§ Sir W. ALLEN
asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been called to the first Interim Report of the Irish Distress Committee, stating that the difficulties of its operations are greatly complicated by the delays which have taken place in the settlement of claims for damage and malicious injury; and, in view of the date when the Shaw Commission, dealing with such claims, was appointed, will he say how many claims have been presented to that Commission, how many have been dealt with up to 15th November, and what measures are being adopted to speed up the work of the Commission?
asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether he is aware of the Interim Reports on its work presented to the late Government by the Shaw Commission, and giving its opinion on the length of time that it would be necessary to take to hoar all the undefended pre-Truce awards for compensation that might be brought before it; and is it the intention of the Government to publish these Interim Reports;
(2) how many sittings of the Commission, presided over by Lord Shaw, have been held with the President in the chair since its appointment in May of this year; how many pre-Truce undefended awards for compensation has it revised of cases where either British or Republican troops wore responsible for the damage; and, as the result of its recommendations, in how many cases has compensation been actually paid by either Government?
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
Proposals for facilitating their work have been submitted by the Commission to His Majesty's Government and have been approved, with the result that there has recently been a very large increase in the number of claims dealt with by the Com- 309W mission, an increase which I have every reason to hope will be progressive. The number of claims submitted to the Commission is approximately 30,000, of which it is expected that approximately 20,000 will be found to be within their terms of reference. Of these the Commission had dealt with 1,250 up to the 25th instant, the total amount of compensation awarded being £1,041,000. As regards payment, the Provisional Government, who are solely responsible for payment in the first instance, are advised that in view of the large proportion of cases in which assignments and other charges have been given in respect of these decrees, it is necessary in every case to advertise their intention to pay for a reasonable time before actual payment is made. £130,175 has up to date actually been paid, advertisements of intention to pay I further £267,000 have been issued and are now expiring, and advertisements are about to be issued covering a further £500,000 in respect of cases which were only reported to the Provisional Government by the Commission on the 26th instant. In addition the Provisional Government have paid sums amounting to over £330,000 in respect of advances and payments under policies of insurance, made in a number of cases by insurance companies and underwriters.
I have no information as to the number of sittings held by the Commission under Lord Shaw's Chairmanship, but I regret to inform the House that Lord Shaw has found it necessary to resign the Chairmanship of the Commission. The thanks of the Government are due to Lord Shaw for his very valuable services in initiating the work of the Commission. Pending the appointment of a successor, the Commission is continuing its work without interruption. As regards the publication of the Commission's Reports, in view of the fact that these Reports consist partly of administrative recommendations which have now been adopted and put into operation, with great advantage to the work of the Commission, and partly of lists of awards which are of no legitimate public interest, His Majesty's Government do not think it necessary to incur the expense of publication.
asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the Malicious Injury (Ireland) Act, 1920, has been 310W repealed by the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State; whether such repeal received the Royal Assent; and whether pre-Truce awards for compensation can only be brought before the Shaw Commission on the application of either the British or Irish Governments?
§ Mr. ORMSBY-GORE
The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative and the second part does not, therefore, arise. As regards the third part of the question, it was originally provided that awards could only be brought before the Commission on the application of the British or Irish Government, but both Governments have now agreed to waive this requirement and in future the Commission will have cognisance of all decrees or claims within their terms of reference without any such reference being required.