§ Order for Second Reading read.
, in moving the second reading of the Bill, said, that its object was to remedy the defects of the system under which Poor Law elections were at present conducted in Ireland. That system was so faulty, that it afforded unlimited 1665 facilities for the commission of frauds and forgeries. At an election of Poor Law Guardians held in Dublin in 1855, no fewer than 800 votes were forged in one Union. Not only were the names of children five years old pressed into this service of imposture, but so, too, were those of persons long since dead, and of others who had never existed. Besides, what made the case worse was, that the law afforded no clue for the discovery of those who had been guilty of such fraudulent practices. It was the more to be regretted as accuracy in the Poor Law rating was a matter of great importance, that rating being the basis of other franchises in Ireland. It was, therefore, with the view of correcting this crying evil that the present measure was prepared. The Bill was founded upon the 7 & 8 Vict. c. 101, applicable to England, and substantially embodied the 14th and 15th clauses of that Act. It would enact that no person should be entitled to vote for a greater amount of rent or tithe than the rated value of the property; that none-occupying ratepayers should give a full description of the property in respect of which they claimed to vote, and of their interest therein; that proxies should be limited to five years, and a book of property voters be made out in each Union; that objections to the right to vote might be made in writing, together with other provisions, having for their object the maintenance of the rights of property and the interests of morality. A Session of Parliament ought not to be allowed to pass without measures being adopted to check the startling amount of forgeries and fabrications to which he had referred, and he therefore trusted that he should have the co-operation of the Government in endeavouring to effect so desirable an object.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
MR. J. D. FITZGERALD
said, that feeling that the sitting of the House was too near its termination for him to be able to explain his objections to the Bill in detail that day, he would beg to move the adjournment of the debate.
§ Debate adjourned.