HC Deb 24 October 1916 vol 86 cc963-4W

asked the Chief Secretary by whom the several members of the Committee of Inquiry into the destruction of property by the military in Dublin last April were nominated, the interests they were supposed to represent, and the terms of reference; especially having regard to the fact that book debts are not insurable against fire, what instructions were given to the Committee, and on what advice and authority, with reference to the loss of book debts by the burning of account books and papers; on what advice and authority claims for damages directly con- sequential are barred; seeing that the Prime Minister has acknowledged the liability of the State for the damage and that delay in settling established claims, imposes continuous and growing loss, leading to insolvency and inability to resume business, in some cases preventable by prompt settlement, on what advice and authority is this additional loss barred; whether the opinion of a court of equity will be obtained on the three foregoing; points; whether he is aware of the dissatisfaction of the sufferers with the personnel of the Committee and with its awards; whether he will place in the Library or make otherwise available to Members interested all the claims, with a list of them, showing in each case the amounts certified by different valuers, the sums awarded, paid, and not paid, respectively, the dates of payments, and all communications, official and other, between the Government and the Dublin Fire and Property Losses Association; whether the aggregate loss by destruction of property amounts to £5,000,000; whether he has any knowledge of an offer of a loan of one-fifth of this sum by an American bank; and, having regard to the lack of employment in Dublin, which would be relieved by the work of restoration, when will the claims be considered by an independent committee and all established claims paid?


The Committee referred to was appointed by the Lord Lieutenant and its terms of reference, of which I am sending the hon. Member a copy, were published in the Dublin newspapers of the 19th June last. Claims for consequential damages are expressly excluded by these terms from the scope of theex-gratia grant. I have no reason to believe that there is any dissatisfaction with the personnel of the Committee. Its functions are limited to making recommendations to His Majesty's Government within the terms of reference. There is no intention of placing Papers in the Library as suggested or of constituting another Committee for the same purpose. I have no information in regard to the proposed loan from America except what appears in the public Press.