asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies by what authority the Compensation (Ireland) Commission supersedes the existing statutory machinery for assessing compensation for criminal or malicious injuries in Southern Ireland; whether this Commission has power to enforce the attendance of witnesses and to administer an oath to witnesses; and, if so, by what authority, statutory or otherwise, these powers have been conferred upon the Commission?
In reply to the first part of the question, the Compensation (Ireland) Commission does not supersede the existing statutory machinery for assessing compensation for criminal and malicious injuries in Southern Ireland. Inasmuch, however, as this machinery is inoperative, the Commission provided an alternative means whereby injured persons may obtain relief. The reply to the second part of the question is in the negative, and the third part does not arise.
The right hon. Gentleman has just told us that a Commission of which he knows nothing, and which has no legal authority, will supersede the ordinary law. Surely we ought to have some information on that point.
That is certainly not the answer I gave, nor any fair deduction from it. It is rather a habit the hon. and gallant Gentleman has. If he will put down a definite question, I will then give him the answer, in regard to which I shall have had an opportunity of consulting my legal advisers.
That is the very question I put. Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the first part of my question, by what statutory authority the Commission has been set up?