§ Mr. HUDSON
asked the Secretary to the Treasury if the committee of the Great Southern and Western Railway (Ireland) Sick Fund have been requested by the Registrar to submit the proposed rules and financial position of the proposed remodelled society to an actuary before he would consent to register it under the Friendly Societies Act; and whether the report made shows the old society to be in a state of solvency?1192W
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I understand that the registration of the Great Southern and Western Railway (Ireland) Sick Fund is now being arranged between representatives of the fund and the Assistant-Registrar of Friendly Societies for Ireland, and that actuarial evidence is being prepared with a view to enabling the society to begin its career as a registered society on a sound basis. I have no knowledge of the contents of the actuary's report, and as the society has not hitherto been registered I have no information of its solvency or insolvency.
§ Mr. HUDSON
asked the Secretary to the Treasury (1) if he can take steps to have the National Insurance cards belonging to the employés of the Great Southern and Western Railway Company (Ireland) released and handed to the men to enable them to join any approved society they choose for the purposes of the Act, in view of the fact that no approved society has yet been formed in connection with the company's sick fund: and (2) if his attention was called to a circular issued in March, 1912, by the general manager of the Great Southern and Western Railway Company (Ireland), acting for the directors, who have had absolute control of the sick fund as set forth in the rules, stating that some members desired the directors' consent to make this sick fund an approved society under the National Insurance Act, 1911, and if it became approved and continued membership would begin to be voluntary from the date of the Act becoming operative; can he say how many of the members of the old compulsory sick fund expressed their consent to become members of the approved section; and whether it is likely to be formed?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I propose to take the two questions together. A new society, called the Great Southern and Western Railway Employés' Health Insurance Society, was formed for transacting business under the National Insurance Act, and has been approved by the Irish Commission. The Great Southern and Western Railway Sick Fund is independent of, and altogether distinct from, the approved society, which is controlled by a committee of management elected by the members; and the rules do not permit, the directors, as such, to interfere in the affairs of the society. I have no information as to how many members of the sick fund have become members of the approved society, but any employé of the company can require his contribution card 1193W to be returned to him at the end of each quarter, and is at liberty to hand in the card to whatever approved society he has decided to join for the purposes of State insurance.