simply reconstitutes such places as Kilkenny city, "counties of cities," so as to enable them to take the same advantage of the Bridges (Ireland) Acts as they might have taken before the Act of 1898 passed. This Bill is approved of by the Local Government Board for Ireland. His Majesty's Government were not responsible for it, but approves of it, and gave every possible facility for its passage through the House of Commons. I hope this explanation will be considered satisfactory by your Lordships.


I suppose there is some reason for hurrying the Bill through now. I have no doubt the Local Government Board for Ireland have proceeded with the utmost fairness in the matter, and in the circumstances I offer no objection to the Second Reading.


It is a matter of urgency, because the promoters of the Bill wish to proceed with the building of the bridge.

On Question, Bill read 2a.

Moved, "That the Bill be committed. —(Lord Ribblesdale.)


I do think it is an objectionable practice that your Lordships should be asked to suspend the Standing Orders for a Bill in respect of which there does not appear to be any great urgency. The noble Lord moved the Second Reading of the Bill before it had been printed. We remonstrated, and he postponed the Second Reading for a few hours. He has made a statement explaining the objects of the Bill, and it has been given a Second Reading. The noble Lord now proposes to hurry the measure through all its remaining stages. That appears to me to be a very objectionable practice. If, however, the noble Lord can really assure the House that this is a matter of most urgent importance, I will accept that assurance and offer no further opposition. But if he cannot tell us that he knows it to be urgent I do not think we ought to suspend the Standing Orders in respect of this Bill.


As far as I recollect, noble Lords opposite when they were in office did this a great deal oftener than we are doing it. Noble Lords opposite keep asking the same question. The whole object of this Bill is to facilitate the construction of this bridge. It has come up as an unopposed Bill from the House of Commons with the support of His Majesty's Government, and I think that is sufficient to enable us to conclude that necessity for it was fully made out.


In one respect I was delighted with the speech of the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Salisbury) because it showed clearly that he had no expectation of coming into office at an early date, because if he had any such expectation he certainly would not have been so injudicious. The erection of this bridge is an urgent matter, and I hope your Lordships will pass the Bill through its remaining stages to-day.


I am informed that the Bill was only brought up to your Lordships' House yesterday, and it has not yet been printed and circulated.


I chance to know this town from old association. The bridge in question is a most difficult corkscrew kind of bridge that one has to approach with great hesitation and with an earnest hope that one will get over it safely. I am told that the bridge has become somewhat more dilapidated that when I knew it, and that there is a great desire to begin this work at once. In these circumstances I think your Lordships might allow the Bill to go through.


Perhaps the House may be content with the evidence which has been brought forward by my noble and learned friend (Lord Ashbourne), who figures for the nonce as the oldest inhabitant and has been able to give us a local opinion of the kind for which my noble friend Lord Salisbury pressed so earnestly. I think we were entitled to be satisfied that there was some urgency about this measure; and but for that urgency it would be a very unfortunate precedent to allow a Bill of this kind to be hurried through. If the plea of urgency is accepted, I think the Bill might be allowed to go through.

On Question, Committee negatived: Then (Standing Order No. XXXIX. having been suspended): Bill read 3a, and passed.