§ Mr. RAMSAY MacDONALD
I understand that the Prime Minister wishes to make a communication to the House regarding what has been done in connection with Ireland to-day. In order to enable him to do so, I beg to move, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again."
§ The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Baldwin)
I think it only right to take the earliest opportunity of communicating to the House the exact terms of the Agreement which was signed just an hour ago by representatives of this Government, of the Irish Free State Government and of the Government of Northern Ireland.
AGREEMENT amending and supplementing the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland to which the force of law was given by the Irish Free State (Agreement) Act, 1922, and by the Constitution of the Irish Free State (Saorstat Eireann) Act, 1922.
WHEREAS on the sixth day of December nineteen hundred and twenty-one Articles of Agreement for a Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland were entered into:
AND WHEREAS the said Articles of Agreement were duly ratified and given the force of law by the Irish Free State (Agreement) Act, 1922, and by the Constitution of the Irish Free State (Saorstat Eireann) Act, 1922:
2656 AND WHEREAS the progress of events and the improved relations now subsisting between the British Government, the Government of the Irish Free State, and the Government of Northern Ireland, and their respective peoples, make it desirable to amend and supplement the said Articles of Agreement, so as to avoid any causes of friction which might mar or retard the further growth of friendly relations between the said Governments and peoples:
AND WHEREAS the British Government and the Government of the Irish Free State being united in amity in this undertaking with the Government of Northern Ireland, and being resolved mutually to aid one another in a spirit of neighbourly comradeship, hereby agree as follows:
This Agreement is subject to confirmation by the British Parliament and by the Oireachtas of the Irish Free State, and the Act of the British Parliament confirming this Agreement shall fix the date as from which the transfer of the powers of the Council of Ireland under this Agreement is to take effect.
- 1. The powers conferred by the proviso to Article XII of the said Articles of Agreement on the Commission therein mentioned are hereby revoked, and the extent of Northern Ireland for the purposes of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, and of the said Articles of Agreement, shall be such as was fixed by Sub-section (2) of Section one of that Act.
- 2. The Irish Free State is hereby-released from the obligation under Article V of the said Articles of Agreement to assume the liability therein mentioned.
- 3. The Irish Free State hereby assumes all liability undertaken by the British Government in respect of malicious damage done since the twenty-first day of January, nineteen hundred
2657 and nineteen, to property in the area now under the jurisdiction of the Parliament and Government of the Irish Free State, and the Government of the Irish Free State shall repay to the British Government, at such time or times and in such manner as may be agreed upon, moneys already paid by the British Government in respect of such damage, or liable to be so paid under obligations already incurred.
- 4. The Government of the Irish Free State hereby agrees to promote legislation increasing by ten per cent. the measure of compensation under the Damage to Property (Compensation) Act, 1923, in respect of malicious damage to property done in the area now under the jurisdiction of the Parliament and Government of the Irish Free State between the eleventh day of July, nineteen hundred and twenty one, and the twelfth day of May, nineteen hundred and twenty-three, and providing for the payment of such additional compensation by the issue of Five per cent. Compensation Stock or Bonds.
- 5. The powers in relation to Northern Ireland which by the Government of Ireland Act, 1020, are made powers of the Council of Ireland, shall be and are hereby transferred to and shall become powers of the Parliament and the Government of Northern Ireland; and the Governments of the Irish Free State and of Northern Ireland shall meet together as and when necessary for the purpose of considering matters of common interest arising out of or connected with the exercise and administration of the said powers.
Dated this 3rd day of December, 1925.
2658 The Agreement is signed on behalf of the British Government by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Home Secretary, the Secretary of State for India, the Secretary of State for the Colonies and myself.
Signed on behalf of the Government of the Irish Free State by Mr. Cosgrave, President, Mr. O'Higgins and Mr. Blythe.
Signed on behalf of the Government of Northern Ireland by Sir James Craig and Mr. Blackmore, Secretary of the Cabinet of the Government of Northern Ireland.
I will only add that legislation will be necessary, and I hope it may be possible to pass that legislation as speedily as possible before we rise. I cannot say more at the moment. I thank the House for giving me the opportunity to make this statement.
§ Mr. MacDONALD
I assume that it is the desire of the House to take the Prime Minister's statement as an intimation, and that they will now allow me to withdraw the Motion.
§ The CHAIRMAN
The right hon. Member must allow me to put the Motion. Is it the pleasure of the House that the Motion be withdrawn? [HON. MEMBERS: "No!" "Runciman!"]
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I only wish to say a few sentences. In the first place, the details of the Agreement are, obviously, of great importance, and no doubt the House would wish to examine them at their- leisure, but I should like to say that I feel quite sure the Agreement which has been reached between the British Government, the Government of Northern Ireland and the Government of the Irish Free State will have been heard with relief and pleasure by the whole of the English-speaking world.
§ Question, "That the Chairman do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again," put, and negatived.