HC Deb 03 July 1837 vol 38 cc1762-3

House went into Committee on the Treasurers of Counties (Ireland) Bill.

Sir R. Ferguson

objected to the Bill, as the machinery it created was entirely new, and likely to prove expensive. One of the clauses was particularly objectionable. In that clause it was proposed to charge 5s. upon every 100l. collected in the different counties, while there was no information given how the sum to be thus raised was to be expended, although it was perfectly clear that the amount would not be sufficient for the purposes of the Act. A great many persons in Ireland thought the office of Treasurer in the Irish counties ought to be abolished altogether. The mode in which the balances were deposited was also objectionable; and as there was no opportunity of sending the Bill over to Ireland to ascertain the opinions of those who were best acquainted with the subject, it would be better to postpone it till another Session.

Mr. Sergeant Woulfe

said, the Bill would not deprive the grand jurors of any power which they at present possessed, and he could see no good reason for postponing it. The treasurers in Ireland had, in some instances, been the cause of great loss to the country. He did not blame the grand juries, but they had not attended with sufficient vigilance to the accounts of the treasurers, and in his opinion those accounts could not be properly and satisfactorily inspected, until placed under the control of a public officer responsible to Parliament, and it was the object of this Bill to effect that desirable end.

Mr. Lucas

allowed that some alterations in the system of inspecting the accounts of the treasurers of counties in Inland was necessary. He did not however, deem the Bill adequate to that purpose, and he trusted that Government would not press it at this late period of the Session.

Mr. O'Connell

considered the present mode of inspecting the accounts of the county treasurers extremely unsatisfactory. There was one case in which a treasurer had died with a large sum belonging to one of the Irish counties in his possession, and left no proof that that money was due; and it was but too probable that larger losses would be sustained, should the present Bill not pass, as the amount of securities was in many instances not sufficient to cover the sums which the treasurers often had in their possession. They were, however, discussing the principle of the Bill, which had been agreed to, and as the House was in Committee, they ought to proceed with the details. He entreated the Government to press the Bill as one highly essential to the protection of the public interests in Ireland.

The clauses were agreed to. House resumed.