HC Deb 01 May 1913 vol 52 cc1383-4W

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been called to the fact that there exists in some districts in Ireland concerted opposition to the administration of the National Insurance Act; whether he is aware that a number of persons had to be proceeded against who had expressed their determination to defy it, and that the justices at Petty Sessions in some cases either refused to convict or inflicted a fine of one penny; and whether, seeing that this action makes prosecutions too expensive, if not impossible, he intends to take any action in the matter?


I am informed by the Irish Commission that there is no such opposition to the Insurance Act as is referred to in the first part of the question in any district of Ireland, except certain parts of the county of Cork. It is the practice of the Commission to issue a letter of warning to any person found to be evading the provisions of the Act, and this has in the great majority of cases resulted in securing compliance with the law without the necessity of instituting legal proceedings. Where persons have previously expressed their determination to defy the law, and have persisted in their attitude, proceedings have been taken, and in none of these cases has there been any refusal to convict, though in some cases nominal penalties have been inflicted. The Commissioners have every reason to believe that their present policy, which has already reduced resistance to very small dimensions, will rapidly bring it to an end.