HC Deb 20 September 1831 vol 7 cc256-8

Sir John Newport rose to move for a return of the expenditure connected with the erection of St. George's Church, in the parish of St. George, in the city of Dublin. The right hon. Baronet stated, that the original estimate for the erection of this Church was only 17,400l.; that, under votes of that House, 52,500l. had been, from time to time, expended upon it; that there was still a further debt due on the parish books for the finishing of this edifice; and that before that debt was discharged it was very likely that the total amount laid out on the erection of this single Church would amount to 100,000l. Under such circumstances, he was sure that the House would see that it was highly necessary and expedient that an inquiry should be instituted as to the manner in which so large a sum of money had been expended. The parishioners of St. George's were exposed, in order to defray the charge of this Church, to most severe exactions; last year a Committee had been appointed, which had examined the accounts of the Trustees, and had found them so badly arranged, that they had expressed their dissatisfaction. The consequence was, that the Trustees had closed their books, and refused all further examination into them. It had come to his knowledge, that a widow lady, with eleven children, had been served with a notice to pay up arrears of Church-rates for twenty-one years. The right hon. Baronet concluded by moving for a return of the several sums of money which had been expended by the Trustees of the parish of St. George, in the city of Dublin, for the erection, &c. of the Parish Church in that parish, since the period that the building of it had commenced, upon what authority such sums had been expended, &c. &c.

Mr. Leader

seconded the Motion, and pressed upon the attention of the House the extravagant expenditure incurred for this Church.

Mr. O'Connell

said, he had made a general assertion that no more than one Year's arrears of Church-rates could be recovered, but with respect to what the hon. Baronet had said, respecting persons being called upon for twenty-one years' arrears of rate, he must be permitted to remark, that the parish of St. George, Dublin, was empowered, by a special Act of Parliament, to levy any amount of such arrears due.

Mr. Lefroy

said, it was impossible to reply to statements made without notice, he should, therefore, content himself with remarking, that the expense of building this Church would fall almost exclusively upon Protestants, who were desirous the Church should be erected, and who were ready to pay for it.

Mr. O'Connell

assured the hon. and learned Gentleman, there were many Catholics in the parish, who were equally liable to pay with the Protestant population.

Sir John Newport

remarked, after the special case which he had stated of arrears being called for, which showed, that all the parishioners did not desire the expense, he was somewhat surprised at the hon. and learned Member's remarks, that the expense of building the Church would fall only on those who were willing to pay for it. He believed much of the evil must be attributed to the Vestry of St. George's parish being authorized to fill up vacancies in their own body as they occur.

Motion agreed to.

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