§ Bill read 3a (according to Order).
THE EARL OF BANDON moved an Amendment on the 23rd clause of the Bill, that—
The Guardians of any Union shall appoint a Person, with such Qualifications as the Registrar-General may by any general Rule declare to be necessary, to be Registrar of Births and Deaths in each District, and in any ease of Vacancy in the office of Registrar shall forthwith fill up the Vacancy.
He believed this proposal would give great satisfaction in Ireland, and it would tend to assimilate the machinery of registration in Ireland to that of England. Under the system as suggested by the Bill, he feared ill feeling would be excited between the dispensary doctors and the workhouse doctors. It was said, that if his Amendment were carried, the Bill would be lost; but he hoped their Lordships would not be deterred from considering his proposition on its merits.
§ THE EARL OF ST. GERMANS
said, he should oppose the Amendment. The question, it raised had been discussed in the 5 other House, and the proposal was rejected. The dispensary doctors were very intelligent gentlemen and well fitted for the performance of the duties the Bill imposed upon them, and he did not believe any professional jealousy could be engendered between them and the workhouse doctors. He, moreover, thought it very undesirable to introduce a bone of contention by encouraging contested elections for this office.
THE EARL OF LEITRIM
thought it desirable to assimilate the law of England and Ireland, and supported the Amendment. He objected to the charge of registration imposed on the poor rate by the Bill. He thought it should be a charge on the Consolidated Fund.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
said, his noble Friend who had just sat down, had diverted the attention of the House from the question immediately before it. He said that the charge should be thrown on the Consolidated Fund; that was not in accordance with his other argument, that they should assimilate the law of England and Ireland. If they were to do so, the charge must be on the local fund. As to the question itself, there was a good deal in the argument as to limiting the choice of the registrars to the dispensary doctors. They were, no doubt, generally very well calculated to discharge the duties of their office; but there were instances in which their other duties would occupy so much of their time as to render it impossible for them to do so, and in some large towns it might be desirable to have a registrar who would devote his whole time to the particular business. He did not entertain the same apprehension which the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of St. Germans) did, as to the contested elections that would take place if the boards of guardians elected the registrars; and there was considerable force in the argument that those who found the funds should chose those who were to receive them. He understood that this Amendment had been discussed in the House of Commons, when the view taken by the Government was affirmed by a majority of two to one. He could hardly think, that it the Amendment were carried, the Government would be justified in throwing up the Bill; but still, even while inclined to agree with the view taken by his noble Friend (the Earl of Bandon), he knew the great difficulty there had been in obtaining a system of registration for Ireland; and he would therefore suggest that the Amendment should not be pressed.
§ Amendment (by leave of the House) withdrawn.
§ Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.