Report of the Special Committee re Poor Law Relief.

I beg to move that the report of the Special Committee re Poor Law Relief do lie on the Table and be printed. Perhaps I may be allowed, in the special circumstances, to enlarge upon that formal motion. The Committee has met on three occasions and has had the advantage of having three interviews with the Commissioners for the Dublin Union, and has arrived at certain definite recommendations. The report, which will be circulated, will contain the following:—The powers of the Commissioners acting for the Guardians of the Poor in the Poor Law Unions of Dublin City and County have not been altered by recent legislation. The classes of persons to whom outdoor relief may be granted are set out in Section 1 of the Poor Relief (Ireland) Act, 1847, viz.:—(a) persons permanently disabled by old age and infirmity; (b) persons temporarily incapacitated by illness or accident; (c) widows with two or more legitimate children.

Section 2 of the same Act provides for the relief of other classes in the event of no accommodation being available in the workhouse. Section 13 of the Local Government Act, 1898, provides for the relief of able-bodied persons outside the workhouse in the event of exceptional distress. The statutory limitations upon Boards of Guardians affecting the grant of outdoor relief to able-bodied persons, to widows with less than two legitimate children, etc., which, in places where a county scheme is in operation, were removed by Section 10 of the Local Government (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1923, are still effective in the County Borough of Dublin and the County of Dublin where no county schemes as defined by the Act have yet been formulated and adopted.

The Committee understands that negotiations have been opened with the object of securing the adoption of a scheme jointly by the Council of County Dublin and the Commissioners for the County Borough of Dublin. The Committee, however, is of opinion that the needs of the case require that the powers of the Guardians for the Dublin Unions should be enlarged without delay, and, therefore, recommend to the Senate that legislation should be passed without delay, providing that: pending the adoption of a county scheme the Guardians of the Poor for the Dublin Unions shall have and exercise all the powers and duties for granting outdoor relief which they would have and exercise under Section 10 of the Local Government (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1923 (No. 9 of 1923) if a county scheme had been adopted and was in operation.

I should explain we are convinced that the Commissioners of the Dublin Union have been doing more than the law allows in respect to the granting of outdoor relief. We are convinced also it is necessary that acts of the kind which they have permitted themselves to do should be clearly made legal. The members of the Committee have agreed if this report is accepted to submit to the House an effective one clause Bill to grant these extended powers to the Commissioners of Dublin City and the Guardians of the county. The purpose of the Bill would be to place the Guardians of the poor in the county and city of Dublin in exactly the same position, so far as outdoor relief is concerned, as the rest of the country. It is desirable that the Bill should be enacted at an early date. We hope there will be no difficulty in passing it into law.

I second.

Question put and agreed to.