HC Deb 22 July 1831 vol 5 cc258-60
Mr. Stanley

moved, that the House resolve itself into a Committee on granting Salaries to Officers carrying on Public Works in Ireland. The Speaker having left the Chair,

Mr. Stanley

proposed the following Resolution—"That it is the opinion of this Committee, that provision be made out of the Consolidated Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, for the payment of salaries to the Commissioners of Public Works in Ireland."

Mr. George Dawson

wished to know the amount of the salaries proposed to be given to the intended Commissioners. The object of the plan was to abolish several Boards of Works, and the Board of Inland Navigation in Ireland. Some of the Commissioners of these Boards would be entitled to superannuation, and it was no proof of economy to appoint new Officers to do the work which the present Commissioners were quite competent to perform. He wished also to have the salaries provided by an annual grant, and to know the exact amount the Commissioners were to receive.

Mr. Stanley

said, it was proposed to give the first Commissioner 1,000l. a-year, and 600l. a-year to the other four. They were to devote their whole time to the public service. The gentleman intended for Chief Commissioner, held a high situation in the Engineer Corps, and he would give up that situation and salary upon being appointed to this.

Colonel Sibthorp

took the present opportunity to give notice, that in the Committee he should propose that these intended salaries be reduced one half.

Mr. Robert Gordon

objected to the plan of making these appointments permanent; he preferred a limited period of seven of fourteen years, with a power of removal, if necessary.

Mr. George Dawson

said, the Bill gave a power to appoint a secretary, engineers, clerks, and other officers, to the Commissioners; were the salaries to these persons also settled? It was said, a gentleman, who was a celebrated engineer, was to be first Commissioner; of course, therefore, there would be no occasion for sub-engineers. These Boards generally gave rise to jobs, and he was, therefore, anxious they should not be permanent, or the salaries paid when no duties were discharged. Suppose, that such high interest for the money to be lent should be demanded that no person would borrow it; was the State to be saddled in this case with the expense of this Board? He should be told, perhaps, that it would discharge the duties at present done by other Boards; but these Boards had no duties to perform.

Lord Althorp

would take immediate measures to prevent such abuses from taking place.

Mr. Hume

said, the noble Lord might not be in a situation to do so, and they must have some better security, to prevent such an abuse. He should, therefore, be happy to second the motion of his hon. friend, the member for Lincoln, to reduce these salaries one half.

Colonel Sibthorp

objected to their proceeding further, as they were only in a Committee, pro forma.

Mr. Stanley

observed, that it was intended that the salaries now paid to the Commissioners of Inland Navigation and the Board of Public Works should be stopped. These salaries were larger than those intended to be given to the proposed Board. And there was power given by this Bill to the Treasury to suspend the issuing of this money, if there was reason to believe it would not be attended with the expected results.

Sir Robert Harty

assured the House that the most beneficial results might be expected from this grant. It would, most likely, be called for from every quarter; and it would give a ten-fold return to the country.

Mr. Maurice O'Connell

trusted there was no intention to give the retiring Commissioners any compensation, for nothing could have been more infamous than the manner in which they had squandered and divided the public money among themselves for the performance of very little duty.

Mr. Robert Gordon

hoped to see all other Commissioners of Roads and Trusts following in the wake of the two Boards now to be broken up, for they had been a curse to the country.

Mr. Ruthven

wished to know if it was intended to make any alteration in the Grand Jury Laws of Ireland. A revision of them was much wanted, and he hoped they would receive the attention of the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Stanley,

in reply to the question of the hon. Gentleman, begged to state, that he had a Bill on the subject of the Irish Grand Juries ready for circulation. He feared he should not be able to introduce it this Session; but he would have it printed and widely circulated, and hoped early next Session to introduce it.

Resolution agreed to.